Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Lewis and Clark, and supports students’ understanding the purpose of  the Lewis and Clark expedition, and how it influenced westward expansion.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Prompt students to think of a challenging goal they’ve set for themselves. Ask:

  • What do explorers learn from exploring new lands
  • Why is exploring important? What can we do with information explorers collect?
  • Why might expeditions have been important during the early years of this country?

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description below the Movie player.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.
  • Pair students and assign each one of the two Related Reading articles. Then have them share what they learned with each other

Step 3: APPLY

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Imagine you are Lewis or Clark, and create a video journal of your explorations. Who did you meet? What did you see? What challenges did you confront? How did you solve them?
  • Make-a-Map: Create a concept map Identifying the main accomplishments of the Lewis and Clark expedition. After, have pairs or small groups review each other’s work and discuss how the expedition impacted westward expansion that followed.
  • Creative Coding: Code a conversation between Sacagawea and Lewis or Clark in which she describes something about the land they’re exploring.


Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

  • Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Prompt them by asking questions such as:

    • What did the explorers learn on the expedition?
    • How did what they learned affect westward expansion?
    • What role did Indigenous people play in the expedition? 
  • Assess: Wrap up the lesson with a Lewis and Clark ChallengeIf time allows, invite students to play the chronology game, Time Zone X and put the events of the Lewis and Clark expedition into a timeline.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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