Lewis and Clark

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The lesson is primarily related to the 2-year Lewis and Clark expedition across America exploring the west to the Pacific Ocean and back again.  Many students may have heard of the expedition but are not aware of the impact it had on the United States.  The lesson also includes a summary of the Louisiana Purchase.  Students can “travel” with the explorers and learn about places, discoveries, and the people they encountered.  The lesson may be used in conjunction with other lessons related to explorers or westward expansion.  The lesson is only an overview of the journey, and it is suggested the additional resources be accessible to the class.

Lewis and Clark Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Lewis and Clark
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 3-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

The lesson helps your students become acquainted with the famous explorers Lewis and Clark and their 2-year expedition across America exploring the west to the Pacific Ocean and back again.  The lesson mentions the Louisiana Purchase and its relation to Lewis and Clark’s journey.  Students can “travel” with the explorers and learn about places, discoveries, and the people they encountered.  The lesson will be most effective when used in conjunction with other lessons related to explorers or westward expansion.  Because the lesson is only an overview of the journey, it is suggested the additional resources be accessible to the class, which include an interactive website and short video.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Ask: Have you ever explored an unknown place?  Where was it?  What was it like?  Did you discover anything new?  What were some of the problems you encountered?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. What do you think it would have been like to explore thousands of square miles of unknown land in the early 1800s?  (Remind students there were no cars, trains, etc.)
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce Lewis and Clark
  4. Distribute Lewis and Clark content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Display a large U.S. Map during the lesson to show the journey of the expedition.  Explain further the explanation of a continental divide.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  5. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students.  Brainstorm additional ideas for game types.  Distribute supplies.  Circulate through the room to assist students with their ideas when necessary.  Allow sufficient time for game creation, about 2 or more class periods.  Allow access to the Internet.
  6. Once games have been completed, student pairs exchange games and/or join other pairs of students to play both games. Depending on time available, students may take turns playing the board games.
  7. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  8. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review, allow students to share open ended questions’ answers.
  9. In closing, ask: If you were a part of the expedition, what duty would you have wanted to be assigned?  Why?
  10. Allow for responses and discussion.

Common Core State Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.3

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 3 class sessions

Additional Resources:

Many more teaching resources in Download!

Want more social studies resources? Check out our other Social Studies Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Social Studies