Grades PreK–2

This lesson can be taught in 2–3 class periods.

Lesson Introduction:
The focus for younger students in Lewis & Clark is on exploration and discovery. Students will get a brief overview of the Lewis and Clark adventure, the significance of six selected discoveries, and write a description of each object.

As homework the night before, have students bring in a box from home. Any small box made of cardboard like a shoebox will do. Print out several copies of the box labels so students can pick their character.

Print the background article The Journey Begins and introduce the Lewis & Clark adventure to your students by reading the article aloud.

Discuss the article with students. Ask students why people want to discover new lands and why is it still exciting today. Introduce the idea that Lewis & Clark sent back discoveries to President Thomas Jefferson, and explain that they will be making their own discoveries and sending them back to their parents. (See Discussion Starters below.)

Ask students to take out the boxes they have brought from home, and spend the rest of the class decorating their boxes with their box labels and any other art material available.

For the second class period, print out the six objects available for collection:
Prairie Dog
Grizzly Bear
Native American Shirt

Either print out these objects on a transparency for the class to do as a whole or make a print of each object to pass out to students.

Go through each of the objects either on the transparency or with the handouts, explain to students what the object is and why it was new for Lewis & Clark. As a class, have students come up with one sentence to describe the object and write that sentence on the board. Have students copy that sentence onto their printouts and put their printouts into their boxes. For older students, you may want to allow students to each write their own sentence about each object following your whole-class discussion.

Extend the Lesson
Are there Lewis and Clark activities happening in your neighborhood? Look online at to find out if you can go as a class to learn more about Lewis & Clark in real life.

Discussion starters:

• How has the United States changed since Lewis and Clark’s time?
• Why do people like to discover new things?
• What are some of the differences in how people travel today compared to 200 years ago?
• What do you know about the land in the west?
Does it have rivers, lakes, mountains, etc?
How could these landscapes affect Lewis and Clark?
• Describe what Lewis and Clark would have seen as they crossed the United States.

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