Westward Expansion - The Transcontinental Railroad for Special Ed with google slides



Total Pages 132 pages plus 34 google slides
Answer Key Included
Teaching Duration 2 Weeks


This unit on The Transcontinental Railroad contains over 100 pages of material specifically designed for students with special learning needs, especially autism who are in middle or high school. It addresses the main struggles and events building the Transcontinental Railroad as well as homesteading and the Great Land Rush. All the information is presented in a simplified but rigorous way for students with diverse learning needs to make meaningful and authentic connections to the material. In addition, many of the activities and assessment include more than one version, suggestions for differentiation and options for presentation.

✩✩✩ Also includes a PRE-RECORDED POWER POINT SHOW with automated advancement to use in your lesson or for students to listen to on their own.

✩✩✩ There are also 11 days of DETAILED LESSON PLANS with lots of suggested activities you can do with the included materials.

✩✩✩ There are now 34 google slides (including a differentiated set) included in this unit and a movie version of the book.

See the preview for a more detailed look at the contents.


The Transcontinental Railroad Unit Includes:

  • 11 days worth of detailed lesson plans
  • 29 page book on The Transcontinental Railroad PLUS a pre-recorded PowerPoint show (includes a movie version)
  • Vocabulary board
  • 12 Vocabulary cards and cut/paste activities (includes digital version)
  • 7 large timeline cards
  • Circle maps (includes digital version)
  • Venn Diagram activity (includes digital version)
  • Map (includes digital version)
  • Timeline cut and paste (includes digital version)
  • Writing Prompt (includes digital version)
  • Close worksheets for review (includes digital version)
  • 2 Sudoku puzzles (includes digital version)
  • Word search
  • Assessments (3 versions) (includes digital version)

Most activities (not the book) are in color and BW.


Much of what I have learned about curriculum development is incorporated in these units. For example, do not be afraid of repetition. It is critical that students with significant disabilities get to experience material over several days to be able to fully assimilate what is being taught. Also, adding visual supports to your printables and class activities helps students be able to pay more attention to the content you are presenting rather than the mechanics of what is expected. Finally, ask questions. Good questions!! Regardless of the material, if we can ask students good questions it will push them to think more deeply than before.

As always please take a moment to leave feedback or post any questions you may have. 

I am currently developing more units, and any feedback I get helps me make improvements in the future. Plus, it just means a lot to me.