U.S. History: Western Expansion- Tennessee's Western Frontier

Students will develop an understanding of exploration and settlement in early Tennessee during a time when the state was the nation’s western frontier. Students will read maps, illustrations, and texts, and take on the roles of frontier people to make decisions based on historical evidence. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Describe the role of Buffalo Soldiers in settling the West, including Tennessee native George Jordan.
Describe American settlements in Texas after 1821 and the causes for the Texas War of Independence, including the roles of David Crockett and Sam Houston in the war and...
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media formats in order to make informed decisions and solve problems; evaluate the...
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in a text.
Read and comprehend stories and poems at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 5th grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
Summarize a text presented in diverse media such as visual, quantitative, and oral formats.
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw logical inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing relevant textual evidence.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting,...
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Write narratives (fiction and nonfiction) to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, relevant descriptive details, and...
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Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • develop an understanding that knowledge about people is recorded through written documents, illustrations, and maps.
  • compare different routes to Nashville and develop an understanding of the rationale of settlers in their choice of route to the frontier and settlement locations.
  • Develop an understanding of the hardships and rewards of settler life, paying particular attention to the experiences of the frontiersmen in addition to the experiences of women and children.


Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Have students read a few larger portions of the Davy Crockett autobiography and the Daniel Boone biography. Using information in the two texts, have students write an essay comparing and contrasting the two men and their lives.

Helpful Hints


  • Overhead projector connected to computer
  • Worksheet—Daniel Boone Real Estate Fact Sheet
  • Worksheet—Davy Crockett Indentured
  • Servant Graphic Organizer
  • Worksheet—Daniel Boone Shadow Box
  • Instructions and Ideas
  • Worksheet—Davy Crockett Indentured Servant Scene Planning
  • Primary Source Analysis Teacher’s Guide (Photographs and Prints)
  • Primary Source Analysis Teacher’s Guide (Books and Other Printed Texts)
  • Primary Source Analysis Worksheet
  • Materials for Shadow Box:
  • Box with lid, like a show box or other small box
  • Cellophane or plastic wrap
  • Construction paper, different colors
  • Scissors
  • Colored pencils, crayons, markers
  • Tape or glue