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When Papa decides to pull up roots and move from Iowa to Oregon, he can’t bear to leave his precious apple trees behind. Or his peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, and pears. Oh, and he takes his family along too.

But the trail is cruel. First there’s a river to cross that’s wider than Texas, then there are hailstones as big as plums, and then there’s even a drought, sure to crisp the cherries.

Luckily, Delicious won’t let anything stop her father’s darling saps from tasting the sweet Oregon soil. 

from the Apples to Oregon summary at

This story is a hoot, and it provides a fun foundation for lots of lessons. Grab the Apples to Oregon unit study and lapbook and spend a week on the trail with Delicious and her family.

Thanks to Mary Machado for writing the lessons for this Apples to Oregon unit study. Thanks to Jane Hatcher for helping with the printables.

Apples to Oregon Unit Study Lessons

This unit study includes lessons and printables based on the book Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson.

Here are some sample lessons from the Apples to Oregon Unit Study:

Social Studies: Geography Oregon
The story follows the adventures of the family traveling on the Oregon Trail. Use the map on the inside cover of the book to trace the route of the family from Iowa to Oregon and locate the places mentioned by Delicious in the book (Courthouse Rock, Chimney Rock, Independence Rock, Platte River, Columbia River, Walla Walla, Washington). After making your map, compare it to a current United States map. Were the states that they went through (Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon) actually states at the time? Were there any states west of the Mississippi River in 1847? Which ones?

Oregon was the destination of the majority of travelers on the Oregon Trail. They were drawn by promises of lush land, good soil, and moderate climate. Today fruit orchards remain an important part of Oregon’s economy. In the book, the family settles at the end of the trail in the area near Portland, Oregon.

Social Studies: History Oregon Trail In the mid-1800’s, thousands of pioneers (emigrants) traveled from the eastern part of the United States into the western frontier by covered wagon. Along these well-worn trails, groups of from 15 to 30 wagons were led by experienced scouts who knew the way. The covered wagons were nicknamed “prairie schooners” because from a distance they looked like ships bobbing on the “seas” of the Great Plains. Wagon trains usually began their journey in the month of May. In order to get through the mountains and to their destination before winter snows, scouts had to prod them on to cover about 15 miles a day. This pace allowed for a variety of crises, such as wagon damage and repairs, river crossings, and bad storms.

Pioneers had to decide what to take to get them through the long months of travel as supplies would be limited on the trail. The pioneers often found that they had packed too much and would abandon unneeded items along the trail.

For discussion: Do you think it is unusual that the family in this story would take trees along? Why would it be difficult to take plants? Do you think it was a good idea? Why or why not? If you were a pioneer is there anything that you would really want to take with you on the wagon? Can you find any other stories of pioneers who brought unusual items with them on the trails?

You can grab a copy of the entire Apples to Oregon Unit Study and Lapbook in an easy-to-print file at the end of this post.

Apples to Oregon Lapbook Printables

This Apples to Oregon unit study includes a lapbook with these mini-books:

  • Tall Tale Traits Apple Shape Book
  • Fruit Alliterations Shutterflap Book
  • Oregon Trail Map Page
  • Jack Frost Personification Shuttertied Book
  • Fruit Tree Graph
  • Oregon’s Flag Simple Fold
  • Weather Chart
  • Where in the U.S. Is Oregon? Shutterflap Book

How to Get Started with Your Apples to Oregon Unit Study & Lapbook

Follow these simple instructions to get started with the Apples to Oregon Unit Study:

  1. Buy a copy of the book, Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains, or borrow one from your local library.
  2. Print the Apples to Oregon unit study.
  3. Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
  4. Choose and prepare the lapbook printables you want to use with your student.
  5. Enjoy a week of learning all about the Oregon Trail.

Get Your Apples to Oregon Unit Study & Lapbook

Simply click on the image below to access your free Apples to Oregon Unit Study and Lapbook.

Apples to Oregon Unit Study & Lapbook

More Early American History Unit Studies

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Ox-Cart Man Unit Study
Little House in the Big Woods Lapbook
Nine for California Unit Study