- Westward Journey Nickels
- Students will classify plants and animals based on their characteristics using examples from the westward journey of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of certain historical figures in United States history.
Major Subject Area Connections
- Social Studies
- Language Arts
- Sessions: Three
- Session Length: 20-30 minutes
- Total Length: 46-90 minutes
- Whole group
- Small groups
- Individual work
Students should have a basic knowledge of:
Terms and Concepts
- Obverse (front)
- Thomas Jefferson
- Reverse (back)
- Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery
- American Indians
- Louisiana Purchase
- Copies of the worksheets attached to this lesson plan (see "Preparations")
- Copy of the Westward Journey Nickel Series™ Lesson Plan Resource Guide (available at www.usmint.gov/kids)
- 1 overhead projector
- Blank overhead transparencies
- Images of Lewis and Clark
- Images of Monticello
- 1 copy of a text that provides basic information about Lewis and Clark (see "Preparations")
- Chart paper
- Images of plants and animals from examples listed on the "Look What We Found" worksheet
- Make copies of the following:
- "Lewis and Clark on The Trail" worksheet (from the Resource Guide) (1 per student)
- "Westward Journey Nickel Series" (from the Resource Guide)
- "Trail Plants and Animals" teacher resource sheets (2 sheets, 1 set per two students)
- "US Plants and Animals" teacher resource sheets (3 sheets, 1 set per 18 students)
- "Look What I Found" worksheet (1 per student)
- Make overhead transparencies of the following:
- "Journey of Lewis and Clark Map" (from the Resource Guide)
- "Westward Journey Nickel Series™ Reverse" (from the Resource Guide)
- "Return to Monticello Nickel Reverse" (from the Resource Guide)
- "Return to Monticello Nickel Obverse" (from the Resource Guide)
- Gather images of Lewis and Clark.
- Locate copies of a text that gives basic information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, such as:
- Lewis and Clark: Discover the Life Of An Explorer by Trish Kline
- Lewis and Clark: Explorers of the American West by Steven Kroll
- A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David Adler
- Going Along with Lewis and Clark by Barbara Fifer
Worksheets and files (PDF)
- Display an image of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and explain that these menare important to our country's history. Ask the students to brainstorm ideas about what these men may have done. Explain to the class that these men led a group of explorers that called themselves the Corps of Discovery. They explored an area called Louisiana, which had recently been acquired by the United States.
- Engage the students in a discussion about the meaning of the term "explorers," directing them to realize that an explorer is a person who goes to a new place to find new things. Have the students brainstorm the names of other explorers with whom they may be familiar, such as Christopher Columbus.
- Display the "Return to Monticello Nickel Obverse" overhead transparency. Explain to the students that the man in the image is President Thomas Jefferson. He was the president at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and he was the man who sent the Corps of Discovery on their journey.
- Display the "Journey of Lewis and Clark Map" overhead transparency and show the students the area that Lewis and Clark explored. Note the area's position in relation to your school's location. Explain that the area was explored a long time ago. Inform the students that Lewis and Clark were soldiers who were looking for a water route across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. Tell the students that they came across many plants and animals along the way. Lewis and Clark saw new things and recorded them in their journals, as well as collected samples to bring back to President Jefferson.
- Introduce the students to the selected text about Lewis and Clark. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate predictions about what will occur in different parts of the text. Make a chart on chart paper with two columns: "Plants" and "Animals." Before reading the text, ask the students to pay attention to the plants and animals Lewis and Clark saw during their journey so that they can be recorded on the chart.
- Read the text aloud. During the reading, discuss the various plants and animals and their environments. Record all responses on chart paper and add a graphic or simple sketch next to each item to help non-readers remember them. Attend to unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts.
- Discuss the meaning of the term "environment." Explain to the students that an environment is the area surrounding something. Environments include the conditions that affect a plant or animal's ability to live such as temperature, sunlight, rain, and terrain (landforms). Tell the students that all living things have at least one environment in which they live best. Refer to the animals and plants on the chart and brainstorm ideas regarding their environments.
- Display the "Lewis and Clark on the Trail" overhead transparency. Explain to the students that now they are about to draw an environment that they saw depicted in the story, including any plants and animals that Lewis and Clark saw there. Distribute a "Lewis and Clark on the Trail" worksheet to each student. Students may color their picture when they are finished drawing it. Allow enough time to finish this activity.
- Allow the students to share their pictures and explain why they chose the items they did.
- Review the chart from the previous session. Discuss how all the things listed on the chart are found in nature.
- Discuss the term "naturalist" with the students. A naturalist is a person who studies nature. Explain to them that Lewis and Clark were naturalists and collected many samples of plants and animals they saw during their journey. They used some of the methods that scientists use today, such as classifying and sorting.
- Discuss the term "sorting" with the students. Explain that things can be sorted according to common attributes and physical characteristics.
- Divide the students into pairs. Explain that they are going to "collect" some of the various plants and animals that Lewis and Clark collected. Refer to the chart from the previous session. Review sorting as needed.
- Explain to the students that they will be given 6 to 8 samples of Lewis and Clark's plants and animals (pictures found on the "Look What We Found" worksheet). They are to first sort their collection into two groups (plants and animals) and discuss the physical charac- teristics of plants and animals (such as having leaves or fur, have flowers, are big, are small). Then have the students choose one of the groups (plants or animals) and sort that group even further, paying close attention to how they sorted them (for example, by how they move, by their coverings, by their type of homes). Remind the students to be ready to explain why they sorted them the way they did. Explain to them that there may be more than one way to sort them, so to try various ways.
- Allow an appropriate amount of time to complete this activity, then discuss as a class some of the ways the students sorted their images. Note: Before Session 3, remember to hide the enlarged images of everyday plants andanimals around the classroom.
- Review the activity from the previous session. Display the "Westward Journey Nickel Series" overhead transparency. Explain to the students that the reverse (back) images stand for significant parts of the journey of the Corps of Discovery. Relate these to the previous discussion on Thomas Jefferson sending the Corps of Discovery out and the samples Lewis and Clark brought back.
- Display the "Return to Monticello Nickel Reverse" overhead transparency. Ask the students what they see in the image. Display your images of Monticello. Explain to them that this is Monticello, which was the home of Thomas Jefferson. Review that Thomas Jefferson sent the Corps of Discovery out and that he displayed at Monticello some of the plants and animals they found. Explain to the students that Jefferson loved botany (the study of plants). Even though Jefferson tried to keep the plants alive, many of them did not survive because the environment at Monticello was so different from the environment out west. Explain to the students that the United States is a very large country with many different environments. Tell the students that forests, deserts, oceans, tropics, and the arctic are all environments that are found in the United States.
- Explain to the students that today they will be sent on a "journey" to each collect one plant or animal that is hidden in the classroom. Once they have "discovered" one, they are to pick up a "Look What I Found" worksheet. On the worksheet, they will illustrate and list some of the characteristics that can be used to help sort their plant or animal and explain its environment. Remind them that this is similar to the activity from the previous session.
- Allow an appropriate amount of time to complete this activity.
- Once they are finished, discuss the findings as a class. Display them appropriately and ask visitors to come and visit your Discovery Museum, as Jefferson asked friends to visit Monticello and see the collection that he displayed there.
Differentiated Learning Options
- Have students work in pairs to complete each of the tasks.
- Have students sort only three or four things that Lewis and Clark found.
- Have students only sort common plants and animals.
- Have students sort five or six of the plants and animals from Session 3.
- Have students research where along the journey each of the plants and animals from Session 1 were found by Lewis and Clark.
- Take anecdotal notes about the students' ability to meet the lesson objectives.
- Use the "Look What I Found" worksheet to evaluate the students' ability to recognize the characteristics of their plant or animal.
Common Core Standards
Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.1 Language
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
- L.1.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
- Print all upper- and lowercase letters.
- Use common, proper, and possessive nouns.
- Use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences (e.g., He hops; We hop).
- Use personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns (e.g., I, me, my; they, them, their, anyone, everything).
- Use verbs to convey a sense of past, present, and future (e.g., Yesterday I walked home; Today I walk home; Tomorrow I will walk home).
- Use frequently occurring adjectives.
- Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
- Use determiners (e.g., articles, demonstratives).
- Use frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., during, beyond, toward).
- Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
- L.1.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
- Capitalize dates and names of people.
- Use end punctuation for sentences.
- Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series.
- Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words.
- Spell untaught words phonetically, drawing on phonemic awareness and spelling conventions.
Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.1 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
- RL.1.7. Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
- RL.1.8. Not applicable to literature.
- RL.1.9. Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.
Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.1 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
- RL.1.1. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
- RL.1.2. Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
- RL.1.3. Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.