Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Join the Corps of Discovery with Lewis and Clark

published on: 2/6/2005

Contributing Teacher(s): Karrie Peters

Subject Area: Social Studies/MO History

Grade Range: Upper Elementary (4-5)

Materials Needed:

  • Letter from President Jefferson
  • Graphic organizer
  • Grading scale
  • Missouri reference books
  • Lewis & Clark, Corps of Discovery resource materials Helpful Links:
  • Process Standards:

    • Goal 1.1 develop questions and ideas to initiate and refine research
    • Goal 1.10 apply acquired information, ideas and skills to different contexts as students, workers, citizen

    Content Standards:

    • Social Studies 2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world
    • Social Studies 5. The major elements of geographical study and analysis (such as location, place, movement,...
    • Communication Arts 4. Writing formally (such as reports, narratives, essays) and informally (such as outlines, notes)

      Time Allowance: Approximately two 40-minute periods (allowing time to brainstorm, write, edit, revise, & write a final draft)

      Description: This performance based activity may be used after students study Lewis and Clark.

      Classroom Component:


    • Students are given a mock letter written by President Jefferson requesting they join the Corps of Discovery.
    • Students write President Jefferson back accepting his offer.
    • In the letter students must tell the President four supplies they will need in order to survive the expedition.
    • Students will defend their selections through explaining how the supplies will be used on the expedition.
    • Supplies and explanations should be based on materials used by the Corps of Discovery.
    • In addition to content, students are required to use proper letter format.
    • February 20, 1804 Dear Private, You have been selected to join the Corps of Discovery, lead by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. A written reply is required to accept this offer. Survival on this expedition will require several supplies. In addition to accepting this challenge, your letter must contain four items necessary for the expedition. Additionally, you must defend the materials chosen. Your defense should explain how the supplies would be used on the expedition. If I am not convinced of the necessity of these items, the requested materials will not be provided. Please keep in mind the items you select must benefit the entire Corps.

        Best Wishes, President Thomas Jefferson




      Opening Sentence

      Closing Sentence

      Letter to President Jefferson

      Grading Scale










      Not Assessable

      Letter Format My entire letter follows proper format. Most of my letter follows proper format. Sometimes my letter follows proper format. I did not follow proper letter format.
      Opening Sentence I have a clear opening sentence that states my position. I have an opening sentence, but my position is slightly unclear. My opening sentence is unclear and/or I do not state my position. I did not include a topic sentence.
      Amount of Materials Needed I have provided the required amount of materials (4). I have provided three materials. I have provided less than three materials. I did not include materials.
      Materials Chosen All of my choices are clearly based on the original Corps of Discovery. Most of my choices are based on the original Corps of Discovery. Some of my choices are based on the original Corps of Discovery. My choices are not based on the original Corps of Discovery.
      Defense of Selection All of my choices are clearly & logically defended with an explanation on how the materials will be used. I defend my choices. I explain how most of the materials will be used on the expedition. I defend a few of my choices. I explain how some of my choices will be used on the expedition. I did not defend my choices.
      Closing Sentence I have a clear closing sentence that restates my position. I have a closing sentence. My closing sentence is unclear. I did not include a closing sentence.
      Spelling & Punctuation I do not have any spelling and/or punctuation errors. I have some spelling/and or punctuation errors that do not affect the meaning of my letter. I have spelling and/or punctuation errors that affect the meaning of my letter. I have too many spelling and/or punctuation errors that affect the meaning of my letter.

      Lewis & Clark Resources How We Crossed the West—The Adventures of Lewis & Clark by Rosalyn Schanzer Going Along With Lewis & Clark by Barbara Fifer The Dog Who Helped Explore America by R.W. "Rib" Gustafson My Name Is America—The Journal of Augustus Pelletier—The Lewis & Clark Expedition 1804 by Kathryn Lasky My Name Is York by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk The Louisiana Purchase by Gail Sakurai What's the Deal? Jefferson, Napoleon, & the Louisiana Purchase by Rhoda Blumberg The Incredible Journey of Lewis & Clark by Rhoda Blumberg Lewis & Clark: Exploring the Northwest (Beyond the Horizon) by Clint Twist Lewis & Clark, Cornerstones of Freedom by Conrad R. Stein Missouri Then & Now (this is what our district uses as our textbook) PBS video: Lewis & Clark—The Journey of the Corps of Discovery

      For additional information contact :
      Karrie Peters
      Traditional Sch.
      Pattonville R-III
      (314) 213-8016

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