Students watch a video about the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and learn about their time spent in North Dakota. Students describe the importance of Lewis and Clark's 213 days in North Dakota.
This lesson is part of "Great States: North Dakota | Unit 4: Early Exploration" - an examination of the factors that drew people to explore North Dakota and how these early visitors impacted American Indians.
4.2.8: Explain the significance of the Lewis and Clark expeditions (e.g., Corps of Discovery, Sacagawea) in North Dakota history
- Video: Lewis and Clark Minutes | Interpretive Center
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project videos to the class
- Class set of Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center handout
- Explain to students that in 1804, Thomas Jefferson ordered a team to explore the newly-acquired land of the United States: the Louisiana Purchase. The Corps of Discovery, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, spent 213 days in North Dakota during their journey to the Pacific Ocean and back.
- Provide students with the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center handout. Have students fold the paper in half to hide the questions portion of the handout.
- Tell students they will be watching a short video about the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which commemorates the time Lewis and Clark spent in North Dakota. Instruct students that they should take notes on important facts that will support their writing about the significance of Lewis and Clark’s expedition in North Dakota.
- Play the video, Lewis and Clark Minutes | Interpretive Center [1:46].
- Have students answer the questions on the bottom of the handout.
- Explain the impact of Sakakawea’s help. She was an interpreter for the Corps because she spoke Shoshone. She was a guide for the travels up the Missouri River. She acted as a peacekeeper, because without her company, the American Indians could have read the expedition’s crew as a war group. Her brother was the chief of the Shoshone, so they were more open to trade and to aide the journey.
- North Dakota and its Mandan people were the last known point; everything west was a mystery. [0:25]
- While in North Dakota, the expedition got the chance to study, prepare, and have time to establish good relations with the American Indians. [0:35]
- She offered a peaceful presence. Other American Indians that they encountered did not see the group as hostile since they had an American Indian woman and baby with them. [0:58]
- Lewis and Clark studied and learned from the Mandan people about local American Indian tribes and what the expedition might find as they continued their trip west. [0:35]