An Artist’s Perspective

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

Art and Design

Students will study the relationship between geography and music.

avatar Submitted By: Minecraft Education

September 17, 2017


  • Creativity

External References

Learning Objectives

  • Students will create a new song or poem that creates a connection to the journey or geography of the Oregon Trail.
  • Students will create a music playlist full of songs related to Oregon, for example Johnny Cash's "Lumberjack".

Guiding Ideas

This area near Fort Walla Walla was inspiring to artist and songwriter, Woody Guthrie. He found beauty in the geography that the early pioneers on the Oregon Trail had also found.

Based on the elements in nature along the trail, or on an emotion that may have been common for the pioneers, students will develop a road trip playlist, a song, or a poem that makes a connection to this amazing journey.

If making a playlist, students need to identify the connecting factor to the geography or emotions along the trail. For example, Johnny Cash's "Lumberjack" is a song about the logging industry in the Portland area.

Student Activities

This area of the country was inspiring to artists of all types. Create a road trip playlist and a caption for each song explaining how it relates to The Oregon Trail. Alternatively, write your own song, or a poem, that captures the natural beauty of a place along the trail, or a feeling that this journey evokes. For inspiration, look at Woody Guthrie’s work about this area near Fort Walla Walla.

Performance Expectations

  • After listening to a song or two by Guthrie, what do you notice about his use of words and music to create mood?
  • In your own poem, what inspirations and ideas can you take from Guthrie to apply to your work?


  • Creativity

External References