Activity Overview

There are many interesting and influential people related to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad that students can research to gain a deeper understanding of its construction and its impact. Researching real people helps students to get a more concrete and compassionate understanding of the culture, lives and diverse perspectives of different people. In this activity, students will research a person and then create a biography poster highlighting their accomplishments or notable moments.

Find more biography poster templates to add to this assignment if desired!

Notable People Involved With the Transcontinental Railroad

  • Oakes Ames (1804-1873)
  • Oliver Ames (1807-1877)
  • John H. Baird (1822-1880)
  • Matthias Baldwin (1795-1866)
  • Julius Bandmann (1825-1900)
  • Central Pacific Railroad
  • Lewis M. Clement (1837-1914)
  • Peter Cooper (1791-1883)
  • Charles Crocker (1822-1888)
  • Peter A. Dey (1825-1911)
  • Charles Ferdinand Dowd (1825-1904)
  • John Dix (1798-1879)
  • Grenville Dodge (1831-1916)
  • Donner Party (Winter of 1846-1847)
  • Thomas Durant (1820-1885)
  • Ulysses S. Grant (18722-1885)
  • Mark Hopkins, Jr. (1813-1878)
  • Herbert Hoxie (1830-1886)
  • William Howe (1803-1852)
  • Collis P. Huntington (1821-1900)
  • Theodore Judah (1826-1863)
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
  • Alfred Nobel (1833-1896)
  • George M. Pullman (1931-1897)
  • Railroad workers (Majority: Chinese immigrants; also: Irish immigrants, German immigrants, African Americans, Mormons, Civil War veterans)
  • William H. Seward (1801-1872)
  • William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891)
  • Leland Stanford (1824-1893)
  • Union Pacific Railroad
  • Brigham Young

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: Research a famous or notable person (or group of people) related to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Create a biography poster that highlights their major accomplishments.

Student Instructions:

  1. Choose a person.
  2. Using school resources, conduct some research and learn more about your chosen person.
  3. On the poster, include your person’s name and dates of birth (and death if applicable). Choose a character that resembles your person. Add words and images to describe your person’s accomplishments.

Requirements: Person’s image, name, dates of birth/death, accomplishments.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Biographies

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.

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Transcontinental Railroad

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