**WHAT YOU NEED**

- The Pony Express (print and copy)
- Blank outline maps of the United States (optional)
- Atlases (optional)

**WHAT TO DO**

- Distribute copies of The Pony Express and ask a volunteer
to read it aloud. This should provide enough background on this
unique system of communication for students to do the following
math problems. However, some students may wish to look in
additional sources for more information.
- Challenge students to calculate the following problems:
- How much faster did the news of President Lincoln's
inaugural address reach California than the regularly scheduled
8-day Pony Express run? (8 days minus 7 days 17 hours = 7
hours faster, or more than 1/4 of a 24 hour day was cut off the
usual prairie to the coast time)
- How many legs of the journey did it take to cover the whole route from Missouri to California? Suggest that students look for two numerical facts in The Pony Express. (1. The total mileage that the Pony Express stretched was over 2,000 miles;

- How much faster did the news of President Lincoln's
inaugural address reach California than the regularly scheduled
8-day Pony Express run? (8 days minus 7 days 17 hours = 7
hours faster, or more than 1/4 of a 24 hour day was cut off the
usual prairie to the coast time)
- The average miles a rider covered on one leg of the Pony
Express was 10 to 15 miles). Have students share their
calculations and answers with the class.
- How much did the cost of a 1/2 ounce letter drop after the Pony Express became established? (It cost $5 for 1/2 an ounce at first. This dropped to $1 for 1/2 an ounce. The price dropped by 4/5 ths or by 80%.)

**TEACHING OPTIONS**

- Give each student a blank outline of the United States
entitled The Pony Express,1860-1861. Have them use atlases
to find the Pony Express route that ran between St. Joseph,
Missouri and Sacramento, California. Encourage students to
label other information on their maps, such as the Pacific
Ocean, the Mississippi River, the Rocky Mountains, their home
community, etc.
- Challenge students to draw a chart that compares the time it would take for a message to travel from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California by the these methods: wagon train, Pony Express, Union Pacific transcontinental railroad, telegraph, Amtrak train, commercial jet, telephone, e-mail. Discuss how these times affected and affect lifestyles of ordinary people then and now.

Education Place | Site Index

You may download, print and make copies of this page for use in your classroom, provided that you include the copyright notice shown below on all such copies.

Copyright © 1997 Houghton Mifflin Company. All Rights Reserved.