Guest Author - Alissa Moy
The study of explorers is typically done between grades three and five, but any age child will enjoy learning about these adventurers. This unit will focus on the American explorers Lewis and Clark, but all explorers are great for study. Decide ahead of time how you will execute this unit study, perhaps using a lapbook, notebook or a folder for information keeping. Compile your books, materials and ideas in advance, too, so you will be ready to go.
There are many wonderful books to use for this study. "How we Crossed the West:The Adventures of Lewis and Clark" is a fantastic resource. Comprehensive and interesting to read, this books covers historical background of this famous duo, as well as challenges they faced. Pair this book up with the dvd titled "National Geographic - Lewis & Clark - Great Journey West" for added study. Visual learners will appreciate the dvd for it's realistic portrayal and historical reenactments. "Lewis and Clark on the Trail of Discovery: An Interactive History with Removable Artifacts (Museum in a Book)" is a super, hands on book. Your homeschooler will get to not only read and learn about these two adventurers, but also touch and view hand drawn maps, sketches and more. The "artifacts" are actually quite realistic looking and varied in type.
As Sacajawea was an important figure in Lewis and Clark's life, it would be remiss to not include her in this study. A great, simple book about her is
"Who Was Sacagawea?" by Judith Bloom Fradin. For older students there is an interesting biography titled "The Story of Sacajawea: Guide to Lewis and Clark" (Dell Yearling Biography) There is also a family friendly dvd titled
"Sacagawea - Heroine of the Lewis and Clark Journey". This film is geared specifically for school age children, so there should be no concern over inappropriate information.
Utilize writing activities with your homeschooler for this study. Here are several writing prompts based on this study:
-Who do you think made the biggest impact on Sacajawea? Why?
-What adjectives might you use to describe Sacajawea? Create a word web.
-Put yourself in the place of Lewis, Clark or Sacajawea. What supplies and food would you bring on your journey? Why?
-Were both Lewis and Clark equally brave and effective explorers? Were either of them more heroic? Explain your answer.
Younger children might enjoy creating pictures in lieu of writing. Another option for any student is to create a story panel of events that Lewis and Clark experienced. Short sentences and pictures will create an easy summary that is sequential, too.
To add drama and the arts, create historical skits based on Lewis and Clark's adventures. Put on the finished product for family and homeschool friends, or film it for your portfolio. Finding fun and adventure alongside explorers is always exciting!