Chapter 14: The Gila Route

Teacher's Guide Chapter Authors: Beth Mulvey and Mike Kuennen 5th Grade Teachers at Woolley Elementary School in the Clark County School District.

Chapter Overview: Sallie and her family bury Orrin with the help of the Freemasons. (Nov. 16) Sallie and her family are staying with the Owens family. Mrs. Owen gives Leify medicine to help with her cough. Mr. Smith has offered to buy the family passage back to Iowa, however Sallie’s mom has decided that they need to continue to California, which is what her father wanted. This time, they will travel in the Spring and take the Gila Route. They will travel with Mr. Smith and his crew. Mama has agreed to pay Mr. Smith $200 for the trip, which her brother George will pay once they get there. (Dec. 2) Ellen and her mother visit the Fox family and update them on everyone else’s progress. (Jan. 8, 1859) The Fox family learns that Mr. Smith wants to leave the next day. The group follows part of the route used by the Butterfield Overland Mail. The Butterfield stagecoach can take a letter from St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco in 24 days. (Jan. 20) The wagon train stops at the mail stations to get water and supplies. (Jan. 25) The wagon train stops at Stein’s Pass, a mail station. They are told that tomorrow they will enter Apache Pass. Sallie is very concerned about his as she has heard bad things about the Apaches and Chief Cochise. When they get near the pass, Mr. Smith meets up with the Indians, including about 200 Apache braves. Mama cooks a big meal for the Chief and two other braves. Mr. Smith presents them with red flannel shirts. After a rather sleepless night, the Chief and two braves return the next morning. Mama cooks them breakfast. As they were preparing to leave, the Chief presented Mr. Smith a quiver of arrows and a highly ornamented bow. Apparently the quiver has the sign of Chief Cochise and will protect them from the Apaches if they show it to him. (Feb. 5) The wagon train passes by the Pima houses. They raise wheat, corn, and melons. At the village, Sallie and Francie find walnuts and decide to keep them for good luck.

Chapter Themes: Apache Indians, Death, and Recuperation
Chapter Activities

  • Language Arts
    • Losing Something
      • Students will write about a time they suffered a serious loss.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (5)6.8 produce writing with a voice that shows awareness of an intended audience and purpose
        • (5)6.5 write paragraphs and compositions with main ideas that are supported by relevant details and state a conclusion
    • Afraid or Scared
      • As the wagon train approached the Apache Pass, Sallie was extremely afraid they would be ambushed by Indians. Students will write about a time they were afraid or scared. Students will share their final draft with the class
      • Standards Addressed
        • (5)6.9 share final drafts with a designated audience [NS 6.5.7]
        • (5)9.5 read aloud and recite literary, dramatic, and original works [NS 9.5.4]
  • Mathematics
    • How many days did they stay in Albuquerque
      • Students will use the book to determine how many days they stayed in Albuquerque. They will have to carefully read the selection and keep track of the days.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (5)D.6 identify, explain, and use mathematics in everyday life [NS D.3-5]
        • (5)C.6 determine relevant, irrelevant, and/or sufficient information to solve mathematical problems [NS/PS C.3-5]
    • How many miles was the Butterfield Stage?
      • Students will do research on the Butterfield Stage to determine the length of this mail route, as well as the time it took to travel it and how many miles a day would they average.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (5)B.2 use inquiry techniques (discussion, questioning, research, and data gathering) to solve mathematical problems [NS B.3-5]
        • (5)5.7 represent and solve problems involving combinations using a variety of methods[NS 5.5.4]
  • Social Studies
    • Provide a timeline of major Chief Cochise activities (1850 – 1860)
      • Students will do research to determine exactly who Chief Cochise was and what major events he was responsible for and place them in a timeline.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (5)4.10 describe relationships among Native Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Africans [NS 5.5.8]
        • (5)4.2 record and interpret events on a graphic organizer, such as a calendar or time line[NS 1.5.2]
    • Find out about the community of Albuquerque
      • Students will look up information about modern-day and 1800s Albuquerque to compare and contrast them.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (5)3.9 describe physical and human features and cultural characteristics of places and regions in the United States [NS 2.5.1]
        • (5)3.3 read and derive geographic information from photographs, maps, graphs, and computer resources [NS 1.5.3]
  • Science
    • What can humans do to survive in the desert?
      • Students will brainstorm to determine ideas on what they could do to survive in the desert. They should include ideas on food, shelter, water, and safety.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (5)4.1 investigate, compare, and contrast the different structures of organisms that serve different functions for growth, reproduction, and survival [L5B1]
        • (5)4.5 explain that living things get what they need to survive from their environments [L5C1]
    • What can humans do to help animals such as mules, horses, and cows survive in the desert?
      • Students will brainstorm to determine ideas on what they could do to help animals such as mules, horses, and cows survive in the desert. Again, they should address food, shelter, water, and safety.
      • Standards Addressed
        • (5)4.3 investigate and describe how plants and animals require food, water, air, and space [L5B1]
        • (5)4.11 explain how differences among individuals within a species give them advantages and/or disadvantages in surviving and reproducing [L5D3]
Historic Overview - People when they journeyed into the unknown they encountered a variety of issues. People soon discovered that they couldn't perform this type of trip all alone. They had to rely on each other to survive. It was no different with Sallie Fox's party and they found if it hadn't been for the generosity of a number of people they wouldn't have survived. They also found that traveling in the desert during the summer months comes with great risk so they made sure they traveled in the winter months. They also found that Native Americans could he honorable if they were treated with respect. Unfortunately, a number of people didn't treat them with respect and they had problems.

Other Resources

Solins, M. Oregon trail days: the diary of Lucy Bell. Mexico: Harcourt.

Williams, S. (2005). Going west trials and trade-offs. China: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Web Sites

Apache Info

Desert Survival Info

Butterfield Stage Info

Albuquerque Info

1 comment:

Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D. said...

I'm rather concerned about having students write about experiencing a serious loss. Many may still be grieving and some may have some incredible losses that the regular classroom teacher is not qualified to address. If you do this assignment, be sure to include the counselor in the planning, delivering, and assessment processes. Same thing with the "Worried or Scared" composition. Some students may be experiencing abuses or extreme crises in their lives.

I like the idea of having students think of the length of stay at each stop. You could also bring in social studies and science here - Why did they stop for this long? What did they do when they were there? This might also be a good time to have them think about their travels and how long they spend at each location when they travel and what they do at each location.

Perhaps you could take a field trip to Red Rock and have a park ranger tell about desert survival or have a ranger visit the classroom?

Excellent links!