Train Travel Today, Feats of Engineering & California History Worksheets
Train Travel Today
Take a look at this Web site to find out just how much train travel has changed today. First, look at the map to see how many routes crisscross the United States. Are there any trains near where you live? Have you traveled on any of them? Then, use this site to create your own itinerary. Pretend that you’re traveling from New York City to San Francisco. From what station would you leave? What train would you take and at what time? Is there a train that goes all the way to San Francisco? If not, where would you make connections? Map out your itinerary and include the amount of time it would take to reach your final destination. Then check out other modes of transportation to see how they compare.
WORKSHEET & Sample PDF Activity
Sample PDF Activity
Feats of Engineering
Engineers who designed and built the Transcontinental Railroad faced many challenges, such as tunneling through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Design your own railway, either by drawing on paper or using a model train set. Think of an obstacle that the Transcontinental Railroad engineers may have faced and figure out a way to overcome that problem. For example, think about the train going over a mountain. How could you keep the train from traveling at such a steep angle that everything falls on the floor? Would it be better to tunnel through the mountain or build tracks around it?
How did the railroad fit into the history of California? Check out this timeline on the California History Online Web site. It provides excellent background so you can backtrack and learn other parts of California history. Then share your findings about how life has changed in the Golden State since its early days.