Lewis and Clark Project Ideas

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school in several states around the country.

Of all the explorers in the American frontier, Lewis and Clark are the most famous. In this asset, you will find a collection of project ideas for your middle and high school students to complete both individually and in groups.

Lewis and Clark

In the early 19th century, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on an expedition to explore the newly purchased Louisiana Territory and the northwestern parts of North America. Along the way, they discovered Native American tribes, new plants and geographic features. The Lewis and Clark Expedition appears in U.S. history curriculum in both middle school and high school and these projects, which include the opportunity for both group and individual work, were created with those students in mind. The goal of each of these projects is to enhance student understanding of the significance of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Map Poster (Group Project)

For this project, students will work in small groups to map out the highlights of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In groups of 3 - 5, students will begin by researching some of the discoveries Lewis and Clark made on their journey. They may use both primary and secondary sources to do this. Encourage students to look through their notes/textbooks, articles on Lewis and Clark and the journals of the men for ideas. Ultimately, they should compile a collection of the 15 most significant events along the journey.

Once they have created their list, they will draw a large map of the United States on a poster board. Then, they will ''pin'' the 15 events on the location where they occurred. For each event, students should have a date (could be a range or simply month and year for some events), a title for the event and a 1 - 2 sentence description of the event's significance. Students should also include five hand-drawn images. On the back of their poster, students will include five quotes from primary sources that connect to the events. For these primary source quotes, students should also include the source.

  • Materials Needed: Poster board, coloring materials, computer/tablet for research

Lewis and Clark Journals (Individual Project)

In this project, students will be creating journal entries written from the first person perspective of either Meriwether Lewis or William Clark. Students should begin by reading through the digitized journals of both explorers, which can be accessed online. Students should spend at least 30 minutes reading through journals from various points in the journey. Next, students will pick if they want to write from the perspective of Lewis or Clark.

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