Adventures of Lewis and Clark

Adventures of Lewis and Clark
Martha Jefferson: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Skill: High School/College
Time Required: Three to four class periods


In 1803, while Thomas Jefferson was President, the Lewis and Clark expedition set off to explore the Louisiana Territory that Jefferson had recently purchased from France, particularly the Pacific northwest.  All of Washington society was intrigued by this expedition, and Jefferson waited anxiously for news about this vast land that he had added to the United States.


Students will learn the path traveled by Lewis and Clark through the scenario of role-playing as an explorer.  Students will also consider the impact this expedition had on the United States at the time.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet.  Word processor (or paper and writing utensil).  Research tools (books, videos, photos, and magazines).  Printer.  Presentation programs (PowerPoint), web designing programs, blogs, and chat rooms (optional). 


1.  Engage the students in a discussion about travel, scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, and other expeditions.

2.  Introduce and provide an opportunity for students to do research on the Lewis and Clark expedition, using the websites below as well as additional sources.   

3.  Students may have a choice in their assignment.  The options include:

  • Constructing their own log of the travels, adding their own ideas of what was happening in addition to the historical features.
  • Writing a detailed report from the perspective of a participant in the expedition to be sent to the White House for President Jefferson. 
  • Writing a series of letters "home" from the point of view of a participant in the expedition.

Extending the Lesson:

1.  Students can present projects with the use of a presentation program (PowerPoint) or through designing a web site that explains the exploration.
2.  Blogs or chat rooms can also be used to produce a log of the adventure, which will allow students to comment (or pretend to be the President commenting) on the exploration.

Sources & Resources:


Lewis and Clark in American Memory

Lewis and Clark: Mapping the West

Lewis and Clark's Historic Trail

Lewis and Clark on PBS

Discovering Lewis and Clark


This lesson was developed by Marian Maxfield, Kent State University.