Transcontinental Railroad 150th Anniversary Teaching Resources

Transcontinental Railroad 150th Anniversary Teaching Resources
One of our more popular units is on the Transcontinental Railroad. This May 10 is the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony that was held to commemorate the completion of the railroad. What a great opportunity to learn more about the vast impacts of the Transcontinental Railroad along with trains in general, Westward Expansion, and the many states that the railroad ran through. We have gathered a dozen quality resources to mark the anniversary celebration — Spike 150.

You can also revisit the original unit that has been recently updated: The Transcontinental Railroad: A Unit Study.



Transcontinental Railroad
Start here!

“The Last Spike” — Separating Fact From Tradition At Golden Spike National Historic Site
Nice summary including facts (and fiction) at NationalParksTraveler.org.


Art & Photos

The Golden Spike
This is a photo of the spike hammered in by Leland Stanford.

“The Last Spike”
Information on the painting at the top of this post. View/download the painting for notebook.

Transcontinental Railroad
Collection of media at the Library of Congress.



The Great Race to Promontory
Great interactive at Union Pacific!

Golden Spike Ceremony
LEGO Ideas project.


Lesson Plans & Units

Transcontinental Railroad
All kinds of really well-done lesson plans aggregated by the Utah Education Network!

150th Anniversary: The Impact of the Transcontinental Railroad
Lesson plan from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

The Transcontinental Railroad: A Unit StudyThe Transcontinental Railroad: A Unit Study
Our own unit with dozens of additional resources!


Printables and Notebooking Pages

Map Showing the Different Routes for the Union Pacific

Profile Showing the Grades of the Different Routes
Amazing look at the obstacles to overcome no matter the route taken.