Lesson Objectives

To understand the development, growth, and impact of the Union Pacific Railroad in the American West, especially Carbon County, Wyoming.


Topics: US History, Western History, Industrialization.

Age Group/Grades: Ten – Thirteen years old, 5th – 8th Grades.

Download Lesson Plan & Worksheets

Learning Objectives:

  • Literacy: Students will read on the creation and expansion of the Union Pacific Railroad across Wyoming, focusing on Carbon County.
  • Critical Analysis: Students will use the printable sheets analyze the photographs (primary sources) to better understand the people and places of Carbon County, Wyoming.
  • Active Learning Activities:
    • Activity 1: Students will study and analyze historic photographs from the Union Pacific construction and use using our template.
    • Activity 2: Students will complete the printable word search.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will analyze the creation and development of the Union Pacific Railroad, from the federal to the local level.
  • Students will identify how the growth of the railroad expanded the American West’s population and facilitated growth of the area in the late nineteenth century.
  • Students will examine and analyze primary sources (photographs) to better understand the places and people of the American West/Carbon County, Wyoming.
  • Students will evaluate who the railroad workers were and the conditions they worked under, as well as how the rural environment impacted their work.

Topics to be Studied:

  • The role of the federal government in the creation of the railroad.
  • How the post-Civil War era allowed the growth and development of the railroad.
  • How industrialization in America was helped by the growth of the railroad.

Online Resources:


  • Word Search: Using the word search provided, students locate words related to the Union Pacific in Carbon County.
  • Create a journal using the prompts and papers provided.