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Lewis and Clark Homeschooling Unit

Lewis and Clark Homeschooling Unit

We started our homeschooling year with a four month study of Westward Expansion.

We began our unit by learning about The Louisiana Purchase, which was a natural lead-in for our study of Lewis and Clark. To date, this has been one of our favorite unit of study.

I’ve outlined for you what we did each day of the study, including what we read, the activities we did, and the writing/discussion prompts we used. I hope you find this unit helpful as you set out to plan your own!

*This post contains affiliate links. 

Lewis and Clark Header

Lesson One: The Louisiana Purchase

Day 1:

Elbow Room Video

Read: Expanding a Nation

Writing:

  • What do you think our nation would be like today if Napoleon hadn’t needed money or if Jefferson had said no? What would have changed?
  • One decision can change everything. Write a story two ways – one where someone says yes, and another where someone says no to the same situation.

 

Day 2:

Map: Color/Fill in a map of the US before the Louisiana Purchase, after the Louisiana Purchase, and what our nation looks like currently 

Map out the route the expedition was going to take.

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 1 (Co-Captains)

Writing:

  • Talk about partnership/friendship – Would you have asked someone to be co-captain or wanted to be the sole captain? Which way is better?
  •  Choosing the Corps – Quality List – Know your Strengths/Weaknesses:
    • Write a list of YOUR strengths and weaknesses
    • What qualities would Lewis and Clark have wanted/not wanted in the men they selected for the expedition?
  • Jefferson was Lewis’s mentor. Who is someone you look up to? Why?

 

Day 3:

Play: Lousiana Purchase Game

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 2 (Journey Begins)

Writing:

  • What do you think Lewis bought for their journey?
  • Make a list of what you think the Corps would need.

Try it: Portable Soup (Bouillon Cubes) 

 

Lesson Two: Lewis and Clark

Day 1:

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 3 (Winter Sets In)

 

Day 2:

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 4 (Sacajawea)

Read: Sacajawea: The Crossing

This is a fantastic little read-aloud to introduce Sacajawea to your children. I love that it used so many examples of onomatopoeia. We took some time to stop and listen for the sounds that occurred outside and around the farm.

Writing:

  • Write a story using onomatopoeia

 

Day 3:

Read: A Picture Book of Sacajawea

Writing:

  • What do you think life was like as a mother on the expedition?

Watch:

  • Sacajawea DVD 

I wasn’t able to find a link on Amazon to the DVD we watched, but check your local library to see if they have any documentaries geared towards kids.

 

Day 4:

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 5

Read: A Prairie Dog for the President

Create: Observation Journal

Explore: Nature Walk – Observe 3-5 plants or animals. Make a detailed drawing and record all observations. (This was one of our favorite activities during the unit!)

We also spent some time looking at images of Lewis’s original field journal for inspiration. Lewis was incredibly gifted. 

 

Day 5:

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch.6

Celebrate: Listen to fiddle music, have sparkling cider, dance

The kids had a lot of fun having our own Lewis-&-Clark-style celebration! They continued to ask for the fiddle music throughout the week. We spent lots of time around the dinner table listening to this music!

Writing:

  • What is a milestone you reached that you are proud of?

 

  • When Lewis saw Great Falls, he described it as “majestic, grand, and sublime.”

We used this as an opportunity to talk about “juicy words” or word choice in our writing. Teach your children about descriptive language, using a thesaurus, selecting more interesting synonyms, etc.

  • Use “juicy words” to describe a natural landmark.

 

Field Trip: Area Landmark

We explored a local waterfall. The kids brought their observation journals, and spent some time sketching and taking notes.

Lewis and Clark Trip

 

Day 6:

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 7 (Sacajawea meets Cameawhait)

Do it: Conduct a Land Survey 

My husband helped the kids map and measure our front yard. They took careful measurements, took note of important landmarks, and then drew a to-scale map using graph paper.

 

Day 7:

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 8 (Fort Clatsop)

Writing:

  • Start a journal

Do It:

Not only can you use the salt you create (if you take the time to properly strain your water), the process will be interesting for your children to observe.

 

Day 8:

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 9 (Return Trip)

Play: Going West with Lewis and Clark

 

 

Day 9:

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 10 (Setbacks)

Make it: Make Mocassins

We never got around to making the mocassins, but there were instructions for how to complete them (as well as many other great ideas and lots of info!) in the book, The Lewis and Clark Expedition

 

Day 10:

Read: What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition Ch. 11 (Coming Home)

Writing:

  • Discovered Animal Report

We checked out books from the library about several of the animals that were discovered on the expedition. Each of my kids selected an animal they’d like to learn more about, and researched the animal, using the books we checked out, as well as finding facts online. They completed several notebooking pages about their animal, and wrote up several paragraphs of information. They drew a picture of their animal as well.

*This project was completed over several days.

Day 11:

Read: American Slave, American Hero

Write/Discuss:

  • Was York treated ethically? Talk about how Clark treated York afterwards.

We ended up discussing York, rather than having the kids write up their answers. (They were still working on their animal reports.) The story of York is a wonderful way to introduce or discuss civil rights, human rights, values, etc.

Additional Activities, Assignments, and Books

Field Trip:

We are lucky enough to live right along the Lewis and Clark trail! We have frequented many of the stops, but took our first trip to Fort Clatsop this year – and loved it!

Fort Clatsop Trip

Morning Work: 

  • Correct Lewis’s Spelling/Grammar

Print out a portion of Lewis’s original journal for your kids, and have them correct his grammar and spelling.

Read-Alouds:

Lewis and Clark And Me: A Dog’s Tale

With this particular story, I had the kids write a familiar story from the point of view of a minor character.

 How We Crossed the West

You Wouldn’t Want to Explore with Lewis and Clark

I am Sacajawea, I am York

Who Was Sacajawea?

 

Other:

  • Discuss what happened with the Corps of Discovery members


I hope you enjoy your study of Lewis and Clark. Please feel free to message me with any questions about these activities. Happy learning!

Bekki Lindner

Writer, speaker,ministry leader, pastor's wife,mom of 4,lover of imagination,children's literature fanatic, and champion of mothers everywhere. Writer for Scholastic. #DisneySMMoms Also blog at: http://www.chasingsupermom.com

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