Kids Discover: Lewis and Clark

Teacher's Guide Author: Hillary Noel, 3rd grade teacher, Twitchell Elementary School, Clark County School District


This teacher's guide is for the Kids Discover magazine Lewis and Clark. Additional teacher's Guides are available for Patty Reed's Doll, Sallie Fox, Sarah, Plain and Tall, and other exploration children's books.


Book Overview: Kids Discover: Lewis and Clark is a non-fiction, expository text. Although short, it is thorough. It breaks down the Lewis and Clark expedition into several different topics. Each page is dedicated to a different topic. "The Great Unknown" introduces the expedition. It gives a history of how the expedition came to be. "Who's Who" compares and contrasts Meriwether Lewis with William Clark. "Getting Ready" discusses the preparation for Lewis and Clark's journey westward. "Into the Vast Beyond" focuses on the trials and travails of Lewis and Clark's trek into the unknown. There is a beautifully diagrammed map of the journey Lewis and Clark embarked on. "Peoples of the West" describes the Native Americans that the Corps of Discovery encountered along their journey. "Worthy of Notice" captures the animals and plants that Lewis and Clark discovered by vivid photography and captions. "What Came After?" explains the importance and significant impact of the expedition. The final pages of the magazine/journal have activities for students to complete and information on where they can find more literature having to do with Lewis and Clark.

Book Themes: The Lewis and Clark Expedition, Westward Expansion, Native Americans, newfound plants and animals

Suggested Activities

  • Language Arts
    • Journal
      • Students will keep a travel log/journal of their "expedition" detailing their daily discoveries and difficulties on their journey west. The teacher will read excerpts from Lewis' journal to give examples of journal writing from the time period. Students will be instructed to look at pages 12-15 of the KD to get ideas of different people and animals indigenous to the area. In order to meet criteria for differentiated instruction, students will not be graded on quantity of what's written, but accuracy.
      • Standards Addressed
        • [NS/PS 5.3.4] It is expected that SW write responses to literature, drawing upon experiences through the use of journals and learning logs
        • (3)5.1 SW participate in daily writing activities (e.g. journals, learning logs, reports)
    • How Did the Journey Effect our Nation?
      • Students will be given an advanced organizer that graphically represents a cause and effect situation. Students will be asked at the conclusion of reading KD to distinguish the cause and effect of Lewis and Clark's westward journey
      • Standards Addressed
        • [NS/PS 4.3.1] It is expected that students will distinguish essential information from text features to locate information in texts for specific purposes
        • [NS/PS 4.3.2] It is expected that students will distinguish between cause/effect, fact/opinion, and main idea/supporting details in text
  • Mathematics
    • Animal and Plant Life Pictographs
      • Students will generate pictographs that represent the various forms of plant and animal life discovered on the journey. In order to differentiate instruction, some students will have assignment modifications, i.e. 4 pictographic representations versus 8.
      • Standards Addressed
        • [NS 5.3.1] It is expected that students will use graphical representations, including number lines, frequency tables, and pictographs to represent data
        • (3) 5.3 It is expected that students will draw conclusions from charts, tables, and graphs to solve problems
    • Trading Post
      • Students will be asked to purchase items for their journey at the Trading Post. They will only have a budget of $2500.00. They will be required to maintain a journal demonstrating addition and subtraction of money amounts using decimals. Students will be asked to locate the price of items using a search engine of their choice.
      • Standards Addressed
        • [NS/PS 1.3.7] It is expected that students will add and subtract decimals using money as a model
        • [NS D.3-5] It is expected that students will identify and explain mathematics in everyday life.
  • Social Studies
    • Making a Trail
      • Students will create a map delineating significant events of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The map will focus on specific locations on the route from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. Students will use the map in the middle of KD as a resource.
      • Standards Addressed
        • [NS 1.3.1] It is expected that students will construct a simple map, including title, symbols, and directions
        • [NS 2.3.5] It is expected that students will identify an historic landmark and describe the event that took place there
    • Sacagawea Character Trait Analysis
      • Students will be required to locate information regarding Sacagawea, specifically addressing her adept ability to use the resources of the land and modify the physical environment in order to aid her and assist Lewis and Clark. Students will create a replica of Sacagawea that displays her tools, clothing and various resources that she used.
      • Standards Addressed
        • [NS 5.3.4] It is expected that students will compare different ways in which people modify the physical environment
        • [NS 5.3.6] It is expected that students will describe ways humans depend on natural resources
  • Science
    • Wildlife/Fauna Mobile
      • Students will create a mobile displaying the various forms of wildlife and fauna that Lewis and Clark discovered/encountered on their journey. The mobile will have a picture of the item on one side, while giving a detailed description on the other, including where the item was found. The description will be graded based on the student's ability.
      • Standards Addressed
        • [N5A1; N5A2] It is expected that students will create and use labeled illustrations, graphs (number lines, pictographs, bar graphs, frequency tables), and charts to convey ideas, record observations, and make predictions
        • [L5C2] It is expected that students will investigate and describe the interactions of organisms with each other and their ecosystem
    • Classification Journal
      • Students will be required to keep a science log/journal classifying the various wildlife and fauna Lewis and Clark encountered on their journey. They can get this information from the "Worthy of Notice" section of the KD. After they have classified Lewis and Clarks wildlife/fauna, they will spend one week classifying the wildlife/fauna they encounter in their own neighborhoods. Students will classify based on observable properties.
      • Standards Addressed
        • [N5A5] It is expected that students will conduct investigations based on observations and questions raised about the world
        • [N5A1] It is expected that students will keep a record, in a science notebook, of observations and measurements taken over time (life cycle and classification)
Historical Overview of Book Themes

On May 14, 1804, The Lewis and Clark Expedition, known as The Corps of Discovery, left St. Louis.
With a crew of about 40 men including soldiers, hunters, and guides, Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark led the team to the Pacific Ocean and back. President Jefferson had long wanted to explore the uncharted territory of the west. He finally convinced congress to fund a $2500.00 trip to explore the west, record scientific data, and look for trade routes.

In charge of this team, he put Meriwether Lewis who had served as his secretary. The two shared a common interest in the west and would often discuss the unknown possibilities of the new territory with each other. He left the task of choosing a partner to lead the discovery team up to Lewis. Lewis chose his friend, William Clark, whom he had served in the military with.

The team traveled up the Missouri River for most of the summer and fall of 1804. They spent the winter months in the camp of the Mandan Indians. The tribe’s villages were a common trading area for the fur traders. It was while staying with the Mandan that Lewis and Clark hired several guides, one of whom was Toussaint Charbonneau. Charbonneau was married to a Shoshone woman named Sacajawea who also joined the exploration party. She became a valuable asset to the group.

After traveling many miles through the Rocky Mountains, they reached the Snake River and were able to float down the river and into the Columbia River in Oregon territory. They had finally made it to the Pacific coast. After spending four and a half months exploring the area, they set out again to return to St. Louis. After traveling around 8,000 miles to and from, they returned to St. Louis in September 1806.

The Lewis and Clark expedition mapped much of the uncharted territory west of the Missouri River. They found animals never seen before, and their journals and first-hand accounts described a land that many people living in the east longed to see for themselves. The Corps of Discovery helped to open up the west and allow for westward expansion.

Additional Resources


Note: This teacher's guide was developed as part of one of the Clark County School District's Teaching American History grants. In this grant module, teachers focused on using children's historical literature to teach cross-curricular concepts relating to 19th century westward movement. For more information about this blog, related teacher's guides, or the grant module, please contact Dr. Christy Keeler.


Christine Anderson said...

I loved this "magazine" and was very excited to see that someone was able to put together so many meaningful activities to go along with it. I loved the idea of a the cause and effect graphic organizer. It might be interesting to let the kids use the organizer to create a foldable showing maps and information from before and after the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The science and math components were also very interesting. Both the plant life pictographs and the trading post activity fit nicely with the standards and would be engaging to students. Thanks for the great ideas!

John Yoder said...

Hillary had some wonderful ideas. I like the idea of having the students getting $2,500 to buy supplies for the trip and then keeping track of how they spend their money. This is a great way to include math in a social studies activity that will be fun and interesting to the students. I also like the idea of using the cause and effect graphic organizer to show what came out of Lewis and Clark’s journey west. The idea of creating a replica of Sacagawea and her tools is a good hands-on experience that I am sure will help the students to better understand some of what the people of the Lewis and Clark expedition had to deal with. I liked Hillary’s ideas and summary if the magazine.

Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D. said...

Could you help me see the connection between the pictographs and math? Are you using pictures to portray items on a bar graph, or are you suggesting something else? If you're making a bar graph, can you provide an example of what you're seeking?

Consider working with your art teacher on the character trait activity. This could make a nice collaborative project.

For the mapping activity, it might be fun t add a little variety. There are lots of maps showing where Lewis and Clark traveled, but not as many of Sacagawea's travels (starting with her homeland). Perhaps you could have students view a fly-over on Google Earth of the Lewis and Clark travels and then have them create a fly-over for Sacagawea's travels (including her trip to England).

As I read through your fabulous ideas, I started seeing how they were all interconnected. It may be fun to have students work in groups on these activities. They would end with a collection of artifacts. They could then write an expository essay on Lewis and Clark and (attaching all their other artifacts) create a tri-fold board to make a History Day Project. They could then share their boards with different classes. This might be good practice for developing a History Day board before the students are in sixth grade where they can actually compete.