Activity Overview

The 5 Ws are a powerful and simple way for students to get an overview of a topic and better enhance their understanding. By creating a spider map or narrative storyboard that showcases the 5Ws, students can demonstrate their knowledge using concise descriptions and visual scenes. Giving students a visual with each category helps students to better understand and remember the details and importance of the topic.

In this activity, students will create a spider map that highlights important facts about the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Students will answer the following questions using 1-3 sentence answers in the description boxes as well as appropriate and meaningful illustrations:

  • What was the transcontinental railroad?
  • Who was involved?
  • When was it constructed?
  • Where was it constructed?
  • Why was it constructed?
  • How did it impact the United States and North America?

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a Spider Map highlighting important facts about the transcontinental railroad using the 5 Ws and H (who, what, when, where, why, and how).

Student Instructions:

  1. Click “Start Assignment”.
  2. For each cell, answer the question with a 1-3 sentence description.
  3. Create an illustration that represents each answer using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.

Requirements: Answer 5-6 questions about the transcontinental railroad and include appropriate illustrations for each.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: 5 Ws of Social Studies and History

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/3] Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/1] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/9] Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/WHST/6-8/2/B] Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

More Storyboard That Activities

Transcontinental Railroad

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