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A Unit Study on Lewis & Clark

The Lewis and Clark Expedition was one of the first attempts by the Government of the United States to find the famed North West Water Passage. Such a Passage did not exist, but they didn’t know it when they first started out. Even through the expedition failed in their original intent, the expedition was wildly successful in mapping the newly acquired western lands, extending the first diplomatic hand to Native Americans, and in procuring scientific samples that were shipped directly to President Thomas Jefferson, including a small animal later named a Prairie Dog.


Westward Ho! : An Activity Guide to the Wild West by Laurie Carlson
The Back of Beyond : A Story About Lewis and Clark (Creative Minds Biographies Series) by Andy Russell Bowen, Ralph L. Ramstad (Illustrator)
Lewis and Clark Expedition Coloring Book by Peter F. Copeland (This is in the Dover Coloring Book Series)
Lewis and Clark (Cornerstones of Freedom) by R. Conrad Stein
Bold Journey : West With Lewis and Clark by Charles Bohner
Across America : The Story of Lewis & Clark (Physical Science Labs) by Jaqueline Morley, David Antram (Illustrator), Jacqueline Morley
From East to West with Lewis & Clark by Debra Hedstrom
Meriwether Lewis : Boy Explorer (Childhood of Famous Americans) by Charlotta M. Bebenroth, Al Fiorentino (Illustrator)
Will Clark : Boy Adventurer (Childhood of Famous Americans) by Katharine E. Wilkie, William Moyers (Illustrator)

LEWIS AND CLARK FOR KIDS: Their Journey of Discovery With 21 Activities By Janis Herbert. Handsomely illustrated with maps, photographs, prints, and sepia drawings, this narrative enlists readers in the Corps of Discovery and sweeps them along on a three-year journey. During their trip, students gain the flavor of exploring by doing creative, hands-on activities. These include: stitching moccasins, learning sign language, cooking vegetable stew, preserving plants, making tepees, reading trail signs, drying fruit, and crafting buffalo masks. Reading level: grades 4–5. Interest level: grades 4–8. ©2000.

LEWIS AND CLARK: A Simulation of the Corps of Discovery Small groups of students cooperate as teams, retracing Lewis and Clark’s route on a map as they "earn miles" by learning facts about the expedition and practicing cross-curricular skills. Sample activities include deciding what supplies to take, making a speech to Congress to request funds, learning sign language, building a model of Fort Mandan, mapping Native American tribes, making a rainstick, keeping an expedition journal, and drawing and describing plants and animals. While eight-page student booklets prepare students to take on rotating roles in the Corps of Discovery, the 131-page teacher’s guide provides daily objectives, procedures, reproducible handouts, and answer keys. Grades 4–8. Time required: 11 or more class periods. Interact. ©2000.

THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION Teams of students compete to finish the various stages of the expedition. Carefully prepared summaries of the journey, the preparation, the trip up the Missouri, the winter of Fort Mandan, the prairie crossing to the headwaters, the climb over the Rockies, the trip down the Columbia, the winter on the Pacific, and the return journey prepare students to answer questions and to research answers to bonus questions. Students increase their knowledge of United States geography, learn about the resources of the Louisiana and Oregon territories, and gain an understanding of Indian cultures in the early American West. Time: 4-5 hours. Players: 6-40. History Simulations.


American History with about.com: http://americanhistory.about.com/homework/americanhistory/mbody.htm
Discovering Lewis & Clark: http://www.lewis-clark.org/
The Journals of Lewis & Clark: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/JOURNALS/toc.html
PBS.org Lewis & Clark: http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/
Lewis & Clark Historic Trail: http://www.lewisclark.net/
Expedition Timeline: http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/archive/time/index.html
Fort Clatsop National Memorial: http://www.halcyon.com/rdpayne/fcnm-fort.html
Prairie Gallery: http://showcase.netins.net/web/bluestem/gallery.htm




1. Geography: What is cartography? Study out the Lewis & Clark Expedition of Discovery mapped the west. http://www.edgate.com/lewisandclark/
2. Play the online game at PBS.org on Lewis and Clark: http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/into/intro.html
3. Take a virtual field trip of Fort Clatsop, Lewis & Clark’s winter fort: http://www.nps.gov/focl/tour.htm
4. Biology & Botany: Study life on the prairie. View pictures of the plants and animals on the great American Prairie: http://showcase.netins.net/web/bluestem/gallery.htm , http://www.acnatsci.org/lewis&clark/index.html
5. Math: What was the Louisiana Purchase? How much did it cost? Figure out how much the US Government paid for each acre in the Louisiana Purchase.
6. History: What is a Mountain Man? Who were the men that preceded Lewis and Clark? http://www.xmission.com/~drudy/amm.html
7. Reading/Biographies: Read biographies on some of the major characters in the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This can include Meriweather Lewis, William Clark, Sacajawea.
8. Native American Study: Who was Sacajawea? http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/TLresources/longterm/LessonPlans/famous/sacajawe.html
9. Science: What was the scientific value of the Lewis and Clark Expedition? http://www.scsc.k12.ar.us/1999outwest/members/WarnockJ/lesson_plan.htm
10. Participate in a WebQuest on the Lewis & Clark Expedition: http://www.urich.edu/~ed344/webquests/lewisclark/
11. Language: One of the challenges faced by the Lewis & Clark Expedition would be how to communicate with the Native American tribes and with the French trappers that they met on their trip. How do you think they overcame this obstacle? http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/class/idx_lan.html
12. Take a virtual field trip of the Lewis and Clark trail by following the notes on this National Geographic website: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lewisclark/exped.html
13. Play a “Choose Your Own Adventure” about the Lewis and Clark Expedition: http://www.usaweekend.com/97_issues/971102/lewis_and_clark/971102trail_intro.html
14. Journal Writing: Pretend that you are one of the men on the Lewis and Clark Expedition (or pretend that you are Sacajawea). Write a journal entry on meeting Lewis or Clark for the first time or of some of your experiences on this adventure. You could also pretend that you are a Native American seeing a white man for the first time and what you think about how the people of the Lewis and Clark expedition behave and what you consider their chances of survival are.


"WE PROCEEDED ON: The Expedition of Lewis and Clark This award-winning program captures the historical significance and geographical wonder of the journey of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they traveled by foot, boat, and horse up the Missouri River and into the unknown in 1804. Combining dramatic reconstructions with excerpts from Lewis's journals, the documentary re-creates the flavor of their historic two-year, 8000 mile trek, including the beautiful and threatening landscape, friendly and hostile encounters with Native Americans, and the crucial roles of York and Sacajawea. Grades 5 and up. Color. 32 minutes. Kaw Valley Films. ©1991.

LEWIS AND CLARK: Biography Aiming for historical accuracy, this well-researched program draws on archival photos, maps, period accounts, and the day-to-day journal Lewis wrote during his 8000 mile, two-year trek with William Clark. In addition to recounting details of the small party’s progress, the video examines Jefferson’s motives in ordering the expedition and the long-term benefits it produced. Historians appear in short segments during the program to comment on salient events and help viewers compare the country Lewis and Clark found with the America of today. Grades 7 and up. Color and black-and-white. 50 minutes. A&E. ©2000

LEWIS AND CLARK: Journey of the Corps of Discovery Directed by Ken Burns. Replete with lavish footage of splendid landscapes across the western U.S., this poetic yet incisive program takes viewers on a breathtaking tour of the 7000-mile journey of Lewis and Clark. Narrated by Hal Holbrook, and featuring the voices of Matthew Broderick, Alan Arkin, and Sam Waterston, the two-part documentary uses journal excerpts, original illustrations of wildlife and plants, period maps, and commentary by historians, writers, and geographers to provide a detailed, and often suspenseful, account of the expedition's scientific discoveries, their encounters with Native Americans, and the feeling of awe they experienced as they unlocked the wealth of the West. Closed captioned. Color. Total time: 4 hours. PBS. ©1997.


Many of the books listed under general resources are biographies and would work well in this section.

THE JOURNAL OF AUGUSTUS PELLETIER: The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804 By Kathryn Lasky. "I kept swimming. Go deep! Go deep! The words pounded in my head. Maybe that bear won’t smell me if I’m deep." Augustus was just 14 when the party left St. Louis. Will he ever see his home again? (From the “My Name is America" series)


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