The Way West – Rhinegold Publishing

The Way West


This scheme of work has been developed through reading William E. Hill’s The Oregon Trail and enables the students to look closely at the lives of American settlers in the mid-1850s while steering away from the stereotyped American figures of the spaghetti Western. The unit is ideal for KS3, particularly Year 7. We teach the unit towards the end of the year, as it builds on skills already developed and places the students in alternative social settings. It has strong links to PSHE and other humanities subjects. The sessions have a linear feel to them and need to be taught in order.

Learning objectives:

  • To create an improvisation from a stimulus
  • Begin to understand the use of persuasive language
  • To participate in group discussion
  • To build an understanding of character and identity through the use of symbols
  • To introduce the term ‘character bag’
  • To work in a variety of groups
  • To develop a character through the use of hot-seating and reportage
  • To work consistently in a group
  • To further develop character through physical and vocal expression
  • To work together successfully in a group to solve a problem
  • Approach the role of a Native American with humility and sensitivity
  • Work together with focus and commitment in a group
  • To be able to evaluate the work of others in the group with areas for improvement
  • To understand point-of-view and why people argue
  • To promote awareness of how conflict arises in most dramatic/ social situations and how that can be resolved
  • To encourage social interaction and the ability to cope with arising situations in life
  • To use abstract drama under guidance
  • To develop a monologue within the context of the group improvisation
  • To use hot-seating to further develop character three dimensionally
  • To participate in self- and peer-evaluation

Number of lessons: 7

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