It is the year 1846.  You, your family, and all of your friends and neighbors are making plans to leave Nauvoo, Illinois.  You are about to head Westto go on a 1,300 mile journey all the way to Utah but can’t take very many things with you because you will be walking all the way there.

Your task is to find information about how to build a handcart for you and your family to take just the basic necessities for your trip. You will accomplish this by learning about pioneers of the day and how they built their handcarts to make them durable and reliable.  You will also learn about their stories and take notes about their journey to determine what things you will be taking on the cart your build.  You will also find a map to show you the way to Utah.


You will work in a group of four.  With your group you will search the Internet to create a 10 minute PowerPoint presentation to present to the rest of the class.  Your presentation should show the materials needed to build a handcart, the things you need to take with you when you leave Nauvoo, and the map you will be using to find your way to Utah.


  1. As a group, follow the links below to find information to complete your three tasks (list of materials needed to build a  handcart, list of essential items you will be taking, and a map to follow).
  2. Assign one person in your group to take notes about your findings.
  3. As a group, decide what materials you need to build a handcart, what items you need to take with you, and which of the maps that you find will help you find your way to Utah.
  4. As a group discuss why the items on the lists you made are necessary to build a cart and to take with you on your trip and why the map you choose to follow will be helpful.
  5. As a group create a ten minute powerpoint presentation to show the class your findings and your reasoning.
  6. Present the PowerPoint slides to the class.

Websites to visit:






















Beginning1 Developing2 Very Good3 Exemplary4 Score
Map Map is very general with no clear information about route, cities, States, or geography. Map shows  only shows one of the following: route, geography of the area, States and city names. Map chosen shows route to follow, but it is missing geography information, States and city names. Map chosen clearly shows route to follow and geography to overcome (e.g. mountains, rivers), and names of States and cities to cross.
Research and Lists of Items Lists of items are vague and general.  Students can’t clearly explain why the items chosen are important. One of the lists of items (handcart or necessities) is specific.  One or more students can explain why the chosen items are needed. Both lists are clear and specific; however, three out of four students can’t clearly explain why the items are needed. Both required lists of items are clear and specific and show thoughtful research and deep thought of what things are needed.   Each student in the group can explain why those items are important.
Group Work and Collaboration One or more team members cannot clearly explain what information they are searching for.  Listen to other team members. Each team member can clearly explain what information they are searching for with prompting from peers.  Rarely allows others to speak. Each team member can clearly explain what information they are looking for.  Listens to peers but often talks too much not allowing others to speak. Each member of the group is able to clearly explain what information they need to collect.  Listens to others and speaks a fair amount.
Presentation The presentation is less that 10 minutes.  Some group members speak for more than 2.5 minutes and others speak for less than 2.5 minutes.  Unequal delegation of project responsibility. 3 out of 4 students presents for at least 2.5 minutes.  Presentation does not show equal participationfrom all the group members. Each students presents for at least 2.5 minutes, but one or two students have more information to present than the other students. Each student presents for 2.5 minutes.  Information is presented in equal amounts by each group member.


This activity should have helped you learn and understand more about the hardships that the Utah pioneers went through during their long journey from Illinois, and of the long preparation involved before the trip to be ready for the difficulties encountered on their way to Utah.

Now think about what you would feel or do if you were asked to leave your home and everything you know behind to travel 1,300 miles by foot.  Do you think you will be ready and prepared for it? Why or why not?


This webquest is intended for use in 5th grade classrooms.  Prior knowledge of the westward expansion would be needed from prior lessons to understand the concepts and information better.

Students will need to know how to use a computer and navigate the internet to search the websites provided to find the required information to complete the project.

This webquest should approximately take 5 days;  45 minutes each day to complete.

A mini computer lab should fit all of your students as they work in groups of four and do not need individual computers.


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