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Uncovering Animals

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Summary

Students will explain the reason why Lewis and Clark recorded many unfamiliar species of animals in their journals during their expedition. Students will locate information, construct a scientific diagram, and compose a journal entry based on an animal encountered by Lewis and Clark.

Coin Type(s)

  • Nickel

Coin Program(s)

  • Westward Journey Nickel Series

Objectives

  • Students will explain the reason why Lewis and Clark recorded many unfamiliar species of animals in their journals during their expedition.
  • Students will locate information, construct a scientific diagram, and compose a journal entry based on an animal encountered by Lewis and Clark.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Grades

  • Second grade

Class Time

Sessions: Four
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 121-150 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Circulating coins
  • Explorers
  • Plants and animals

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (heads)
  • Reverse (tails)
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Louisiana Purchase
  • Corps of Discovery
  • Exploration
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Keelboat Nickel
  • Observations
  • Diagram
  • Journal

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • “Louisiana Territory” map from the Resource Guide
    • Keelboat Nickel reverse from the Resource Guide
    • “Animal Journal” page
  • 1 overhead marker (optional)
  • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that provides basic information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, such as:
    • On the Trail of Lewis and Clark by Peter Lourie
    • The Great Expedition of Lewis and Clark by Judith Edwards
    • How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark by Rosalyn Schanzer
    • A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David Adler
    • Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President by Shirley Ray Redmond
  • Copies of each of the following:
    • Keelboat Nickel reverse from the Resource Guide
    • “Animal Discoveries” list
    • “Animal Journal” page
  • Multiple copies of age-appropriate texts that provide basic information about the animals studied on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, such as:
    • Animals on the Trail with Lewis and Clark by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
    • Lewis and Clark Journey: Animal ABC Book by Everett C. Albers
    • Going Along with Lewis and Clark by Barbara Fifer
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • 1 picture of a prairie dog (optional)
  • A reserved computer lab with Internet access
  • Copies of appropriate print resources that provide accurate information about the animals found on Lewis and Clark’s journey, such as encyclopedias, reference books, magazines, and the Lewis and Clark journals.
  • 1 stapler

Preparations

  • Make one overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • “Louisiana Territory” map from the Resource Guide.
    • Keelboat Nickel reverse from the Resource Guide.
    • “Animal Journal” page.
  • Locate an appropriate text that provides basic information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Make copies of each of the following:
    • Keelboat Nickel reverse from the Resource Guide (1 per student).
    • “Animal Discoveries” list.
    • “Animal Journal” page (1 per student).
  • Locate multiple copies of appropriate texts that provide basic information about the animals studied on the Lewis and Clark Expedition(see examples under “Materials”).
  • Locate a picture of a prairie dog (optional).
  • Arrange to use the school computer lab for three class sessions.
  • Bookmark appropriate Internet sites.
  • Locate copies of appropriate print resources that provide accurate information about the animals found on Lewis and Clark’s journey, such as encyclopedias, reference books, magazines, and the Lewis and Clark journals.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/168.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Display the overhead transparency of the “Louisiana Territory” map. Explain that our country was not always the same shape that it is today. Show the students the area of the country that existed before the Louisiana Purchase.
  2. Explain to the students that, when our country was very young, President Jefferson bought some new land for our country. He then sent a team of explorers, led by two men named Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, to explore this new land. On the map, show the students the area that Lewis and Clark explored. Note the territory’s position in relation to your school’s location.
  3. Engage the students in a discussion about the meaning of the term “explorer,” directing them to realize that an explorer is a person who goes to a new place to find new things. Have students brainstorm a list of other explorers with whom they may be familiar, such as Christopher Columbus.
  4. On the map, follow Lewis and Clark’s route with your finger or an overhead marker, and point out that the explorers traveled over both land and water. Ask students to guess what modes of transportation Lewis and Clark may have used along their journey.
  5. Explain that one of President Thomas Jefferson’s reasons for sending Lewis and Clark on this adventure was for them to find a passage to the Pacific Ocean from the eastern states. Another important mission for this journey was to record information about the plants, animals, and people that they came across in this uncharted area of our country.
  6. Explain that, starting in 2004 and continuing through 2005, our country is changing its nickels to tell the story of Lewis and Clark and their exploration of our western lands 200 years ago. Display the Keelboat Nickel overhead transparency.
  7. Explain that the boat portrayed on the nickel is a keelboat and was one of the means of transportation Lewis and Clark used on their journey. Have students discuss how the keelboat might have helped Lewis and Clark in their mission to observe and record information about animals.
  8. Introduce students to the selected text. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate predictions about what is occurring in different parts of the book.
  9. Read the story aloud to the class. Ask students to take note of the key individuals and events as well as how the explorers recorded their journey, particularly their encounters with animals.
  10. Lead a class discussion on the importance of the journals that Lewis and Clark kept during their expedition, particularly their documentation of animals.
  11. Distribute a copy of the Keelboat Nickel reverse to each student. Direct them to draw a speech bubble for Lewis and one for Clark. Direct thestudents to write something inside each bubble that the men might have said about the animals that they observed during their journey.

Session 2

  1. Review the speech bubbles from the previous session. As you discuss the speech bubbles, discuss what led the student to write their individual comments. Ask the students to explain why observing animals would have been an important aspect of Lewis and Clark’s expedition.
  2. Divide the students into pairs or small groups and give each group at least one book that provides basic information about the animals studied on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
  3. Direct students to look through the books to find and record a list of animals that the explorers had never seen before their journey.
  4. Regroup and discuss as a class the animals that were found, recording each response on chart paper. Label this list “New Animals.”
  5. After listing the students’ findings, add some additional animals to the list, using the “Animal Discoveries” list for reference.
  6. Lead a class discussion on how Lewis and Clark must have felt upon seeing these animals they had never seen before. Discuss what Lewis and Clark might have wanted to know about these animals. Guide students to respond that Lewis and Clark probably wanted to make observations about the height, weight, color, and characteristics of each plant or animal, how it was used by the American Indians, and the type of environment in which each lived. Record all responses on chart paper and label this list “Observations.”
  7. Ask the students to discuss how Lewis and Clark might have recorded their observations. Guide students to respond that the explorers created detailed drawings and wrote thorough descriptions of the plants and animals they encountered in their journals. In addition, samples of plants and animals were collected and brought back to Thomas Jefferson. Record all responses on chart paper and label this list “Methods of Observation.”
  8. Explain to the students that, while Lewis and Clark were not the first to discover these animals for the first time (since the American Indians had been there before the them), the journals, which contained pictures and descriptions of many animals, were still very important to the explorers. The people back East had never seen many of these species of animal before and the only way to learn about them was through the descriptions and illustrations in Lewis and Clark’s journals.
  9. As an example of the importance of the journals, relate the following story. At one point while traveling the upper Missouri river, one of the boats nearly tipped over. Several important scientific instruments and the journals fell out of the boat. While the crew paddled desperately to the shore to save the boat, Sacagawea retrieved the journals and instruments from the strong waters of the Missouri river.
  10. As a hook for student research, relay the following story. Ask students if they have ever heard of or seen a prairie dog. If necessary, show a picture of the animal. Explain that Lewis and Clark wanted to learn more about this animal because they had never seen it before their journey. In order to get close to the prairie dogs, who burrow in the ground, Lewis and Clark tried to flush them out of their burrows by pouring water down into the holes. It took a lot of water because the holes were deep, but finally, one came out and Lewis and Clark were able to catch it in order to observe it. In the journals, they made notes about the prairie dogs’ ears, tail, toenails, and fur, and the noises it made.
  11. Explain that the students will be creating their own animal journals independently based on the animals that Lewis and Clark studied during their expedition.
  12. Display the “Animal Journal” overhead transparency as a template. Using the example of a prairie dog, model the researching and writing of a description and the drawing of a diagram. Write the description as if it were the first time you had ever seen this animal, and as if you were describing the animal to people who had never seen the animal either. Also, be sure to compare the prairie dog to other more familiar animals, as Lewis and Clark did in their journals.
  13. Ask each student to select one of the animals that Lewis and Clark observed from the “Animal Discoveries” list.
  14. Distribute an “Animal Journal” sheet to each student as a template for their research and explain that students will research their selected animal during the next session.

Session 3

  1. Visit the computer lab with your students or provide significant print resources such as books, magazines, encyclopedias, and the Lewis and Clark journals, to facilitate their research.
  2. Allow students an appropriate amount of time to find information on their selected animals. As students find information, direct them to record it on the back of their journal page or on a separate sheet of paper.

Session 4

  1. Have students review their research on the back of their “Animal Journal” pages and circle the five most important facts that they learned about their selected animal. Direct the students to write a journal entry based on their independent research as if they were Lewis or Clark, seeing this animal for the first time. They should carefully describe their animal and incorporate the five facts from their research. Instruct students to include a detailed illustration of the animal.
  2. After completing the journal entries, give the students time to share their writing and diagrams with the whole class.
  3. Have students staple together their Keelboat Nickel page with speech bubbles from the first session and their journal entries and turn them in for assessment.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to dictate journal entries.
  • Students may write journal entries or conduct research with a partner.
  • Provide books about Lewis and Clark on a variety of levels.
  • Display pictures with labels of all the key elements of the lesson (such as Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, keelboat, and nickel).

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Individually or in pairs, have students research other flora and fauna discovered by Lewis and Clark.
  • Have students research and review first-person accounts of the expedition, including journals and specimens collected.
  • Keep theme-related books about Lewis and Clark and the Louisiana Purchase in the classroom library so that children can read them at their leisure.
  • Evaluate the journal entries, diagrams, and speech bubbles for understanding of the researched animal and Lewis and Clark’s perspective.
  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ abilities to discuss the importance of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the meaning of the images on the Keelboat Nickel, and Lewis and Clark’s discovery and recording of new fauna.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.2 Language
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.2.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use collective nouns (e.g., group).
    • Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g., feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).
    • Use reflexive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves)
    • Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told).
    • Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
  • L.2.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names.
    • Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.
    • Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.
    • Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage --> badge; boy --> boil).
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.2.1. Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RI.2.2. Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
  • RI.2.3. Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.2.7. Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • RI.2.8. Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
  • RI.2.9. Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.2.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
  • RI.2.5. Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
  • RI.2.6. Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.2.7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
  • W.2.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • W.2.9. begins in grade 4.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.2.4. begins in grade 3.
  • W.2.5. With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
  • W.2.6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Using Technological Information
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Science, Technology, and Society
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • enable learners to identify, describe, and examine both current and historical examples of the interaction and interdependence of science, technology, and society in a variety of cultural settings
  • provide opportunities for learners to make judgments about how science and technology have transformed the physical world and human society and our understanding of time, space, place, and human-environment interactions
  • have learners analyze the way in which science and technology influence core societal values, beliefs, and attitudes and how societal attitudes influence scientific and technological endeavors
  • prompt learners to evaluate various policies proposed to deal with social changes resulting from new technologies
  • help learners to identify and interpret various perspectives about human societies and the physical world using scientific knowledge, technologies, and an understanding of ethical standards of this and other cultures
  • encourage learners to formulate strategies and develop policy proposals pertaining to science/technology-society issues

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Time, Continuity, and Change
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • assist learners to understand that historical knowledge and the concept of time are socially influenced constructions that lead historians to be selective in the questions they seek to answer and the evidence they use
  • help learners apply key concepts such as time, chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity
  • enable learners to identify and describe significant historical periods and patterns of change within and across cultures, including but not limited to, the development of ancient cultures and civilizations, the emergence of religious belief systems, the rise of nation-states, and social, economic, and political revolutions
  • guide learners in using such processes of critical historical inquiry to reconstruct and interpret the past, such as using a variety of sources and checking their credibility, validating and weighing evidence for claims, searching for causality, and distinguishing between events and developments that are significant and those that are inconsequential
  • provide learners with opportunities to investigate, interpret, and analyze multiple historical and contemporary viewpoints within and across cultures related to important events, recurring dilemmas, and persistent issues, while employing empathy, skepticism, and critical judgment; and enable learners to apply ideas, theories, and modes of historical inquiry to analyze historical and contemporary developments, and to inform and evaluate actions concerning public policy issues.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Use of Spoken, Written, and Visual Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Research
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience. 

Discipline: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Physical Science
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Properties of objects and materials
  • Position and motion of objects
  • Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism

Discipline: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Life Science
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Characteristics of organisms
  • Life cycles of organisms
  • Organisms and environments

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Print/Non-print Texts
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Strategies to Writing
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Discipline: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Science as Inquiry
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Ability necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understand scientific inquiry

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • Enable learners to use, interpret, and distinguish various representations of Earth such as maps, globes, and photographs, and to use appropriate geographic tools
  • Encourage learners to construct, use, and refine maps and mental maps, calculate distance, scale, area, and density, and organize information about people, places, regions, and environments in a spatial context
  • Help learners to locate, distinguish, and describe the relationships among varying regional and global patterns of physical systems such as landforms, climate, and natural resources, and explain changes in the physical systems
  • Guide learners in exploring characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • Have learners describe how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, current values and ideals, and government policies
  • Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative
  • Challenge learners to consider, compare, and evaluate existing uses of resources and land in communities, regions, countries, and the world
  • Direct learners to explore ways in which Earth’s physical features have changed over time, and describe and assess ways historical events have influenced and been influenced by physical and human geographic features