Lewis & Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition Exhibition Locations

For Educators:

Teaching Units & Lesson Plans

  THEME TARGET
GRADE
LEVEL
 

Preparing for the Trip
Meriwether Lewis went to Philadelphia to buy equipment and study for the expedition. To succeed, he needed to fit what he would observe into the framework of European learning.

Elementary and Middle School,
Grades 4 - 8


High School,
Grades 9 - 12
 

Politics & Diplomacy
Lewis and Clark, as diplomats, were armed with gifts, trade items, and diplomatic protocols developed between Indians and Europeans. They stepped into a world of complex tribal relationships.

Elementary and Middle School,
Grades 4 - 8
 

Mapping
To Lewis and Clark, mapping was a matter of measurement. They followed the European system for locating every point on earth. Indians drew maps differently, showing interaction with the landscape.

Middle School,
Grades 6 - 8


High School,
Grades 9 - 12
 

Women
The expedition had limited understanding of Indian women. Lewis and Clark wrote that Indian women were oppressed. They failed to see the powers that Mandan women possessed.

Middle and High School,
Grades 6 - 12
 

Animals
Europeans believed nature, like their society, was arranged in hierarchies. To understand nature, they needed to know each animal's rank. Indians saw nature as a web of relationships.

Elementary,
Grades 4 - 6


Middle and High School,
Grades 6 - 12
 

Language
Lewis and Clark moved in a complex world of language. Language in Indian societies extended into space and movement — how a person stood, wore his clothes, gestured, and performed rituals.

Elementary and Middle School,
Grades 4 - 8
 

Warriors/Soldiers
In both cultures, a warrior's clothing was his identity. Symbolic insignia revealed a complex code about who a man was and what he had accomplished. Military heroism needed no translation.

Middle and High School,
Grades 6 - 12
 

Trade & Property
Lewis and Clark looked at Indians and saw only poverty. But wealth can be defined differently. One culture saw value in accumulating wealth; another gained status by giving it away.

Elementary,
Grades 4 - 6


Middle and High School,
Grades 6 - 12
 

Plants
Lewis wrote detailed plant descriptions and noted how Indians used plants. The Nez Perce relied on plants for medicine and nourishment. Gathering plants was done with proper ceremony and reverence.

Elementary,
Grades 4 - 6


Middle and High School,
Grades 6 - 12

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