- Westward Journey Nickels
- Students will examine the significance of the Louisiana Purchase and the journey of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery.
- They will demonstrate familiarity with and understanding of the features of the Keelboat Nickel reverse.
- Students will exhibit understanding of sequential order in relation to events that occurred on the journey of Lewis and Clark.
Major Subject Area Connections
- Social Studies
- Language Arts
Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections
- 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:
- The term "sequence"
- The term "explorer"
Terms and Concepts
- Images of Lewis and Clark
- 1 overhead projector
- 1 overhead transparency of the "Louisiana Territory" map from the Resource Guide
- 1 overhead transparency of the Keelboat Nickel reverse from the Resource Guide
- 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that provides basic historical 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
- Chart paper
- Digital camera (optional)
- Copies of the "Order Up" worksheet
- Markers, crayons, and pencils
- Gather images of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
- Make an overhead transparency of the "Louisiana Territory" map from the Resource Guide.
- Make an overhead transparency of the Keelboat Nickel reverse from the Resource Guide.
- Locate an appropriate text that provides basic historical information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition (see examples under "Materials").
- Make copies of the "Order Up" worksheet (1 per student).
Worksheets and files (PDF)
- Display an image of the explorers Lewis and Clark and explain that these men are very important to our country's history. Ask the students to brainstorm ideas as to what they think these men may have done. Explain to the class that these men were explorers and were named Merriwether Lewis and William Clark.
- Engage the students in a discussion about "explorers" and the meaning of this term, directing them to realize that an explorer is a person who goes to a new place to find new things. Have students brainstorm the names of other explorers with whom they may be familiar, such as Christopher Columbus.
- Display the overhead transparency of the "Louisiana Territory" map and show the students the area which Lewis and Clark explored. Note its position in relation to your school's location. Explain that this territory was explored a long time ago.
- Explain to students that Lewis and Clark traveled over land and water. Ask students to guess what modes of transportation they think Lewis and Clark used on their journey and direct students to include boats in their responses.
- Display the overhead transparency of the Keelboat Nickel reverse and introduce the students to the Westward Journey Nickel Series™. Explain to the students that the explorers needed boats to explore this new territory, including the boat portrayed on the nickel reverse.
- Introduce the term "sequence." Explain to students that "sequence" means the order in which things happen. As an example, have students discuss the order in which they get ready for school in the morning.
- 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. Before reading the text, ask students to pay attention to the order in which key events happened to Lewis and Clark during their journey.
- Read the selected text aloud. During the reading, discuss the sequence of events in the text. Attend to unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts.
- After reading the story, ask the students to recall the main events in the story. Record all responses on chart paper (titled "Main Events") and add a simple sketch next to each event to help non-readers remember these events. In this discussion, guide the students to mention the events listed on the "Order Up" worksheet (which they will complete during the next session) in their responses.
- Display the overhead transparency of the Keelboat Nickel reverse. Ask students to discuss what is going on in the nickel's image.
- Have students discuss what parts of the story from the previous session they remember when looking at the coin.
- Select a small group of student volunteers to create a freeze frame based on the nickel reverse design. Instruct students to assemble themselves into a picture that looks similar to the one they see on the nickel. Have them freeze in their positions. When you say "Action!" have students act out what they think is happening in the scene portrayed on the nickel. Movements should connect this coin to the story read in the previous session.
- Discuss the five main events of Lewis and Clark's journey (taken from the "Order Up" worksheet) recorded in the previous session. Assemble students into small groups and assign each group one main event.
- Explain to students that each group will create a freeze frame, like the one modeled at the beginning of class. Each student in the group should participate in recreating their assigned event. Students should practice freezing in their positions until the teacher says "Action!" When students hear this, they can begin acting out what happened during the event.
- Allow groups an appropriate amount of time to create their freeze frames and skits.
- Direct groups to present their freeze frames and skits in sequential order. Instruct students to pay careful attention to the order in which the events happen. If possible, take digital pictures of each group's freeze frame and add them to the corresponding events on the "Main Events" chart from the previous session.
- Display the "Main Events" list from the first session.
- Ask students to recall the definition of "sequence." Refer to the example of the order in which students get ready for school in the morning, if necessary.
- Distribute a copy of the "Order Up" worksheet and a piece of construction paper to each student. Read the instructions and the text in each box aloud for the students.
- Direct the students to draw an illustration for each event, using the digital pictures and "Main Events" list as a guide.
- Have the students cut all of the boxes out. Direct the students to identify the illustration that represents the first event that happened along Lewis and Clark's journey, and to glue this box on the far left side of their construction paper.
- Have students identify the next event that took place on the journey. Direct students to add the corresponding box to their construction paper to the right of the previous event. Repeat this until all five events are in sequential order on the students' construction paper.
- Direct the students to design a new nickel reverse based on their favorite event from Lewis and Clark's journey and illustrate it on the back of their timeline.
Differentiated Learning Options
- Allow students to act out the story of Lewis and Clark and present it to the class. They may choose to use their timelines as their guide or act out some of the other events that occurred in the story. These may also be recorded and shared with other classes as well.
- Provide illustrations for the "Order Up" worksheet for struggling students.
- Add boxes to or remove them from the "Order Up" worksheet to create different levels of difficulty.
- Allow students to work with partners to complete the timeline sequencing activity.
- As a class, create a larger illustrated timeline on butcher paper and add some of the other events that occurred that were not listed on the "Order Up" worksheet.
- Keep theme-related books about Lewis and Clark and the Louisiana Purchase in the class library so that students may read them at their leisure.
- Have students add embellishments (vocally or in writing) to the drawings, explaining parts of the story aloud.
- Assemble the student coin designs into a scrapbook or create a slide show using computer presentation software.
- Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions, their ability to follow directions, and their creation of an appropriate freeze frame and skit relating to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- Evaluate the pictures and their sequential order upon completion by the students.
Common Core Standards
This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.
Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: K-4 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Grade(s): Grades K–4
- Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines
- Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum