What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the Pacific Ocean in 1805.
|Grades||7 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Historical Figure & Event|
In 1804, at the request of Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from St. Louis with their 33-member team to explore the American West. By mid-November of 1805, guided and aided much of the way by a young Shoshone woman named Sacagawea, they arrived at the Pacific Ocean. Their accounts, describing the American Indians they met, the wildlife they saw, and the physical environment they withstood, paved the way for the great western expansion.
Think for a moment about how descriptive Lewis and Clark needed to be in their writings for an audience back East who had never seen, or imagined, what they were seeing. This is a wonderful opportunity to practice descriptive writing with your students.
Depending upon your school's technology, you can have students look at Kenneth Holder's paintings of various scenes from the Lewis and Clark trail, available at The Sierra Club site. If this is not possible, print out landscape scenes-or slides from your own vacation-that are vivid in their details. Then, ask students to write words and phrases that describe what they see, what they imagine they might hear, etc. Remind them that they are writing for an audience that has never seen these pictures before. Ask students to transform their notes into a descriptive paragraph as if they were a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Last, ask students to return to a piece that they have already written this year and revise it by adding more sensory words and phrases.
- Lewis & Clark: Into the Unknown
This portion of the PBS website dedicated to the Lewis and Clark expedition is an interactive story where portions of the journey are recounted and students are expected to make a choice about what Lewis and Clark should do next.
- On the Trail of Lewis and Clark
. . . and York
This is a short, easy-to-read article on York, William Clark's slave, who played a vital, but underappreciated, role on the expedition.
- Searching for Sacagawea
This National Geographic site tries to uncover some of the mystery surrounding this teenage Shoshone woman who acted as an interpreter and guide for the expedition.
- Lewis and Clark
This site, dedicated to Lewis and Clark, includes an interactive journey log, timeline, games, and information about supplies used and discoveries made by the Corps of Discovery.
Grades 6 – 10 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
This lesson invites students to create a “Driver’s License” for characters that have made a contribution to western expansion in the United States.
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Interaction and adventure draws high school and elementary school students together as they analyze stories about the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
This lesson uses Ben’s Dream by Chris Van Allsburg to highlight ten major landmarks of the world. Students research the landmarks and present their findings to the class.
Grades 4 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Minilesson
Students practice writing detailed, sensory-rich descriptions by framing a small piece of nature and freewriting about it. From this minilesson, students can develop a variety of types of writing.