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Where Are We?

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Summary

Students will be able to place key events in chronological order. Students will gain a working knowledge of geographical concepts: absolute location, relative location, longitude, and latitude. Students will be able to plot a map with the coordinates of the places visited by Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.

Coin Type(s)

  • Nickel

Coin Program(s)

  • Westward Journey Nickel Series

Objectives

  • Students will be able to place key events in chronological order.
  • Students will gain a working knowledge of geographical concepts: absolute location, relative location, longitude, and latitude.
  • Students will be able to plot a map with the coordinates of the places visited by Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Technology

Grades

  • Fifth grade

Class Time

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

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery
  • Louisiana Purchase
  • Chronological order
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Map skills
  • Equator
  • Hemisphere
  • Cardinal directions
  • Intermediate directions

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Cartography
  • Absolute location
  • Relative location
  • Parallels
  • Prime Meridian
  • Meridians
  • Latitude
  • Longitude
  • Artifact

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector
  • Blank overhead transparencies
  • Copies of the worksheets attached to this lesson plan (see "Preparations")
  • 1 copy of the 2006 Westward Journey Nickel Series™ Lesson Plans Resource Guide (available at www.usmint.gov/kids)
  • A computer lab with Internet access
  • Web sites that include information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • Web sites that include information about maps and absolute and relative location
  • Locate a text that gives information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition (see "Preparations")
  • Student history text
  • Chart paper/markers
  • Overhead transparency markers
  • White construction paper (11 X 14) or drawing paper
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Rulers
  • Pencils
  • Globe
  • Atlas

Preparations

  • Make copies of the following:
    • "Westward Journey Nickel Series" worksheet (from Resource Guide) (1 per student)
    • "Journey of Lewis and Clark" map (from Resource Guide) (1 per student)
    • "Location, Location, Location!" worksheet (1 per student)
    • "X Marks the Spot" worksheet (1 per student)
    • "Key Stops Along the Trail" worksheet (1 per student)
  • Make an overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • "Journey of Lewis and Clark" map (from the Resource Guide)
    • "Westward Journey Nickel Series" worksheet
    • "Key Lines" worksheet
    • "X Marks the Spot" worksheet
  • Locate a text that gives basic information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, such as:
    • Lewis and Clark: From Ocean to Ocean by Harold Faber
    • The Incredible Journey of Lewis and Clark by Rhonda Blumberg
    • Lewis and Clark: Explorers of the American West by Steven Kroll
    • How We Crossed the West, The Adventures of Lewis and Clark by Rosalyn Schanzer
    • Lewis and Clark on the Trail of Discovery: An Interactive History with Removable Artifacts by Rod Gragg
    • On the Trail of Lewis and Clark: A Journey Up the Missouri River by Peter Lourie
    • As Far As the Eye Can Reach: Lewis and Clark’s Westward Quest by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
    • To the Pacific (Lewis and Clark) by John Hamilton
    • A Personal Tour of Monticello by Robert Young
  • Bookmark Internet sites that include information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
  • Bookmark Internet sites with information about maps and absolute and relative location.
  • Arrange to use the school computer lab.
  • Create a description of the relative location of your school to share with the students in Session 2.
  • Have an apple cut in half at the middle and a peeled orange ready for Session 3.
  • Have the longitude and latitude (relative location) of your school using an Internet site.
  • Gather globes and atlases

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/186.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Display the "Journey of Lewis and Clark" overhead transparency. Discuss the Louisiana Purchase. Explain that the shape of our country was not always the same as it is today. Point out the area that was the United States before the Louisiana Purchase. Demonstrate the extent to which the size of the country was increased through the Louisiana Purchase.
  2. Discuss who explored the land and why. Explain, if necessary, that President Thomas Jefferson sent soldiers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and a group who called themselves the Corps of Discovery to explore the newly acquired land. Show the students the area that Lewis and Clark explored. Note the area’s position in relation to your school’s location.
  3. Review the journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Discuss the three main goals of the mission: to study the plants, animals, and land; to form relationships with American Indian tribes; and to search for a water route to the Pacific Ocean. Briefly discuss why these goals would have been important. Display the "Westward Journey Nickel Series" overhead transparency. Distribute one "Westward Journey Nickel Series" worksheet to each student.
  4. Explain to the students that the United States Mint is producing the Westward Journey Nickel Series in honor of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. Tell the students that the "Westward Journey Nickel Series" worksheet contains images of the nickels from the Westward Journey Nickel Series.
  5. Ask the students to look at the images on the "Westward Journey Nickel Series" worksheet. Ask them to look for similarities between the coin reverse (back) images. Lead the students to the conclusion that all of the reverse images contain:
    • The Latin phrase "E Pluribus Unum," which is translated as "out of many, one"
    • The coin’s denomination
    • The name "United States of America"
  6. Tell the students that, now that they have identified similarities between all the nickel designs, they will discover what makes each of these designs unique. Ask the students to begin the worksheet by recording what they see in each nickel’s design that may relate to the Corps of Discovery. Ask the students to hypothesize why each image was selected and its relationship to the Corps of Discovery. If desired, allow the students to use their textbooks and other classroom resources. Ask the students to record their answers on their "Westward Journey Nickel Series" worksheet.
  7. Allow the students time to complete the worksheets individually. Then have the students get into pairs and allow them to collaborate for an additional five to ten minutes.
  8. Lead a class discussion regarding the students’ answers on their completed "Westward Journey Nickel Series" worksheets. Use the students’ responses to complete a model worksheet on the overhead transparency.
  9. As a class, create a timeline with key points from the discussion. Be sure to include the key locations where the Corps of Discovery stayed. Post the timeline in the classroom for student reference. Note: Have a description of the relative location of your school ready to share with the students in Session 2.

Session 2

  1. On a piece of chart paper, write the word "location." Have the students get into pairs and discuss a definition. As a class, create a working definition. Record the student responses on the chart paper. Make sure that the students understand that location is "an item’s placement or where something is."
  2. Distribute a "Location, Location, Location!" worksheet to each student. Review the directions with the students. Tell the students that they should take notes on this sheet based on class discussions. The worksheet will be started in this session, and completed in Session
  3. Introduce the term "relative location." Tell the students that "relative location" describes a place’s location in relation to other places. It gets a traveler to a general area. Relative locations are described by landmarks, time, direction, or distance from one place to another. Add the definition to the chart paper. Ask the students for examples of relative locations within the school building.
  4. Display and discuss the teacher-created description of the relative location of your school. Talk about familiar community landmarks.
  5. Discuss the relative location of the school. Create a list of things that would need to be included on a map to help someone get from the school to their home. Model how to write a description for a relative location. Point out key street names and familiar landmarks such as parks and stores. Stress that accuracy is an important aspect of making maps.
  6. As a class, review and discuss the four elements of a map: title, compass rose, scale, and legend or key.
  7. Tell the students that each of them will create a map and written directions of the route from their home to school. They can use the description provided by the teacher as a guide. The map needs to include the four elements of a map.
  8. Distribute paper and supplies for the maps. Allow sufficient time for the students to work on their maps.
  9. Collect the "Location, Location, Location!" worksheets. Note: Have an apple cut in half at the middle (horizontally, like a latitude line) and a peeled orange ready for Session 3. Also locate the longitude and latitude (absolutelocation) of your school using an Internet site.

Session 3

  1. Display and review the chart paper from the previous session. Introduce the term "absolute location." Tell the students that "absolute location" refers to an exact location given with respect to a known place and uses a standard measurement system such as longitude and latitude coordinates. It gets a person to an exact location. Add the definition to the chart paper.
  2. Distribute the students’ "Location, Location, Location!" worksheets from Session 2. Remind the students to add the definitions to the worksheet based on the class discussion.
  3. Write the words "longitude" and "latitude" on the chart paper. Tell the students that longitude and latitude are sets of imaginary lines that divide the Earth into sections so locations can be described accurately. It is possible to know the absolute location of any point on the Earth. Lines of latitude are also called parallels, and lines of longitude are also called meridians. Discuss the similarities and differences between the definitions.
  4. Show the students a halved apple and a peeled orange. Tell the students you will be doing a demonstration of longitude and latitude using fruit to help them remember the definitions.
  5. Begin with the orange and point out the lines the sections naturally make. Ask the students which lines the orange sector lines are similar to. The students should respond "longitude." Point out that longitude has an "O" in the word and orange begins with "O."
  6. Using a globe, provide the following information and point out the lines to the students: Lines of longitude (or meridians) run vertically from the North Pole to the South Pole. Meridians are used to describe a position and measure distances in degrees east or west of the line that runs through Greenwich, England, called the "Prime Meridian." Meridians repeat every 180 degrees east and 180 degrees west around the globe and meet at a line opposite the Prime Meridian called the "International Date Line."
  7. Show the students the horizontally-bisected apple, holding both halves together. Separate the halves and point out the line of latitude or the "equator." Ask the students which type of line the cut though the apple is similar to. The students should respond "latitude." Point out that latitude has an "A" in the word, and apple begins with "A."
  8. Using a globe, provide the following information to the students: Lines of latitude (or parallels) circle the globe horizontally. Latitude describes a position north or south in relation to the equator. The equator is at 0 degrees latitude. The North Pole is at 90 degrees north and the South Pole at 90 degrees south. The degrees of latitude are about 69 miles apart. Lines of latitude never meet because they are parallel.
  9. Display the "Key Lines" overhead transparency. As a class, discuss, locate, and label the main lines of longitude and latitude. The students should also label and outline the equator, Prime Meridian, Tropic of Cancer, and Tropic of Capricorn on their maps at the bottom of the "Location, Location, Location!" worksheet.
  10. Distribute an "X Marks the Spot" worksheet and an atlas to each student. Using a Web site, provide the latitude and longitude of the school to the nearest second.
  11. Have the students mark your school’s location on the "X Marks the Spot" worksheet and the overhead transparency.
  12. Have the students work in pairs to complete the first eight questions. Review the answers as a class. Have the students connect the dots and discuss various stops along Lewis and Clark’s trail. Briefly discuss the significance of each stop along the trail.
  13. For additional practice, put the following locations on the overhead transparency and have the students name the cities and states found there. The answers are in brackets. Review the answers as a class.
    • 39° 58' north latitude and 83° 0' west longitude [Columbus, Ohio]
    • 58° 38' north latitude and 134° 13' west longitude [Juneau, Alaska]
    • 33° 54' north latitude and 112° 07' west longitude [Phoenix, Arizona]
    • 42° 39' north latitude and 73° 45' west longitude [Albany, NY]
    • 30° 26' north latitude and 84° 17' west longitude [Tallahassee, Florida]
    • 43° 37' north latitude and 116° 12' west longitude [Boise, Idaho]
    • 44° 19' north latitude and 69° 47' west longitude [Augusta, Maine]
  14. Display the description of the school’s relative location from the previous session. Compare and discuss the differences between the examples of relative and absolute location given for the same place.
  15. Brainstorm situations in which it would be better to use relative or absolute locations. For example, a hurricane tracker would use absolute location; a person hiking in the woods would use relative location.
  16. Collect the students’ "Location, Location, Location!" and "X Marks the Spot" worksheets.

Session 4

  1. Review the discussions from previous sessions and the timeline from Session 1.
  2. Distribute a "Journey of Lewis and Clark" map and the students’ "X Marks the Spot" worksheets to each student.
  3. Display the "Journey of Lewis and Clark" overhead transparency. Review Lewis and Clark’s route with the class. Using the longitude and latitude marks on the "X marks the Spot" worksheet, discuss key cities that are located along Lewis and Clark’s route and their importance.
  4. Tell the students that they will research information about the various stops along the trail and record the information on the "Key Stops Along the Trail" worksheet.
  5. As an example, explain to the students that Jefferson’s home, Monticello, was where Jefferson displayed some of the items gathered by Lewis and Clark. Have the students find the absolute location of Monticello and indicate it on the map.
  6. Take the students to the computer lab and have them use one of the bookmarked sites for their research. Tell the students they may also want to research journal entries to discover the importance of each of the stops along the trail.
  7. Allow the students sufficient time for research.
  8. As a class, review and discuss the research findings. Collect the students’ worksheets.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Povide students with a scribe for writing their ideas for the research worksheets.
  • Allow students to work with a partner when completing the research activities.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have the students take a Global Positioning System (GPS) reading of the following places: school, home, fire department, friend’s house, and post office. Students should record their readings and compare them with the readings of other students in the class.
  • Have students create a map and written directions from their home to Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia. The map should have absolute and relative locations for both their home and Monticello.
  • Have students research information about the architecture of Monticello and create a blueprint.

Use the worksheets and research to evaluate the student’s ability to meet the lesson objectives.

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

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

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

  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound–letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

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: 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: Technology
Domain: All Research and Information Fluency
Cluster: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Plan strategies to guide inquiry
  • Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media
  • Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks
  • Process data and report results

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).

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