The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Lesson Activities
Activity 1: Packing for the trip
Distribute the packing list students completed in the introductory activity along with the remaining worksheets from the lesson packet.
- Students compare their packing list with Lewis and Clark’s list.
- Students complete the Compare and Contrast worksheet.
- Students choose three items they have never heard of before and research them using the Take a Closer Look worksheet included in the packet.
Activity 2: Lewis and Clark Game Board
Used with permission
Students play the board game answering questions based on the expedition to advance in play. It includes a printable dice and game pieces modeled after the expedition’s leaders.
Printable Game (Note, if you have access to a poster printer, the size is 20”X20”. If not, change the print settings to “Tile” and tape the pieces together.)
Question/Answer Cards: Sheet A, Sheet B, Sheet C, Sheet D
Activity 3: Expedition Chronology 1
Print the expedition chronology of Lewis and Clark's trip. Cut into strips and distribute to students.
Print the expedition map. (Note, if you have access to a poster printer, the dimensions are 11”X17”. If not, change the print settings to “Tile” and tape the pieces together.)
Each item on the list represents a date when the expedition reached or departed from a specific location. Have students compare the map of the expedition with a present-day map and pin the strip to the map.
Activity 4: Expedition Chronology 2
Using a contemporary map, have students work alone or in pairs to determine the location of the expedition on their strip(s). Once students have established each location, they affix their strip to the map of the expedition showing the progress of the trip.
Activity 5: Expedition Chronology 3
Place students into groups. Give each group a set of strips. When you say go, each group should try to arrange the strips in chronological order faster than the other groups. When one group thinks they have the strips in the correct order, all students in the group should raise their hands and the others must freeze. Check the order of the strips using the original expedition chronology list. The first group to arrange the strips in the correct order wins.
Activity 6: Road Trip
Students map out a road trip.
Print and distribute the blank map of the United States.
Tell students they are going to take a road trip and they get to decide the destination. They can visit any destination they like. The only stipulation is that they have to travel through at least five states to reach that destination.
Have students research their destination. Using a globe or map, students label the blank map with the names of states, towns, or cities they will visit along the way.
Additional activities: Students can determine how many miles they would be traveling, how long it will take to get there, what other sites of interest they can visit, how much they will spend on gas, and/or where they will stay, and how much hotels will cost.
Activity 7: York: The first Black American to cross the continent
Students learn and answer questions about York and his amazing and often unheard of role in the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Activity 8: The Mysterious Appearance of York Statue
In 2020, protestors against racial injustice all around the U.S. tore down countless statues. Most of the pedestals on which those statues sat remain empty. But in February 2021, a new statue mysteriously appeared on one of those pedestals. Students can read about the event and about the man the statue commemorates in this Newsela article. Teachers who have a free account can assign the article and adjust the reading level for individual students.
Activity 9: Native American Tribes Today
Native American tribes played very important in the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Have students research the tribes Lewis and Clark met and write a report or give a presentation on how these tribes are active today.
Activity 10: Presents for the American Indians
Students create a list of presents they would take on the expedition and compare it to the actual list.
Lead a discussion about how the American Indians lived in the time of the expedition. What were their needs and wants? Have students create a list of items they would take on the expedition to give to the American Indians.
Next, have students go to this site to see the actual list and compare their items with the ones on the list. Did their items make it on the actual list?
Students will probably not know some of the items on the list. Have them choose one and research it.
Activity 11: Sacagawea Research
Students use the information packet from KidsKonnect.com to learn about the important role Sacagawea played in the Lewis and Clark expedition.
GetEpic.com also has a number of books about Sacagawea. Teachers can assign books according to reading level.
Activity 12: Timeline of Western Expansion
Students research significant events before and after the Lewis and Clark expedition. Download Files
Activity 13: STAAR Practice Questions (8th Grade)
Download worksheet Download key
Students practice for the STAAR test using questions from released tests and other questions generated in the STAAR question format.