These three books combine to make an exciting unit study of Lewis and Clark's 1804 expedition across America. Written by a homeschooling dad, the 50-page, spiral bound teacher's guide includes background information, excerpts from Lewis's journal, discussion questions, and thirty-one activity ideas. These activities incorporate reading assignments from Going Along with Lewis & Clark, maps, crafts, crossword puzzles, and writing assignments. This unit study would probably be most profitable for upper elementary to junior high students, but the accompanying books would appeal to all ages.
One early activity involves creating a list of supplies for the expedition. A later activity is to list the qualifications students would use for choosing men to accompany Lewis and Clark. Students must refer back to these lists in later lessons to see how prepared they would have been. Other activities involve making a map of a neighborhood park, drying beef jerky, and researching medicinal plants. The Corps of Rediscovery sells reasonably priced activity kits for some of the recommended projects in this guide, such as moccasin making, leaf pressing, and tanning. However, detailed patterns and instructions are provided for making the leaf press and moccasins for those who prefer to build from scratch.
The principal writing assignment for this study is to keep a daily journal as the explorers did. Other writing assignments include recording nature observations, writing an article for a newspaper, and writing personal responses. An appendix provides a list of recommended books for further study, a black line map of the United States, and an answer key for the crossword puzzles and word search.
Going Along with Lewis & Clark and the Lewis & Clark Expedition Illustrated Glossary, both by Barbara Fifer, are beautifully illustrated books that are sure to intrigue children (and grown-ups!). Both are crammed full of photographs, drawings, maps, lists, and text. Going Along with Lewis & Clark tells the fascinating story of the expedition in sixteen short chapters:
Who They Were...The Captains
Who They Were...The Enlisted Men
Who They Were...The Civilians
What They Wore
Things They Took
Where They Went
Finding the Way
How They Traveled
People They Met
What They Learned
What They Ate
Being Sick or Hurt
When it Was Winter
To Relax or Celebrate
The Lewis & Clark Expedition Illustrated Glossary is a fully illustrated encyclopedia of people, places, and things the expedition encountered along the way. Both books are the kind children read on their own without even realizing how much they are learning. I place them in the same class as Dorling Kindersley and Usborne books.
The Corps of Rediscovery offers many other excellent books and exciting project kits to make your study of American history memorable and fun. Visit their website at www.CorpsReDiscovery.com.