This free, printable, unit study is a ministry of Heather Idoni, and Funschooling Units
Please feel free to share it with others.


(A Unit Study by Karen Caroe)


There are many resources available about Lewis and Clark. 
I have limited my list to those resources I found to be most helpful.



Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation


A good source for information






Keel Boats





by Carole Thaxton and Jessica Hulcy

by John Bakeless (1964) -- There are several different Journal published. I got this one at a garage sale.

by Peter F. Copeland. This is a Dover Coloring Book and is best used with older children. Don't "laugh off " coloring books. The necessary attention to detail in something like this is a valuable teaching tool.

by R. Conrad Stein.

by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk. This is an incredibly beautiful book about Clark's slave, York.



Kids Discover Lewis Clark Volume 6, Issue 9
To order send $3.00 to Kids Discover, 170 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.



I have outlined the unit by subject area. Included under each subject are activities related to the unit. There is no grade-level attached to the unit. I taught this unit to K, 1, 4, and 9. You will need to modify the activities for your child.

I. Background.
Encourage your children to discover what was happening in the world when Lewis and Clark began. What did the US look like? How many states were there? Who was President? What other significant activities were happening in the world?
Use a timeline.

II. Language Arts/Reading
A. Read a good (short) introductory book about Lewis and Clark.
B. Identify the Main Characters
C. Identify "exciting moments" or a turning point.
D. For older children: write a short paper comparing and contrasting this expedition to others they have read about. How were the preparations different? What about goals?, supplies?
E. Give spelling/vocabulary words for the unit. Choose level appropriate words. Use those words to develop other skills--dictionary practice, alphabetizing practice, writing.
F. Dictate a section from the "Journals". Use it to teach grammar lessons. (I use Simply Grammar by Karen Andreola.)
G. Have the children create their own journal. We used a theme. Our children pretended they were members of the expedition party. My 9th grader kept her own. The others combined together to make one. I emphasized correct spelling, punctuation and grammar so that people in the future would be able to clearly understand what happened on the expedition.
Alternate Plan: Take a family camping trip during the unit. Keep a journal of that. Include drawings of flora and fauna, animals, etc.

lll. Math
A. Measurement of Time (seasons, days, months, years)
B. Design word problems related to the journey. I used problems like: "If every person carried 8 pounds of supplies, what was the total weight of the supplies needed?" Or make a division problem from that, addition or whatever. I also used problems like: "If L and C travelled 7,600 miles, how long would it take us to travel that far traveling 10 hrs a day at a rate of 60 mph?"
C. Have child figure out where you'd end up if you travelled x amount of miles from your home in any given direction. (this is also a geography/map skill)
D. Discuss money. Discuss bartering. Set up some values to useful items and practice "trading". We did this with chores.

IV. Geography.
A. Make a topographical map of the US at the time of the Expedition. Follow the trail with string as you read.
B. Practice orienteering. Use compass, protractor, ruler, etc.
C. Find locations on a map.
D. My children enjoy finding locations that were named after the people they study. Perhaps finding out what special impact was made by those people at that location.
E. Learn the names and spellings of the mountains, rivers, and other important places.
F. Discuss how the physical features of the land have changed. For example, rapids, falls or islands that may have been present no longer exist. Why is that? What causes the land to change?
G. This is a good unit to study water systems. The Continental Divide is mentioned in the journals. How does that tie in with water systems? What role did the water systems play in exploration and development of the country?

V. Science
A. Discover what animals and critters were encountered by the expedition party. Where did they live? Note them on the map. Do they still live in those habitats? Why? or Why not?
B. Discover the same thing about the vegetation.
C. What happened when someone became ill or was injured. What was used for medicine? Study the medicinal value of some plants.
D. What water was safe to drink? What foods were safe to eat? How did they know. How can you know today. What are some safety rules to follow?
E. Discuss the ecosystems from the time period. How have they changed?
F. What was the weather like? Is it pretty much the same today? Make a comparison chart.

VI. History -- the whole thing is history based. No need for special extra study here.

VII. Other
A. Music and Dance of Native Americans and of that time period in US history.
B. What art came out of that time period? Discuss petroglyphs. Did the exploration and expansion of the west influence the art?
C. Do a sub-unit on Sacajawea and the Shoshone Indians.
D. Build a model of a Keel Boat.
E. Don't forget to study the biographies of the main characters.
F. Follow-up. What happened next? How did this expedition impact America? The World? You know what they say. "Leave 'em wanting more!"



I hope this study is of value. We really enjoyed this time in history and the wealth of information available. These are just a few of the many ideas for "hands-on" type learning. 
There is so much more to the Lewis and Clark expedition than just reading about it could ever teach.



For questions, comments, and suggestions, Please e-mail Heather at

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