Visitors From the East (8.5)


Native American Culture Curriculum Unit 8.5


Task Author: Bob Valiant
Task Title: Visitors From the East
Grade Level: 6-8 Activity # 8.5
History Grade 8 benchmark

Brief Overview of Task:
Students will use the PBS Lewis and Clark video as well as online, print, and other resources to develop a graphic display of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with an account of tribes encountered, geography, plants, animals, and weather. Wherever possible, they will present events both from the point of view of the explorers and of the Native Americans they meet along the way. The product will be a graphic display of the events of the journey. Each student will identify a one-month portion of the trip and will write a narrative of the journey from the perspective of either one of the explorers or of one of the Native Americans they meet.

Targeted Benchmark:
Represent and interpret data and chronological relationships from history using time lines and narratives.
Identify and create chronologies of events.


Recommended Prerequisite Student Knowledge and Skills:
Map skills
Internet research skills
Library research skills
Writing skills
Materials Needed:
Materials Generally Available:
White butcher paper for timeline
Art paper, markers, crayons, glue, etc.
Internet access
Special Items: (Teacher must provide)
PBS Lewis and Clark video
Large U.S. map

Citation and Helpful Resources: (i.e. books, web sites, etc.)
History: Lewis and Clark
Do a “Google Search” on “Lewis and Clark”

Recommended Classroom Time: (in hours)
8-12 hours

Detailed Description of Task for Teachers:
1. The teacher introduces the unit with a class discussion of the upcoming 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Students are asked to describe what they know about the trip and comments are listed on the board or chart paper. As student input lags, the teacher may ask questions to get items for “who, what, when, where, why” categories. The class is informed that they will be watching a video about the expedition and then are asked to generate questions they would like to have answered about the expedition. These are gathered by the teacher and, along with the teacher’s questions, are developed into a data collection form which is reproduced and given to each student.
2. A large U.S. map is displayed. Students will follow the trail of the explorers while they watch the video. Post-it notes with the date and pertinent information can be stuck to the map as the video progresses.
3. Show the video with frequent breaks for discussion and clarification. The sticky notes pertaining to Native American groups encountered, geography, plants, animals, weather, etc. can be developed and posted.
4. Following the showing (more than one class period) students are introduced to the concept of the timeline. A long sheet of butcher paper is attached to the wall. Using the data from the map, art-work, graphics, and narrative may be added at appropriate dates.
5. The class will research further details of the trip on the Internet, in the library, etc. The teacher will need to decide how to group the students. For example they might be grouped by time periods, groups of people, etc. Students will spend 3-5 class periods (+ homework) on this activity. As information is collected it is added to the time line.
6. When the time line is completed each student is assigned a one-month time period. They are instructed to write a narrative of that part of the journey from the point of view of one of the expedition members or from that of a Native American.


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