Transportation by Water in Early America

A reading comprehension lesson on how early Americans transported people and goods by water. Includes printable teaching lesson worksheet.



• Students will understand the importance of transportation by water in the early history of the United States.

• Students will be able to explain the dangers of travel by sea in the early history of the United States.

• Students will be able to explain what a canal is.

• Students will be able to describe the history of the Erie Canal.


Suggested Grades:

4th Grade - 5th Grade - 6th Grade

Lesson Procedure:

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.


Lesson Excerpt:

More than 200 years ago, before there were cars, trains or airplanes, people traveled on foot, by horse or by boat. In those days, the only way to move many people from place to place was by ship. That's why most of the major cities in the United States are along waterways and seaports. In the early history of the country, most Americans lived along the Atlantic Ocean.

In the 1700's, sailing up and down the ocean was very dangerous. There were no radios or radar that sailors could use to tell where they were, so they always tried to stay close the coast. But winds and storms often blew ships off course. Also, early ships were made of wood, so they sank easily if they hit rocks. Still, ships were the most important way to transport goods from place to place.



Lesson Printables:

Print this printable worksheet for this lesson:

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