Frontiers in America
A reading comprehension lesson on the American frontiers. Includes printable teaching lesson worksheet.
• Students will be able to define the term frontier.
• Students will be able to identify significant frontiers and the issues involved in settling in those places.
• Students will be able to identify the geographical location of each frontier in American history by associating it with present-day states.
• Students will be able to identify the time period during which each frontier was settled.
4th Grade - 5th Grade - 6th Grade
Print the reading comprehension passage and questions (see below).
Students should read the passage silently, then answer the questions. Teachers may also use the text as part of a classroom lesson plan.
The word frontier means the farthest edge of a settlement. Any place that has not yet been settled is a frontier. There have been many frontiers in American history. The first was the east coast along the Atlantic Ocean where the Pilgrims landed in the wilderness in what is now Massachusetts.
After the east coast was settled, the land west of the Appalachian Mountains became the new frontier. The Appalachian Mountains extend from New England all the way south to Georgia. During the French and Indian War, the British fought French settlers and Native Americans for control of the land to the west of this mountain range. In 1775, frontiersman Daniel Boone led a group of pioneers through a pass in the mountains called the Cumberland Gap. This led to the Ohio Valley, a new place for people to settle. By 1840, Cincinnati, Ohio was one of the largest cities in America and the Ohio Valley was no longer a frontier. People began to think about moving even further west, and the land west of the Mississippi River became the new frontier. In 1811, the U.S. government built the Cumberland Road, which led west from the state of Maryland. People traveled along the Cumberland Road to the Ohio River and from there sailed west to the Mississippi. With the invention of the steamboat in the 1800's, traveling by river became easier.
Print this printable worksheet for this lesson: