In the years 1803-1805 President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase and look for the most direct route to the Pacific Ocean. He directed them to keep journals describing the plants and animals they discovered, to map the way and to contact the Indian tribes along the way working out peaceful trade relations. It took discipline, team work and a variety of talents to make this a successful journey. The bicentennial was celerated in 2003.
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Find a map of the Louisiana Purchase in a history book or on the web. Find a map of the Lewis and Clark trail. Put a map of today’s United States next to them. What modern states are inside the Louisiana Purchase? What modern states would you travel thru if your family followed along with Lewis and Clark?
Capt. Lewis brought along Seaman, his large black Newfoundland dog. Seaman served not only as companion, but like all the members of the corps he had many important jobs, hunter, watch dog, early warning system. He even saved the entire camp once. To learn more about Seaman or the Newfoundland breed of dog explore www.lewisandclarktrail.com/seaman or www. montanaphotos.com/corps_of_discover/seaman and try one or more of these activities: • Experience the journey through Seaman’s eyes, read or have someone read to you, one of the following: • Lewis & Clark & Me, A Dog’s Tale by Laurie Myers, Henry Holt & Company 2002 (this is a good book because it has each of Seaman’s adventures separated into tales and links to the Lewis and Clark journal entries) • The Saga of Seaman, the Story of the Dog Who Went with Lewis and Clark, Everett C. Albers, Northernlights ND Press, 2002 (this presents Seaman’s adventures in poems and links to the journals, it is yet another way to read about him.) • Seaman-The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark by Gail Langer Karwosk, PeachTree Publishing (this is a story of the whole journey “through” Seaman’s eyes, better for older readers or listeners 2-3rd grade) • The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith, Gulliver Books(also a story of the whole journey through Seaman’s eyes, just told in a little different manner. Good listening for all) • The Dog who Helped Explore America by R.W. Gustafson (this one is good for the young reader (grade 1) • Learn more about the breed of Newfoundland dogs. What special thing do they do? What is so special about their hair and paws that make them perfect to do their job? Draw a picture of a Newfoundland dog or what you think Seaman looked like. How tall was he? How much did he weigh? How many of the Brownies in your troop would it take to weight as much as Seaman?
All that we know about the expedition and the discoveries made came from daily journals kept by Lewis and Clark and their Sergeants. They wrote down what they did and saw, what they discovered, wrote about the weather and land and especially about the new plants and animals they discovered. They also drew pictures of things they saw too! In fact President Jefferson felt that these observations were so important that he directed them to make duplicates of their journals and to store them separately in special oiled cloth to preserve them and keep them safe from accidental loss. • Try keeping a journal of what you did and saw each day for a week, talk especially about the weather, how you feel, any new things you see as you observe the world around closer than before. • Take a walk with your family or troop in a part of your town you have not visited before, or in the country or forest. Write down what you see. Draw pictures of new plants or animals or types of homes or buildings you see. Describe the terrain you are hiking in (fl at, hilly, mostly trees, mostly grass etc.) what sort of animals did you see? Are there streams running thru it? Are they big or small? Are they running fast or just sort of sitting there (like a lake or pond?) What color is the water? What is the weather like? How does this new environment make you feel? Happy? Scared? Safe? Adventuresome?
To be successful, the Corps needed men with many talents and the ability to talk and work among themselves as well as talk with the new peoples they were to meet. A man needed to be able to do his main job and step in to help another if need be. Some of the men knew English, French, Omaha, Hidatsa, Mandan or Plains Indian sign language. • When the Captains were in council with the Indian Chiefs often the speeches and questions had to be translated multiple times. For example, when the Corps fi nally got to the plains and needed horses from the Shoshone, Sacajawea would translate from Shoshone to Hidatsa for Charbonneau, who would translate to French for one of the Corps soldiers, who translated to English for the Captains. See how difficult it is to pass on a message even when you speak the same language by playing the telephone game: • With the help of an adult, make up two fairly long or complicated sentences or questions and write them down or memorize them. • Break into two teams. The first person in each team whispers their sentence or question to the second person. The second person must try to remember it exactly (without writing it down) and tell it to the third and so on until it has gone all the way down to the last person. • The last person then repeats the line. See how close they are to having it exactly right! Just imagine how hard it must have been when the Corps members not only had to remember what was said, but try and translate it into a different language! The translators had to really listen closely. OR Try This: (Check out “A Winter Count” on page 4) • The Yankton Sioux communicated important events of the year from a child’s birth to the death of a great chief, from the first green grass to the winter snows. These were recorded on “Winter Counts”, histories painted on tanned buffalo hides. Symbols of events showed highlights of the past year. • Make a “winter count” of your own, tell the story of your year in symbols. • You will need some paints or crayons, some brown craft paper or a brown paper bag. • With the help of an adult, cut the paper or bag roughly into the shape of a buffalo hide. • Draw or paint your “winter count” using 12 pictures. Each representing an event that happened during one month of your year. Important events on some winter counts were meteor showers shown by a small star with a long tail or the capture of horses using lots of hoofprints. Did you move during the year? You could draw a symbol for a moving van Or go camping with your troop? Or go to Girl Scout resident summer camp for the fi rst time? You could draw a cabin or tent.. Or make a new friend? You could draw two people shaking hands. Or maybe you saw a lightning storm for the fi rst time. • Share the story with your troop. OR • Many tribes told their stories with paintings or carvings on rocks. These drawings are called pictographs and the carvings petroglyphs. There are some very good examples in the Columbia River Gorge. Learn about pictographs and petroglyphs in the pacifi c northwest. Invent some symbols for your self and draw a story or life event in fi gures, share your story or event with others. • You will need some fl at, rounded stones with a surface big enough to draw on and some marking pens. (River rock is very good for this sort of work) • Remember, be a responsible citizen and don’t draw on rock walls or fences. • If you would like a bigger canvas get some washable street chalk, get permission from an adult and make your drawings in your driveway, or if it is safe to do so and you have adult supervision, in your cul-de-sac. But remember to wash it away when you are done. • Or you can put paper up on a wall or fence and use crayon NOT felt pen, because felt pen bleeds thru the paper into the wall or fence.
Lewis and Clark created their maps using a technique called dead reconing. They used their compass to note direction of travel and estimated the distance by taking readings of stars that night. • Learn what the cardinal points of a compass are. • Draw a compass rose. • Then play the game “Captain Clark Says: A Game Using Directions” • This can be played indoors or for maximum effect, fi nd an open place like school play yard or an open fi eld in a park or a meadow. • As a troop determine where the cardinal points are in your “playing fi eld” and pick a land mark for each cardinal point (a fence post, or maybe that yellow house, or that tree snag or if inside the blackboard or the wall clock etc.). Hint, to give the girls a feel for the relative directions pick a landmark, have them face it and “name” it North. Have the girls face “north” with their arms outstretched. Explain that whenever they face north their left hands will always point west, their right hands will point east and their backs will be to the south. • Memorize or write down these points. • Pick a captain. Have the captain say for example, “Captain Clark says take four steps West.” • If the girls remember the landmarks, they should be heading in the correct direction. • Have the girls take turns being Captain Clark • Choose new landmarks once in a while. • Once they have the feel for the game a variance might be to have each fi gure out a path using a number of instructions. • Have the girls stand in circle and pass their written instructions to the left three times. • Have all the girls sit down. • Allow four girls at a time to stand and go to the starting point and read each step of their direction sheet to fi nd their destination. • Repeat this until all the girls have had a chance to follow their instructions. • There are a lot of ways to use this game, think of some for yourself and have fun discovering navigation via landmarks.
Trade items and gifts for the many tribes which were meet along the way were very important to the expedition. Especially prized were the colorful trading beads. Create your own trading beads from paper mache or another material. Trade them amongst yourselves or invite other Brownie troops in your area to make beads as well and take them to a Neighborhood Lewis and Clark day or your Neighborhood campout and trade them. You could also put scenes or symbols from your “Winters Count” story or your petroglyphs if you did those activities.
Interview a Ranger or reenactor. Find out what they do in their job and what training they needed for their position