The Corps of Discovery represents the epitome of American adventurism. Based on Thomas Jefferson's dream of finding the Northwest Passage, the expedition paved the way for generations of pioneers headed west.
This mini unit on the Corps of Discovery includes a PowerPoint presentation about the expedition, biographies on Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Thomas Jefferson, and Sacagawea, and questions (and answer key) based on the PBS special, "The Corps of Discovery."
The PowerPoint leads students through the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the subsequent journey of the Corps of Discovery. The presentation is replete with pictures of members of the expedition (including William Clark's slave York and Sacagawea), the Native American tribes encountered along the way, and the final destination, Cape Disappointment. An emphasis is placed on the goals of the expedition, and students are encouraged to discuss whether or not the Corps of Discovery met those goals. The presentation concludes with a discussion of what happened to different members of the expedition once the journey was complete (York is finally given his freedom, Sacagawea dies of fever in 1812, Clark is made Indian Agent, and Lewis is made Governor of Louisiana - only to commit suicide in 1809).
This is an excellent resource for those versed in the story of Lewis and Clark who wish to share that love of this era in American history with their students. I will admit that by the time I have reached the conclusion of the lecture - as I am describing the death of Meriwether Lewis - I am a bit teary-eyed myself.
The PowerPoint is saved using Office 97-2003, and uses a Calibri font (which can be adjusted as needed). Each slide includes custom animation.
Each of the biographies included in the mini unit (Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea, and Thomas Jefferson) include a series of questions based on the reading.
In using these in my own class room, students are encouraged to:
1. Number the paragraphs
2. Read the biography
3. Highlight answers in the reading
4. Use complete sentences
The answer keys demonstrates these steps.
Finally, the video portion of the mini unit consists of questions to accompany a showing of Ken Burns' documentary on Lewis and Clark. Rather than show the entire video, I have chosen to focus on those section instrumental to the overall story. It is a wonderful supplement to any discussion about the expedition - my students have always loved watching it.
Over the years, I have enjoyed a great deal of success with this mini unit. I am sure you will love it as much as I do.
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