The 150th Year of Our Nation's First Transcontinental Railroad
A Teacher Resource for Grades 4-5
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act authorizing construction of a railroad across the continent - a transcontinental railroad. Constructed by two companies, The Union Pacific and The Central Pacific, work began in Omaha, Nebraska, heading west and in Sacramento, California, heading east. After 1,907 miles and six long years, North America's first transcontinental railroad was complete, signified by the driving of a golden spike on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit in Utah Territory.
To celebrate and educate others on this historic achievement, we have gathered resources we recommend for teachers' use in the classroom, including a list of books, lesson plans, and possible activities geared toward 4th graders, but could be adapted for 5th graders. In addition, we've included an original reader's theater play entitled Golden Spike Day written by Cheryl Hinman, Chair of the National Railroad Hall of Fame Education Committee.
These resources are available for teachers to download as a PDF, here on our website, for use in the classroom. Click on the links below to view each resource and other information regarding the 150th anniversary of our nation's first transcontinental railroad.
For the School Library
Golden Spike Day
A Readers' Theater Play
This original play by National Railroad Hall of Fame Education Committee Chair, Sheryl Himan, covers events of May 10th, 1869, from the very personal perspective of characters who were present at the time. The 4-page play has 12 parts (reading level 5.6).