Jump to Navigation

Kansas Territory

Traveling Resource Trunk

Grades 7th-8th

How bloody was Bleeding Kansas? This trunk explores the excitement that took place in Kansas Territory before statehood in 1861.  In the years leading up to the Civil War, Americans looked at Kansas Territory as example of what might happen with the nation as a whole.  Would the federal government outlaw slavery in the nation, and what would happen if it did?  No one knew for sure, but the creation of Kansas Territory in 1854 gave the citizens of the new territory the right to decide whether they would live in a free state or a slave state.  Americans across the country read news reports from “Bleeding Kansas,” the place on the western frontier where conflict between those who wanted slavery, and those who didn't, turned violent.

The trunk contains a variety of materials to help students explore this tumultuous period of Kansas history.  A corn-husking peg, John Brown’s surveyors hat, a ballot box, flags from two sides of the conflict, and other artifact reproductions provide hands-on learning opportunities.  Organizational tools, like a wall-sized chart and timeline cards, help students learn about people who lived in Kansas Territory and what happened to them while they did.  Students read primary sources to identify pieces of propaganda published in the territory and then study persuasive techniques to create their own. Each of the five complete lesson plans included in the teaching manual is designed to fulfill educational standards in History, Reading and/or Writing for 7th and 8th grades. 

The items contained in this trunk make it a great program addition in non-classroom settings.  Youth groups find it useful in meeting badge or project requirements.  The hands-on components lend themselves to discovery center areas in museums and libraries.

Standards addressed by this trunk

Ideas for using this trunk with other ages and youth groups.

Contents of Trunk

Trunk Manual

Trunk Specifications

Weight:  29 pounds
Dimensions: 24" x 19" x 13"
Insure for $500 when shipping

The Kansas Historical Society developed the Kansas Territory traveling resource trunk with major funding provided by the Kansas State Department of Education.

Return to Traveling Resource Trunks page.