Title: Lewis and Clark in Your Local Park325

Key Words: exploration, U. S. history, Lewis and Clark

National Standard: 17
How to apply geography to interpret the past.

State Standard: 15
Students will demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge of geographic concepts, skills, and technology to interpret the past and the present and to plan for the future.

Teaching Level: H

Lesson Introduction: For some students, history remains in the long ago: irrelevant and boring. Having students investigate a landscape as explorers places them in the setting, allowing them to imagine what it might have been like.
Geography enables students to transcend the barrier of time in experiencing place. This lesson asks students to simulate the Lewis and Clark expedition in a local park or on the school athletic fields, providing them with a field trip without charge. The project should follow a discussion of the Louisiana Purchase and the background of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Objectives'Purpose: To read excerpts from the Journals of Lewis and Clark; to describe plant and/or animal species; to evaluate a nature tape; to survey a piece of land; to write an entry in a journal modeled after that of Meriwether Lewis; to photograph the survey area in accord with the journal entries; to draw pictures of the survey area in accord with the journal entry; to assess the materials collected and described as a whole class.

: Excerpts from the Journals of Lewis and Clark;Bernard DeVoto, ed. , The Journals of Lewis and Clark, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1953, pictures or slides of plant and/or animal species; nature tape, commercial or teacher-made; tape recorder; field trip instructions; sketch pads, notebooks, and pencils; camera and film (optional).

Procedure: 1. As a class, read excerpts from the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Note the careful observation and detailed descriptive writing provided by Meriwether Lewis.

2. Show close-up pictures of animal and plant species. These may be your own slides or may be photographs from books. Have students brainstorm a list of descriptive words for these species. Discuss how they would write a description from the list of words.

3. Play excerpts from a nature tape. This may be a recording of your own, or it may be a commercial product. Discuss with students the sounds that they hear and how they would describe them. For example, if students hear water dripping, is it falling onto pavement or onto grass, judging from the sound?
If students hear crickets, what time of day would be captured by the recording?

4. Tell students that tomorrow, they will be going on a Lewis and Clark expedition of their own tomorrow. Distribute and review carefully the field trip instructions. Divide the class into groups, as described in the instructions.

5. The next day, take students outside for the class period. Each group will write entries for a journal and draw pictures of items described in the journal, modeling their work after Lewis' observations.

6. Allow time for the activity. When groups have sketched and described at least three items, return to class and share the products. 7. Homework is to complete the journal entries and pictures for display.

Evaluation/Assessment: Student analysis of pictures and sounds; student group work outside; student journal entries and sketches.

Extension/Enrichment: Before beginning the lesson, show segment 2 of the Geography in U.S. History series ("Jefferson Decides to Purchase Louisiana"), Bloomington, Indiana: Agency for Instructional Technology,1991,.

This excellent series is available for borrowers through the Learning Resources Center at Keene State College. There is a teacher's guide which includes documents for interpretation. If a camera is available for the field trip, students may take pictures of the items which they included in their journals and sketches.

The class can then develop a slide-and-tape show of their own Lewis and Clark expedition. This exercise is highly motivating. Students might also be asked to map the territory which they explore.

Additional Standards: National standard 4 (physical and human characteristics);
standard 6 (perceptions of places and regions); state standard 11 (physical and human geographic features and regions).

Reflection: How successful was this lesson? Did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.

Thank you,

The authors.

Student Instructions

Your class will be divided into a number of "Corps of Discovery," each comprised of three people who will engage in outdoors research. One person will be an observer, responsible for finding interesting objects and directing the squad discussion about these objects. The second will be the reporter, responsible for taking notes on the squad's observations and for producing a final copy of the description for the teacher's review. The third person will be the squad artist, who will draw pictures of those items selected for observation and analysis. These drawings will be submitted with the written report.

Remember, you are engaged in a voyage of discovery at the turn of the nineteenth century. Many of the items which you see outside will be unfamiliar to you. You should describe them thoroughly and thoughtfully, noticing their characteristics and, where appropriate, speculating on their possible use, especially if they are constructed, rather than natural, items.


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