The Transcontinental Railroad

Author: April Thomas
Year: 2022
Artform: Theatre
Subjects: Social Studies
Grade: 4th Grade
Duration: 1 or 2 sessions

Write and act out a newscast about the Transcontinental Railroad.

Standards & Objectives

Fine Art Standards
Integrated Standards

I can use my voice and body to act out significant events in Utah’s History.

Teaching and Timeline


Warm Up:

Railroad Captain:

Assign one person to be the “Railroad Captain.” The role of the Captain is to call out the actions and dismiss the players who don’t do the actions quick enough or who break from character. Once the captain calls an action, each player has to quickly start performing the action (e.g. within 3-4 seconds). If they don’t find a group fast enough or perform the right action, they are out of the game.


  • “Captain’s Coming”- Oh Captain My Captain- Stand at attention
  • “Lay the Track”- Pantomime laying the track
  • “Test the Cars”- Stand facing a partner making your bodies go up and down in opposite ways and sing “She’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes……”
  • “Drive the Spike”- 3 in a circle and place hands together in the center
  • “Connect the Track”- Lay down on the ground and hold on to a partner’s ankles. Connect 4 people together.
  • “Lunchtime”- Stand in a circle of 5 and pantomime eating lunch and sing “Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah……

Work Period

Create your own Golden Spike Newscast:

Imagine that there was television in 1869 and that you were a newscaster reporting at the Golden Spike Ceremony at promontory summit.

  1. Decide on the most important facts that you would want to tell people about the Transcontinental Railroad (4 or 5)
  2. Write a script for your newscast. Keep it short and simple. You may just report, or you may interview railroad workers or other characters.
  3. Practice your newscast several times and get ready to perform.
  • Landforms
  • Regions
  • Seismic activity
  • Tourism
  • Communication
  • Transportation

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