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Life Along the Trail

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Summary

Students will explore the significance of the Louisiana Purchase and the journey of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. They will read to understand a new topic and will write to inform readers of the historic events that they explored.

Coin Type(s)

  • Nickel

Coin Program(s)

  • Westward Journey Nickel Series

Objectives

  • Students will explore the significance of the Louisiana Purchase and the journey of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery.
  • They will read to understand a new topic and will write to inform readers of the historic events that they explored.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Technology

Grades

  • Fourth grade

Class Time

Sessions: Five
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students will need a basic understanding of:

  • U.S. geography
  • The five Ws (who, what, where, when, and why)
  • Using the five Ws to write a newspaper article
  • Independent research

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (heads)
  • Reverse (tails)
  • President Thomas Jefferson
  • Peace Medal
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Expedition
  • Louisiana Purchase
  •  Sacagawea
  • The five Ws
  • Nickel

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel obverse from the Resource Guide
  • 1 overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel reverse from the Resource Guide
  • Peace Medal nickels (1 per student)
  • 1 overhead transparency of the Jefferson Peace Medal reverse from the Resource Guide
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Copies of “The Five Ws” chart
  • Copies of a variety of age-appropriate texts that provide basic historical information about the Lewis and Clark expedition, such as:
    • The Travels of Lewis and Clark by Lara Bergen
    • Lewis & Clark: Explorers of the Louisiana Purchase by Richard Korzar
    • How We Crossed the West by Rosalyn Schanzer
    • A Picture book of Lewis and Clark by David Adler
    • Going Along with Lewis and Clark by Barbara Fifer
  • 1 overhead transparency of “The Five Ws” chart
  • Appropriate adhesive materials
  • Rulers
  • Black pens
  • Colored pencils

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello Nickel obverse from the Resource Guide.
  • Make an overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello Nickel reverse from the Resource Guide.
  • Gather some Peace Medal nickels (1 per student).
  • Make an overhead transparency of the Jefferson Peace Medal reverse from the Resource Guide.
  • Make copies of “The Five Ws” chart (1 per student).
  • Gather several copies of each text selected for small groups to read.
  • Make an overhead transparency of “The Five Ws” chart.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/177.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Display the transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel obverse. Ask the students to examine it and tell you what they know about this picture. The students should be able to identify this as the obverse (front) of a nickel and that it depicts President Thomas Jefferson.
  2. Ask the students if they know what is on the reverse (back) of the nickel. After hearing responses, display the transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel reverse. If students do not know, explain that the building was President Jefferson’s home, called “Monticello.”
  3. Explain that our country changed its nickels in 2004 to tell the story of two men, named Lewis and Clark, who led an expedition that explored our country’s land 200 years ago.
  4. Distribute a Peace Medal nickel to each student and allow them time to thoroughly examine each side.
  5. Ask students to describe the image on the coin’s obverse. Students should realize that this is the same image as on the pre-2004 Monticello nickel obverse.
  6. Ask students to turn the nickel over and describe the images on the reverse. Ask students to make predictions about the coin’s design. Who are the individuals shaking hands and why might they be shaking hands?
  7. With the class, create a K-W-L chart to examine what students know and want to know about Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the west. Leave the learn column empty for now.
  8. Display the transparency of the Jefferson Peace Medal reverse and introduce this medal to the students as something carried by the Lewis and Clark expedition. Ask students to examine and identify the images that appear on the medal. Have they seen the symbols on these medals before? Have students add this new information and any questions it has raised to the appropriate columns of the K-W-L chart.
  9. Collect the Peace Medal nickels.
  10. Explain that the class will be conducting a “jigsaw” activity where they will be learning about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Split students evenly into small reading groups.
  11. Assign each group at least two different questions from the W column of the K-W-L chart. (They will try to answer the questions using information from the books that they will read. If students find answers to other questions in the W column, they should note these as well.)
  12. Distribute a “Five Ws” chart to each student. Explain that they will need to write down key facts as they read their books:
    • Who the key individuals were (their names).
    • What they did in terms of the journey.
    • Where they did something important for the expedition.
    • When this event occurred.
    • Why it was important to the success of the expedition.
  13. Distribute a different book about Lewis and Clark’s expedition to each reading group and direct the students to take turns reading their book aloud. After reading their book, the students in each group will discuss answers to their assigned questions and the entries that they added to their “Five Ws” chart.

Session 2

  1. Depending on the students’ progress during the previous session, allow them more time to finish their reading and discussions.
  2. Place each student in a second group that contains one member from each of the previous reading groups.
  3. In these new reading groups, direct the students to take turns sharing the events that they read about and the information that they collected while reading. The students should add any applicable new information to their personal “Five Ws” chart.
  4. Regroup and discuss as a class the information needed for the “Five Ws” chart. Display the transparency of the “Five Ws” chart and add student suggestions in order to assure that students have listed accurate information. Have the students add any new information presented to their personal charts and ask follow-up questions to check for understanding.
  5. Finally, as a class, complete the L column of the K-W-L chart.
  6. Explain that you will be using the collected information in the next session to write newspaper articles about different events that took place during Lewis and Clark’s journey.

Sessions 3 to 5

  1. Direct the student to take out their “Five Ws” charts from the previous day and reassemble in their first groups.
  2. Explain that the groups will be creating the front page of a newspaper that covers the events that took place during the Lewis and Clark expedition. Direct one student from each group to concentrate on the purpose of the Jefferson Peace Medals that Lewis and Clark brought on their journey.
  3. Explain that each student will select an event that he or she found interesting and knows a lot about. Within each group, each student will pick a different event.
  4. Explain that each student will write a news article about the event he or she selected. Direct the students to use their “Five Ws” charts, the K-W-L chart, and any other classroom resources available to help them write the first draft of their articles.
  5. Allow the students an appropriate amount of time to write and revise their drafts. If possible, allow students to use a word processor and to print their articles.
  6. Distribute a piece of chart paper, some appropriate adhesive materials, rulers, a black pen, and colored pencils to each group. Direct the students to design the front page of a newspaper that incorporates their articles and images to support the information.
  7. Once all the groups have completed their newspapers, invite them to present their work to the class, one group at a time. Each group should state what topics they wrote about and how they selected those articles.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to dictate their news articles to a classroom aide or student partner.
  • Allow struggling readers to listen to a tape recording of one of the books as they read along silently, and complete the “Five Ws” chart independently or in pairs.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Students should draw new coin designs that relate to the events that they wrote about.
  • Direct students to write an op/ed article in reaction to the story of Lewis and Clark’s travels. Suggest a variety of different perspectives for the students to consider.
  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation during the class and group discussions and their ability to work cooperatively in groups.
  • Assess the students’ comprehension and writing skills through their news articles.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.4 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.4.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • W.4.5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 4.)
  • W.4.6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.4 Language
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.4.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why).
    • Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses.
    • Use modal auxiliaries (e.g., can, may, must) to convey various conditions.
    • Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).
    • Form and use prepositional phrases.
    • Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.
    • Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their).
  • L.4.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use correct capitalization.
    • Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text.
    • Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
    • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.4.4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
  • RI.4.5. Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
  • RI.4.6. Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.4.7. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
  • RI.4.8. Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
  • RI.4.9. Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.4 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.4.7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • W.4.8. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.
  • W.4.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • Apply grade 4 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions].”).
    • Apply grade 4 Reading standards to informational texts (e.g., “Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text”).

Discipline: Technology
Domain: All Communication and Collaboration
Cluster: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media
  • Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using variety of media and formats
  • Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures
  • Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems

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.