Objective:
Students will be able to identify characteristics that make a region unique, including climate, landforms, animals, and natural resources by completing a research project on the various regions Lewis and Clark explored.

Materials:
A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David A. Adler
Map of the United States
Map of the route of Lewis and Clark (several variations can be found at http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/archive/idx_map.html)
Computer and Internet Access
Writing Materials
Poster Boards (1 for each group)

Procedure:
First, ask students to think of a place that human exploration is limited (bottom of the ocean, another planet, Antarctica, etc.) Then have students briefly think of obstacles that might create difficulty when exploring those areas.

Next, explain briefly to the students who Lewis and Clark were, and what their mission was. Point out on the United States map the unchartered area Lewis and Clark were responsible for exploring. Make sure students realize that some Native American troops and a few European settlers lived on the land, but for the most part it was unchartered territory, similar to the unchartered territory they cam up with in the brainstorm activity.

Next, read the book A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David A. Adler.

After reading, show students the route Lewis and Clark took on their expedition. Have a short discussion about the difficulties mentioned in the book that Lewis and Clark experienced along the way and what they did to persevere.

Next, divide students into five groups. Assign each of the groups one of the regions in the United States that Lewis and Clark explored:
  • Interior Lowlands
  • Great Plains
  • Rocky Mountains
  • Basin and Ridge
  • Coastal Range

Allow groups adequate time to research their regions. Each group should look for the characteristics of each of their regions, such as climate, temperature, landforms, natural resources, animals, plants, insects, etc. Students should then brainstorm how these characteristics may have caused hardship for the explorers. Groups can then compile a poster of their findings.

Closing: Have groups share their posters with the class. End with a short discussion on the similarities and differences of the regions presented. Have students respond to the writing prompt: How would our lives be different if it weren't for the bravery of Lewis and Clark?

Other Helpful Sites:
www.pbs.org/lewisandclark
www.lewisandclark.net
www.lewisandclark.org
www.montanalewisandclark.org

Additional Content Statements for this book:
Grade 7
Geography, Human Systems
13. Geographic factors promote or impede the movement of people, products and ideas.

Grade 8
Geography, Human Systems
15. The movement of people, products and ideas resulted in new patterns of settlement and land use that influenced the political and economic development of the United States.