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Lesson Plan

Exploring Cross-Age Tutoring Activities With Lewis and Clark

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute tutorial sessions, plus preparation time for high school students
Lesson Author

Debra J. Coffey

Knoxville, Tennessee


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • Response journals for elementary students

  • Student-created time machine (optional)

  • Who Was Sacagawea? by Fradin, D.B., Fradin, J.B. & Taylor, V.P. (2003). New York: Grosset & Dunlap.

  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Join the Corps of Discovery to Explore Uncharted Territory by Johmann, C.A. (2003). Charlotte, VT: Williamson Publishing.

  • How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark by Schanzer, R. (1997). Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.

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Story Map

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Story Map

The Story Map interactive is designed to assist students in prewriting and postreading activities by focusing on the key elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution.



Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing


Students generate descriptive timelines and can include images in the description.


Venn Diagram

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.


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News Reporting Sheet

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Preparing High School Students for Cross-Age Tutoring

1. Introduction to cross-age tutoring. Match high school students in an English or history class with a class of elementary students in grades 3-5. Introduce the concept of cross-age tutoring and discuss ways for high school students to build positive relationships that will encourage elementary students to develop their literacy skills.

2. Training sessions for high school tutors. Model the teaching procedures for high school tutors. The tutors will use the same introductory procedure during four sessions to help elementary students master reading strategies. Students will (1) activate prior knowledge, (2) discuss key vocabulary words, and (3) encourage students to make predictions about the text How We Crossed the West before reading.

3. Establishing a learning community. Engage high school students in a discussion of ways they can encourage elementary students and build a positive community atmosphere. As students discuss the building blocks of a community, have them examine ways that Lewis and Clark established a community when they led the Corps of Discovery and began their journey. Ideas may be used from the lesson plan The Corps of Discovery as a Community .

4. Community meetings. The community meetings will serve as forums in which both high school and elementary students come together to set the stage for an upcoming session and review what was learned in past sessions.

5. Creating a "time machine." Help high school students create a "time machine" for use during the community meetings. A "time machine" with knobs and dials can be designed using a large cardboard box. The "time machine" is optional for this lesson plan; high school tutors can also dramatize an imaginary "time machine."

6. Dramatizing the Corps of Discovery. During each community meeting, a high school student will act out the part of a member of the Corps of Discovery (i.e., Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, York, and Sacagawea). High school tutors who portray these characters will share background information about the character and spark interest for a discussion about the event. The website Corps of Discovery Profiles, designed by the National Park Service, provides profiles for specific members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Another beneficial resource to use when preparing for these presentations is The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Join the Corps of Discovery to Explore Uncharted Territory by Carol A. Johmann.

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