Students watch a video and identify on a map the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. Students discuss what factors made this area a good location for trading posts.
This lesson is part of Great States | North Dakota Unit 2: Geography & Climate, an exploration of how physical geography impacts human life and how human life impacts physical geography.
4.2.8: Explain the significance of the Lewis and Clark expeditions (e.g., Corps of Discovery, Sacagawea) in North Dakota history
4.5.4: Explain how the physical environment (e.g., rainfall, climate, natural hazards) affects human activity in North Dakota
4.5.6: Describe ways geography has affected the development (e.g., the development of transportation, communication, industry, and land use) of the state over time
- Video: Lewis and Clark's North Dakota: Jefferson's Vision
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other screen to show videos to class
- Class set of Lewis and Clark’s North Dakota handout
- Provide students with the Lewis and Clark’s North Dakota handout. Tell students that they will be watching a short video about Captain Lewis’ observations in North Dakota.
- Remind students to take notes on the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers and what makes this area good for a trading post. They can use the back of the handout for notes.
- Play the video, Lewis and Clark's North Dakota: Jefferson's Vision up until 1:30.
- Have students complete the prompts on the handout.
- After giving the students several minutes to answer the questions, discuss as a class the various geographic factors that made this a great trading post location.
- Lewis and Clark noted the benefits of North Dakota’s geography and identified ideal places for trade posts and cities. They picked the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, which later became the site of Fort Buford.
- Easy river access to transport goods and people. Raw materials & natural resources (water, trees, bison). Good location to trade with both American Indians and French fur traders