The Men of the Corps of Discovery
Submitted by: Christine McCoid
Lesson Overview
Concept This lesson focuses on the men who were a part of the Corps of Discovery.  Students will gain an understanding of the difficulty of this expedition, and come to recognize the hardships endured by the men throughout their journey.
Performance Objectives

Students will be able to:
1. Chart the trail followed by Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.
2. Use research skills.
3. Recognize hardships and circumstances of the men involved in the expedition.
4. Gain a geographical understanding of the western portion of the United States.


1. Relevant maps and online resources (from Smithsonian Institution)
2. Online research materials, such as http://lewisandclarktrail.com
3. Related books, such as "How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark" by Rosalyn Schanzer (Scholastic, Inc., 1997)  or  "In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark" by Gerald S. Snyder (National Geographic Society, 1970)
4. Computer(s); Internet Web browser


1.  Create with the class or display a map of the expeditionís route.  Record on the map the dates the Corps of Discovery was in each location.

2. Access the Lewis and Clark Web site to see a Roll Call of men involved in the Lewis and Clark expedition.  Assign students the following men to research.  They should record each manís rank and dates of service.

  • Nathaniel Pryor

  • Charles Floyd

  • John Shields

  • George Shannon

  • Richard Warfington

  • John Newman

3. Divide students into groups, and have each group create a small map of the trail and highlight when these six men were with the expedition.

4. Have student groups research the events of the expedition during the periods these men spent with the expedition.   Their research should include:  dates, locations, major events, weather conditions, contact with Native American tribes, natural resources being found and/or used.  This research should be reported in a matrix format.

5. Discuss as a class some of the conditions encountered by these men on the expedition, some differences among them based on experience or rank, and the reasons for variance among their dates of service.  For example, Nathaniel Pryor was with the expedition from beginning to end, while Charles Floyd was with the expedition only a short time because he died from appendicitis.

Teacher Notes

Refer to "The Expedition of the Corps of Discovery" content.

Student Assessment Tools Visual presentation, written assignment and Other:

Students will be assessed on:
1. Complete research matrix.
2. Detailed creation of the trail map.
3. Participation in group work and class discussions.

Applicable State Standards New Jersey State Standards 6.4, 6.5, 6.8, 6.9
Related Web Sites Lewis and Clark TrailComprehensive information about sites on the Lewis and Clark trail

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