Sunday, May 4, 2014

7QT- Would you survive the Oregon Trail?

These Seven Quick Takes are brought to you by the 1985 Apple 2 Version of The Oregon Trail!

Our 5th Grade Social Studies curriculum centers around America History.  My goal is to get them just up to the Civil War so that they will be able to pick up in junior high with the "rest" of the story.

What's the plan for the last few weeks of school?  Westward expansion.  I am more excited about this than I probably should be.  I read all of the Little House books before 3rd grade and routinely played "covered wagon," in my tree house, wearing prairie skirts, cooking over an outdoor (pretend) fire, and dragging my sisters (playing the brother (Steph) and the baby (Emily)) across the continent.

And of course, what was my favorite game to play at school on our ancient box-like donated computers?  Oregon Trail, of course.

So as I was preparing the lessons and planning the activities for this unit, I set out to find some version of Oregon Trail that the kids could play.   I know that there is a Wii version and an app that you can download, but I was looking for something online that the kids could play on school computers as well as at home.  And I found the 1985 Apple 2 Version of The Oregon Trail, the one that was already outdated when I played it.  The graphics are awful and the music is worse, but it is the same game my generation (or weird kids like me) loved.  Go here and play it yourself!

However, be aware of the river crossings.  They never seem to go well.

There is also the danger of wagon fires.  
 Watch out.

Also, if you name your traveling companions after someone you know (family or friend) don't get to attached.  Take my sister Steph for example:

Sorry, Steph.  Then there was Emily:

So, I decided to introduce my student to the game, knowing that they would either think I am the lamest dinosaur on the planet, or they would love it.

They loved it.  I think that the ancient graphics and low tech keyboard input made it more appealing.  And they were learning.  Funny how that happens sometimes.

Funny also how if you let your students try a role playing game, they are going to make you a character.  And they are going to think it is hysterical that you are part of the story.

For example, they thought this was funny, and I thought that it was accurate:
And then they thought this was great/horrifying/awesome.
 And as a bonus, I got to see what my students would have as their epitaphs if they were able to choose:
 Whether I should be proud or embarrassed, I am not sure.

But this game is going to be the incentive to get us through the last month of school, I am thinking.

So go enjoy some recreation this Sunday afternoon, and see if you would survive the Oregon Trail!

Visit Conversion Diary for more Seven Quick Takes!

Aaaaannnnnddddd, speaking of Conversion Diary, you should go buy Jennifer's new book, just released this week.  I am looking forward to reading it and joining in with some lovely ladies for a Book Club next month.  That sounds like real recreation.


  1. We probably still have the game around somewhere. Although I don't know if it would work on any computers now.

  2. Well that escalated quickly. Hope I'm chillin with Jesus, too.

    1. At least you didn't break your leg and get a snake bite like Stephanie did. What would you like on your epitaph?

    2. "Emily Werner - beloved sister, devoted friend. Her last words were, 'Shoulda stayed in St. Louis.''

    3. "Chillin with Judy Garland."

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. So. I'm trying not to virtually throw myself at you for a hug and start introducing you as my new BFF. I do "summer school" at our parish for the 4-6 year olds and you have given me a million ideas - I'll be doing them with my 7 year old as well. Super excited - thank you so much for sharing your hard work! (also? your penmanship is absolutely lovely and you are an amazing graphic artist!)

    1. I accept your virtual hug and dub you my favorite commenter of the week! :)
      Glad you found good things you can use, Lenetta, and thank you for your encouragement!

  5. Best game ever! I just found your site on Pinterest and I am just printing all of your printables to teach my daughter about Mary! Thank you for being so generous! She is learning so much (She's almost 8). Thank you, thank you!

    P.S.- I always died of dysentery.

    1. Yay for more Mary for your daughter, Andrea! And best of luck with the dysentery- it's always the cholera for me :)

  6. I died in like the first 10 minutes! I will find a way to make it too the end!

  7. My students assure me that it can be done- they are figuring out ways to win more and more!