America in the Time of Lewis and Clark (Sally Senzel Isaacs)—"Introduction" through "Factories"

Teacher's Guide Author: Jeremiah Norman, 4th grade teacher, Goldfarb Elementary School, Clark County School District


Teachers' guides exist for America in the Time of Lewis and Clark: 1801 To 1850 separated by book section:

Additional teacher's Guides are available for Patty Reed's Doll, Sallie Fox, Sarah, Plain and Tall, and other exploration children's books.


Section Overview: This section of the text focuses on specifics aspects of American history from 1801 - 1825. Isaac introduces the reader to Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase with appropriately leveled terminology. Other concepts such as the Lewis and Clark expedition and the war of 1812 are also discussed. The book has several graphic aids that dramatically enhance comprehension. Pictures with captions, map and time lines all add to the text. Isaac creatively introduces young readers to the early 1800's.

Section Themes: [Thomas Jefferson, Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, Native American relations, The War of 1812, Factories]

Suggested Activities

  • Language Arts

    • Meriwether Lewis Letter - Primary Document Recreation

      • Students will take on the role of Meriwether Lewis and write a letter to Thomas Jefferson explaining what they are encountering on their expedition. Teacher will beginning by teaching a lesson on friendly letters and their five parts. Upon completion teacher will read "Seaman's Journal" to the students. Teacher will then read aloud parts of actual letters that Meriwether Lewis wrote to President Jefferson. Students will then be given approximately forty-five to write their letter from Meriwether Lewis to Thomas Jefferson. Students will then keep their letter until he class's computer. In the computer lab students will type out their letters and SAVE them. Once saved the students will change the font to a nostalgic looking cursive style and SAVE again. Once typed each student will print their letter. Once back in the classroom students will take their letter and tear off approximately a half an inch around the entire border. After tearing students will crumple the paper and then attempt to flatten it back out. Teacher should prepare the next step as the student are tearing and crumpling. Students will have tea bags soaking in water that their teacher has placed on the desk along with newspaper. Students will place their letter on a reasonable amount of newspaper, and then take the tea bags and "paint" the letter. After they have completely "painted" their letter they will set them off on a secondary table to dry. The next day your kids should have letters that actually look like Meriwether Lewis wrote them over 200 years ago!

      • Standards Addressed

        • (4) 5.3 write organized friendly letters, formal letters, thank you letters, and invitations in an appropriate format for a specific audience and purpose [NS/PS 5.4.2]]

        • (4) 6.8 produce writing with a voice that shows awareness of intended audience and purpose

    • Create a War of 1812 Picture Book

      • Students will works in small groups to create chapters that will eventually be combined to develop a picture book for the War of 1812 intended for 1st grade readers. Groups of 4 - 6, depending on your class size, will each take one of the 5 main events of the War of 1812 mentioned on page 12 and create two pages with pictures that explain the event they have. An additional group will research Francis Scott Key, the Star Spangled Banner, and their relationship to the War of 1812. That group will create a two page chapter of the relationship. Groups that finish first will develop the Cover and table of contents. Teacher will need to provide necessary research materials for each group. Entire project should take 2 - 3 days.

      • Standards Addressed

        • (4) 5.7 write short expository texts with supporting details

        • (4) 6.1 use the writing process

  • Mathematics

    • Social Studies Statistics based word problems

      • Students will be given information about an important event in American history and then asked to create a word problem with that information. A sample word problem would look something like this; Factory workers worked 12 hours a day, 6 day a week. How many total hours did factory workers work in an average week?

      • Standards Addressed

        • (4) 7.8 express mathematical ideas and use them to define, compare, and solve problems orally and in writing

        • (4) 6.1 select, modify, develop, and apply strategies to solve a variety of mathematical and practical problems and to investigate and understand mathematical concepts

    • Map Scale Multiplication

      • Students will be given maps with scales showing the Lewis and Clark expidition. Students will be asked to use multiplication and the map scale to calculate the total number of miles on the journey.

      • Standards Addressed

        • (4) 1.20 multiply multi-digit numbers by one-digit numbers, with regrouping

        • (4) 3.1 estimate and measure length

  • Social Studies

    • Symbols of Friendship

      • Students will work in groups to create symbols of friendship similar to the items Lewis and Clark gave to Native Americans they encountered. Lesson will begin with a short discussion about Native American and Early American relations using a KWL chart. Students will design a double sided medallion with four symbolic images. Students will explain why each image is symbolic.

      • Standards Addressed

        • (4) 4.11 discuss how and why people from various cultures immigrated and migrated to the American West

        • (4) 3.12 describe the characteristics of another culture from their own point of view

    • Event Timeline

      • In groups of 5 -6 students will take the main ideas of several topics such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expipedtion, and The War of 1812 and create timelines of their major events. Students must also add color pictures for each event named.

      • Standards Addressed

        • (4) 4.1 record events on a graphic organizer, such as a calendar or time line

        • (4) 1.13 work cooperatively in groups

  • Science

    • European Americans / Native American Compare and Contrast Diagram

      • Students will work in groups to research the physical similarities and differences between Native Americans and European Americans. Each group will turn in one diagram that includes a minimum of five differences and five similarities

      • Standards Addressed

        • (4) 4.2 observe and describe variations among individuals within the human population

        • (4) 1.10 cooperate and contribute ideas within a group

    • Water; Solid, Liquid, or Gas?

      • Teacher will begin by teaching a lesson on the importance of water to westward expansion, and that Lewis and Clark were attempting to find a water route to the west. The class will then discuss water and it's forms. Students will use their science journals to determine what properties determine which state matter is in solid, liquid, or gas. Students will then make Oobleck and discuss whether it is a solid, liquid, or gas and why.

      • Standards Addressed

        • (4) 3.1 investigate and describe the properties of water

        • (4) 3.4 investigate and explain that water can be a liquid, a gas, or a solid and can go back and forth from one form to another

Historical Overview of Section Themes

Lewis and Clark
The Corps of Discovery was more than just two men traveling through the unknown, it was an epic journey that would forever reshape our country.

On October 20th, 1803 senate approval of the Louisiana Purchase was finalized. President Thomas Jefferson was adamant that the newly acquired area by research. Jefferson wanted to find a link connecting the Missouri and Columbia Rivers that would create a water passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Additionally Jefferson was curious about Native American cultures in the vastly unknown space as well general geographic information about the area. Jefferson decided that he should send his trusted secretary, Meriwether Lewis, on the mission. Lewis then enlisted the services of his commanding officer in the army, William Clark.

On May 14th, 1804 the Lewis and Clark expedition officially began. Accompanied by several soldiers, volunteers, river men, and Lewis's Newfoundland dog Seaman the journey left St. Louis at four o'clock in the afternoon. The quest was immediately difficult as a slew of men were stricken with illness and disease on behalf of their poor diet and lack of consistently clean drinking water.

As time passed the party encountered Native American tribes both hostile and friendly. Lewis and Clark usually dressed in full military dress for these meetings. Furthermore, Lewis and Clark were instructed give the Native Americans various gifts including medals indicating peace and friendship. The journey as also filled with new discoveries. Animals such as the badger, Pronghorn Antelope, and the Prairie Dog were all recorded In Lewis's journal and typically shot and stuffed so that they could later be the bearers of scientific experimentation.

As time passed on more difficult circumstances arose for Lewis and Clark. Even though the Hidatsa Tribe had warned them Lewis and Clark still encountered a Grizzly Bear. Lewis was able to shoot it. The group was also wandering into areas extremely unfamiliar to them. Luckily the were able to enlist the services of a young Shoshone woman, who not only gave the party geographical guidance, but also had translating capabilities that proved useful. This Shoshone woman named Sacagawea helped the expedition all while being pregnant and then some after her son was born. Furthermore the journey had to deal with waterfalls, dyssentary, rugged terrain, and several other difficulties before and after they reached the Pacific Ocean.

After completing their mission, discovering over 100 new animals, 200 new plants, mapping a fair portion of the western landscape, traveling more than 8,000 miles Lewis and Clark returned home to a heroes welcome on September 23, 1806. Such success you would imagine transcend throughout the lives Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but say this was not the case for Lewis. Just two short years after the epic journey, Lewis was found dead from gunshot wounds at his home. Many speculate that he took his own life following some poor choices, such as bad investments. William Clark on the otherhand led a very prestigious life after the trip. He also got married and raised five children. His first child, a son, he dedicated to his dear friend, and named him Meriwether Lewis Clark.

While they went on to lead completely different lives following the Corps of Discovery they will forever be immortalized for their contributions to the shaping of the United States of America.

Additional Resources

  • Seaman's Journal - On the Trail with Lewis and Clark by Patricia Reeder Eubank: This text is a picture book about the Lewis and Clark Expidition told through the eyes of Meriwether Lewis's dog Seaman. The book includes an easy to follow timeline of the events.

  • American Expansionism by Mark S. Joy: This text retraces the earliest steps of American expansionism from 1783 - 1860. Several topics are embraced and deconstructed by Joy, such as the Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican American War.

  • In Their Own Words: Lewis and Clark by George Sullivan: Using quotations and passages from Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's journal and other primary documents Sullivan weaves the tale of the Lewis and Clark journey.

  • Lewis and Clark: On the Trail of Discovery by Rod Gragg: A beautifully compiled resource on the Lewis and Clark expidition that includes several replications of original primary source documents, such as maps, diagrams, and letters.


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.


Mitch Kalin said...

To begin with, I think that your Meriwether Lewis letter is very creative. I like the way that you combine a lesson on friendly letters with the students writing a friendly letter in the persona of Lewis. I can see how the students would enjoy that.

On your Social Studies statistics word based problems, I was not sure if you were giving all of the students the same event. If not, I would suggest shaping the event to match your students. Give an event that requires higher level thinking to your high students and give an event with simplified facts to your lower students.

Finally, I noticed that your guide was missing some items. I do not know if this is final or not, but there was no historical overview.

Luis Bachelier said...

Really enjoyed the Lang. Arts activity- Meriwether Lewis letter it is a nice way to show students how historical documents are so important. You may want to separate some of your high achieving students with some of your low students so they can produce a letter of significance.

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

I, too, enjoyed adding the element of history and creativity to the friendly letter concept. I'd like to see you take this one step farther. Instead of just making the paper aging a craft project or a part of the publishing process, teach students about managing archives. Tell them about how museum curators ensure paper items will be around for the future. You could use an example of the National Archives and the Declaration of Independence and how the National Archives is vaulted and temperature controlled to ensure the safety of these national symbols. Another good example is the Dead Sea Scrolls. Whereas most of the biblical texts have disintegrated over the yeas, the Dead Sea Scrolls survived for nearly 2,000 years without human care. They were stored in clay jars in a cave in an area lacking humidity. How do modern day curators use what we've learned from the naturally preserved Dead Sea Scrolls that we could apply when preserving modern artifacts?

This concept of the wear of time on paper would also work well for a science lesson. What causes the discoloration of the paper? The acidity levels, paper types/qualities, and ink products.

I'm a bit cautious of your comparison activity between different nationalities of ethnic groups.

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

I just thought of another thing...

For your time line, how about bringing in primary sources? Students could cut out textual sources from the given periods or artist renderings of the events. That would add another social studies element to the lesson.

rnicolis said...

I think your idea of a Picture book is fantastic. Working as a group will increase the knowledge base and encourage the slower learners to participate. Having each group take an equally important part in the creation of the book is also a good way for all learners to participate. I think a great addition to this activity would be to have an editing and fact finding department to include some of the writing processes. Finally you might want to have a read and share with a lower grade. I am sure this would be a great motivator for younger students.