Journey of Discovery with Lewis and Clark
Student Resources

Map of Lewis and Clark Expedition

Map of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Library of Congress
Teacher Resources

Gateway to the West, St. Louis, MO

Photo Source: Flickrstorm



Background Knowledge













Research Scenario

The City of St. Louis Missouri has been given a federal grant to create a new monument in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a National Park Service site along the banks of the Mississippi River.
The govenor must choose which historical figure will be featured as the subject for this new monument. Several consultants from the Missouri History Museum have been hired to provide ideas. The names that emerged were: Lieutenant Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Sacagawea and York (William Clark's slave whose first name is unknown.)
As with many issues that involve spending tax payers' money, no one can agree on who should be honored by this memorial. To help solve this issue and settle the debate, every American is being asked to answer the following question:

Should Lewis and Clark be considered national heroes?

First, you will need to build some background knowledge about this topic.

Option 1:
Read the American Exploration of Louisiana from the Library of Congress and check your understanding. (This is a lengthy document. You should only read page 89- American Exploration of Louisiana to page 101- stop at Lewis and Clark.) Ask yourself: What major expeditions were sponsored before Lewis and Clark? What obstacles did they face?

Option 2:
Choose one of the following historical figures to research. Share your findings with the class.

Historical Figures: Source:
George Rogers Clark
Now is the time to remember another famous Clark, William's brother--George Rogers Clark
John Ledyard
The Making of John Ledyard: Empire and Ambition in the Life of an Early American Traveler.
Sir Alexander Mackenzie
Sir Alexander Mackenzie
Thomas Freeman
Thomas Jefferson's other voyage of discovery was stymied by the Spanish...and betrayed from the start.
Zebulon M. Pike
Pike- The Real Pathfinder

Sir William Dunbar & Dr. George Hunter

Hunter-Dunbar Expedition

Check your understanding of the background reading.

Watch the Brainpop video on Lewis and Clark and take the quiz afterwards to check your understanding.

Photo source: Flickrstorm

Task and Product

To get more details about the experiences and challenges of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery expedition, you will be working in groups to research one category of challenges faced by Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.

You and your group members will use a Web 2.0 tool to create a digital presentation which will be used to share your findings with your class. You may use one of the following tools for this presentation, as directed by your teacher:

  • Animoto
  • Photostory or Moviemaker
  • VoiceThread
  • onetruemedia

Photo source: Library of Congress

To answer the essential question, you will be completing a voting ballot which will be graded as your final assessment.

The following scoring tools may be used or adapted by your teacher to evaluate your research process and your final product and presentation.

Research Process Assessments:
  • Daily (Formative) Assesssments
  • Research Process (Summative) Assessments: Student/Self | Teacher

Group Collaboration Assessments:

Final Product Assessments: 

Photo source: Flickrstorm


Jump start your thinking:

What questions do you need to create and answer in order to come draw conclusions regarding the essential question?

Should Lewis and Clark be considered national heroes?

Here are some questions to get you started...
Were Lewis and Clark the first to attempt the exploration of North America west of the Mississippi?
What factors allowed the Lewis and Clark expedition to be carried out?
What major obstacles did they face?
What developments in western exploration followed Lewis and Clark?

compass and map
Photo source: flickrstorm

Gather and Sort

Use a variety of sources from the Student Resources page to gather information about your topic.
Be sure to read the articles on York and Sacagawea from the BCPS curriculum guide: " York and Sacagawea, The True Heros? "

Sort your research findings using this graphic organizer. Your row on the chart will be completed first and you will complete the other categories as you listen to your classmates' presentations. You will use the completed chart to help you complete the final assessment (voting ballot).

Be sure to avoid plagiarism and remember to cite your sources.


lego lewis and clark standing on a map
Photo source: Flickrstorm


Analyze your research notes on your topic. Decide what facts are the most important and need to be included in your presentation. Be sure to include any information that helps you answer the essential question and supporting questions. (See "jump start your thinking".)

Synthesize your research findings by working with your group members to determine what facts will be shared in your presentation and what images or graphics will enhance your presentation. Use a storyboard template to organize your group's ideas.

Evaluate your finished product and make any corrections if needed.

photo source: Flickrstorm


Share your digital presentation with your class and take notes from your peers' presentations.

Reflection: Review each step of your learning process and determine what went well and what aspects could be improved upon in the future.

Extension Activity:
Read about the "Space Race" between the Soviet Union and the United States and the ensuing Moon Landing. What was the significance of reaching space first? How can the exploration of the west be compared to this event? What should the role of government be in these endeavours?

Americans have always disagreed on the level of government involvement (funding) in space exploration. As a result of the 2008 recession, our Nation is losing funds for our space program (2011). How would these budget cuts impact our nation? What could be the "domino effects" in world politics?

Read the following essays from Gale Opposing Viewpoints Critical thinking to draw conclusions.