Teaching Guide: Exploring the Lewis and Clark Expedition

This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, The Lewis and Clark Expedition, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.

Discussion questions

  1. Compare and contrast the ways Sacagawea is portrayed on the coin and in the sculpture. What does each say about her legacy?

  2. Using the items in this set as evidence, describe the challenges that the Lewis and Clark faced. How did they prepare for and overcome these challenges?

  3. Look at the list of presents Lewis purchased for Native Americans he would meet in his travels. Select one of the gifts and speculate about how a Native American recipient might have reacted to this gift and put it to use.

  4. Look at the 1945 map of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. What does this illustration of their journey reveal about their travels?

Classroom activities

Based on ideas in this set and your other research about Lewis and Clark, pick a person from the Lewis and Clark Expedition and write a diary entry on a particular day of the journey. Include details about what you see, whom you encounter, which work you have to do, and how you face challenges.

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