Lewis and Clark


Our Lewis and Clark lesson plan teaches students about the 2-year Lewis and Clark expedition across America exploring the west to the Pacific Ocean and back again. Students also learn about other significant people who were involved in the expedition in some way.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to have a historian come speak to your class about the Lewis and Clark expedition.

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What our Lewis and Clark lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Lewis and Clark lesson plan is primarily related to the 2-year Lewis and Clark expedition across America exploring the west to the Pacific Ocean and back again. Many students may have heard of the expedition but are not aware of the impact it had on the United States. The lesson also includes a summary of the Louisiana Purchase. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify Lewis and Clark and define, summarize and list facts related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the orange box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies that you will need for this lesson are markers, scissors, colored pencils, index cards, poster board, dice or spinner, items for board pieces, and the handouts. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can pair the students for the activity, gather the supplies, and copy the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. One optional adjustment to the lesson activity is to assign students the type of game they should develop. You can then allow other classes to play their board games. You could also have your class create a single board game, with each student contributing their own ideas. If you have each pair create their own game, you could have the class vote on the best, most creative, and most enjoyable games. An optional addition to this lesson is to have students create 3D maps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, using the internet for additional information. Finally, you could have a historian come speak to your class about the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


The Louisiana Purchase

The Lewis and Clark lesson plan includes four content pages. The lesson begins by explaining that, if you had lived in the early 1800s, you would have been able to buy a whole acre of land for a nickel. At this time, France owned land west of the Mississippi River. They sold it to the United States for five cents an acre, for a total cost of $15 million. We wouldn’t be able to double the size of the United States today, but in 1803, the U.S. bought around 828,000 square miles of land from France, doubling the size of the United States!

At this time, the population of the U.S. was growing very fast. President Thomas Jefferson bought all of this new land with a treaty called the Louisiana Purchase. The land that they bought went from the Mississippi River all the way to the Rocky Mountains.

Most of the land that they purchased was unexplored wilderness. They did not know

The Explorers and Purpose of the Expedition


The Expedition Begins


Expedition Results


Key Terms

Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:

  • France: Jefferson purchased land from this European country
  • Thomas Jefferson: President responsible for the Louisiana Purchase
  • Louisiana Purchase: Doubled the size of the United States
  • Captain Meriwether Lewis: Captain for the trip and was a frontiersman
  • Second Lieutenant William Clark: Co-Captain for the trip and was also a draftsman
  • Corps of Discovery: Exploration group led by Lewis and Clark
  • Toussaint Charbonneau: French Canadian used as an interpreter for the trip
  • Sacagawea: Shoshone Indian helped explorers identify edible plants
  • Barge: Large flat boats
  • Pirogues: Small dugout boats
  • Continental Divide: Area dividing the flow of water between oceans


The Lewis and Clark lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will work with a partner to complete the lesson activity. Each pair will

Students may work either alone or in groups for this activity if you’d prefer.


For the practice worksheet, students will match terms to their descriptions in three categories: Who is it? What is it? and Where is it? They will also tell the significance of five numbers or dates.



Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Biography, Social Studies

State Educational Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.3

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Thomas B.
United States United States

Exceptional comprehensive resource!

Thank you for this useful resource for teaching students about the accomplishments of Lewis and Clark! Some aspects may be too difficult for the students I work with but I will still get a lot of good use of out these materials.

Sheryl G.

Lewis and Clark

Just above my 3 grader's. May be okay for others.

Sheryl G.

Lewis and Clark

Very useful! Easy to use.

Jamie V.


As a homeschool mom I am pleased to have found this.

Bruce D.

Lewis and Clark

My class consists of 2nd to 5th graders with all of them below level academically. They all loved it. We were able to give the enclosed test to the older students, and make something for the younger ones to do that they loved. These lesson plans are awesome. I'll be using this one for years to come.