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
KONOS CHARACTER CURRICULUMVol. 1
by Carole Thaxton and Jessica Hulcy
THE JOURNALS OF LEWIS AND CLARK
by John Bakeless (1964) -- There are several different Journal published. I
got this one at a garage sale.
THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION COLORING BOOK
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.
THE STORY OF THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION (Cornerstones of Freedom)
by R. Conrad Stein.
MY NAME IS YORK
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
E. Learn the names and spellings of the mountains, rivers, and other important
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?
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
VI. History -- the whole thing is history based. No need for special extra
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.