The lesson plans below are designed to be used in conjunction with the large-format film Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West, though they may also be used independently. As with all National Geographic lesson plans, they have been teacher tested and are aligned with the U.S. National Geography Standards.
Grades Three to Five
Building a Lasting Legacy
Students design a memorial to the people who contributed to the success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Students will also incorporate the physical geography of the expedition into the memorial.
Facing ChallengesReal and Imagined
Lewis and Clark did their best to prepare for the unknown, despite the fact that their mental maps of potential geographic obstacles were often based on rumor and speculation. In this lesson students consider their own perceptions of geographic features and obstacles and how Lewis and Clark managed to overcome the many surprises they encountered.
Same Place, Different Perspectives
Students prepare written accounts of the Lewis and Clark expedition that reflect the perspectives of both Native American groups and members of the expedition.
Why Explore the Vast Unknown?
Students interpret a map of the West as it was known in 1803, learn what President Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis to accomplish, and explain why the expedition was important for the country.
Grades Six to Eight
A Legacy to Remember
Students work in groups or individually to design a memorial to all the people who participated in the success of the mission. Students also incorporate the physical geography of the expedition route into the memorial.
Native American Contributions
The Lewis and Clark expedition faced many challenges due to their lack of knowledge of lands they entered. Native American people were able to assist the expedition through the uncharted lands.
The Object of This Mission Is...
Students learn about the types of information that President Jefferson wanted Lewis and Clark to document, then write an expedition “mission” statement.
Students focus on some of the crucial decisions made by Lewis and Clark during their journey across the continent. In a role-playing activity, students make some of those decisions themselves to experience the difficulty in weighing factors, assessing risks, and identifying consequences.
Lewis and Clark: Create Your Own Adventure
Follow in Lewis and Clark’s footstepsplan your own journey. How would you plan for the unexpected? What would you do to ensure safe actions?
Lewis and Clark Game
You are a member of the expedition. While that may sound fun, your decisions could be the difference between failure and victory!
PDF: Family Activity Guide for Lewis & Clark Film
Print our photo-filled activities based on the National Geographic large-format film (1.2 MBrequires Adobe Acrobat Reader).