Teach PA History
The Conestoga Wagon
What to Know
Teaching Time
five 40-minute class periods
Grade Level
Elementary School
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • Geography
  • History
Historical Period
  • New Nation - 1761-1800
  • Expansion and Reform - 1801-1855
Students will research the Conestoga wagon to understand how this invention provided a better means of transporting goods and supplies to markets in the east and west. They will trace wagon routes, interpreting journal entries to learn about the traveler and their interactions with places along the way. Research will include analyzing a photo and artifact related to the Conestoga wagon, cargo carried by wagons, and documents related to travel.


Students will: 1. Compare the methods of travel and transporting goods in Pennsylvania in 1750 and identify human and physical obstacles which impeded travel. 2. Explore the need for the colonists to venture westward to market their products. 3. Research the Conestoga wagon to learn how it opened the door for inland commerce. 4. Analyze Cummings trip from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh by interpreting the journal he kept. 5. Analyze the appeal from General Braddock to Ben Franklin for help in getting wagons. 6. Interview an artifact related to the Conestoga Wagon. 7. Read and analyze a print related to the Conestoga Wagon. 8. Analyze a tollkeeper's record of trade carried by wagons in 1830.

Standards Alignment

  • Geography

    7.1.6. B. Describe and locate places and regions.
    7.2.6. A. Describe physical characteristics of places and regions.
    7.3.6.D. Describe the human characteristics of places and regions by their economic activities.

  • History

    8.2.6. B. Identify and explain primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in Pennsylvania history from Beginnings to 1824

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

    1.2.5. A. Read and understand essential content of informational texts and documents in all academic areas.
    1.4.6. B. Write multi-paragraph informational pieces (e.g., essays, descriptions, letters, reports, instructions).

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