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1. Alternatively, the class as a whole could create a wall-sized map and include illustrations such as gold ingots, wagon trains, and railroad tracks.
2. Useful resources include the Web sites of Amtrak, Greyhound, Mapquest, major airlines, and travel companies like Expedia. To make the activity somewhat more challenging, have the routes begin at the Empire State Building and end on Rodeo Drive. As an extra-credit activity, you might have students find out the transcontinental speed record for each of these four means of transportation.
1. Topics might include the differences in foods and customs between the Chinese workers and the Irish workers, a foreman's admiration for the Chinese workers' work ethic and/or hostility to their demand for better wages and working conditions, and the fact that the railroad companies played workers of different ethnic groups off against each other.
2. You also might have students write a similar story for the Enron scandal.
1. This may best be done as a group rather than an individual activity.
2a. A simpler alternative would be to create a trivia board game centered on the transcontinental railroad, with questions divided into categories such as geography, history, and biography.
2b. Speeches may be deemed successful based on the quality of historical information included and on the thoughtfulness, practicality, or originality of the speaker's proposals.
1. Supporters of Statement 1 might argue that the rivalry between the competing companies speeded construction of the railroad. Supporters of Statement 2 might point to the corruption and sometimes-shoddy work involved in the building of the railroad.
2. While this activity is designed to help students think creatively about mutually beneficial solutions, students should understand that United States policymakers of that era generally were much more concerned about the interests of the United States than the welfare of Native Americans. Prior to conducting this activity, you might ask students to research the Homestead Act of 1862, through which vast areas of federally-owned western land were transferred to private citizens.
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My American Experience
The Railroad revolutionized American travel. Many people ride trains today not just for transportation, but also as a way to see the country. What trains have you been on? Have you been in a Pullman car? Share your most memorable train ride.