Transcontinental Railroad Special Education Westward Expansion PRINT and DIGITAL



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 during the period of Westward Expansion. 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 assessments include more than one version, suggestions for differentiation, and options for presentation.


✩✩✩ Looking for a great literacy unit to go with this topic? Check out my unit on Locomotive by Brian Floca. It is a perfect addition to this unit. CLICK HERE



This unit is part of a 5 unit bundle on Westward Expansion. Save 20%.




✩✩✩ 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:


⭐ This unit comes in 2 complete files. One is in color and one is in black and white.


In the zipped folder you will find:

  • 11 days of lesson plans
  • Transcontinental Railroad activities in color
  • Transcontinental Railroad activities in black and white
  • Voice-recorded PowerPoint show
  • Transcontinental Railroad book (PowerPoint) to use with activities
  • Links and directions to digital activities


The Transcontinental Railroad Activities:


  • 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)


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.