Lewis & Clark Unit Study for Middle to High School Students

A Lewis & Clark Unit Study for Homeschool Families’ Morning Baskets and Family School

This Family-Style Lewis & Clark Unit Study is generally for students at the middle to high school level.

To add in younger students for a family-style unit study, see the Lewis & Clark Early Learners and Upper Elementary posts.

This Lewis & Clark unit study uses Living Books and hands-on STEAM activities along with English Language Arts, History, Biography, Poetry, and Folktales.

In it your student will:

  • Make a Facebook profile for Lewis or Clark
  • Learn how to “dead reckon” distances
  • Classify animals
  • Learn how to make a campfire with steel and flint
  • Listen to a Cherokee folktale
  • And much more!

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Lewis & Clark Unit Study English Language Arts

Read Aloud Literature

The Essential Lewis and Clark edited by Landon Y. Jones book is definitely one that you will want to get the audiobook version! It’s narrated by Peter Friedman (Brooklyn Bridge) and Tom Wopat (Annie Get Your Gun) as Lewis and Clark, as those they are telling the story in their own words (using the original source documents, their journals). Check your library for the audio CD or download from Hoopla or Audible.

Combine it with this Interactive Google Map that tells where Lewis and Clark were each day of the journey for some extra geography learning. You can even zoom in to see the terrain, to get a better idea of what they encountered and endured.

Independent Reading

Choose one or even read both of the selections that the younger students are using for read-aloud:

Streams to the River, River to the Sea by Scott O’Dell is historical fiction based upon Sacagawea’s life and the integral part she played as interpreter and guide for Lewis and Clark’s expedition. Your middle- and high-schoolers will love this story by one of my favorite authors (he also wrote Sing Down the Moon and Island of the Blue Dolphins).

The Captain’s Dog by Roland Smith looks at the Lewis and Clark expedition from the perspective of Lewis’ dog, Seaman. Seaman was a 140 pound Newfoundland retriever and was an invaluable member of the expedition. This fictionalized account is based heavily on Lewis’ personal diary of the journey and includes excerpts from that original source.


The Great Ball Game from Circle Round Podcast is a version of a folktale that comes from the Cherokee, Creek, Ojibway, and Menominee peoples of North America.

Literary Analysis

lewis clark writing assignment literary anaylsis high school

Use the Lewis and Clark Middle to High School Biography Report Form for a literary analysis of the book you chose as your independent reading selection. Biography literary analysis consists of telling some facts about the person, plus opinions about the book.

You can get the Lewis and Clark Biography Report Form for Middle-High School from the Free Resource Library. Then have your student complete the form for either Captain Lewis or Sacagawea.


Copywork and narration are a real-life way to work on grammar skills. Use the Lewis and Clark Narration Page for Middle-High School from the Free Resource Library. After your child has written the sentence from dictation, let her see the original to check it with her work. Have her correct her work, so that she knows the correct structure and spelling.


In this real-life writing assignment, your student will create a Facebook profile for either Captain Lewis, Captain Clark, Sacagawea, York, or George Drouillard. EducatorsTechnology has three different templates from which to choose that makes this assignment very easy to complete. Be sure that they include at least 3 posts that summarize parts of the journey; bonus points if they take pictures that represent what the explorers saw.

Spelling and Vocabulary

Use the Lewis & Clark Vocabulary Cards for Middle to High School from the Free Resource Library for vocabulary and spelling words. Have students write out a short definition of each word on the back of each vocabulary card. Alternatively, if your student loves to draw, have them draw a picture to depict the meaning of each word.

Not a member of the Whole Child Homeschool Tribe yet? Scroll up to the dark pink box above to sign up and get immediate access to the Free Resource Library.


If your family includes memorization in your weekly work, I suggest learning this poem written by Robert Service, The Land Of Beyond.

Have you ever heard of the Land of Beyond,

That dream at the gates of the day?

Alluring it lies at the skirts of the skies,

And ever so far away;

Alluring it calls: O ye the yoke galls,

And ye of the trails overfond,

With saddle and pack, by paddle and track,

Let’s go to the Land of Beyond!

Have ever you stood where the silences brood,

And vast the horizons begin,

At the dawn of the day to behold far away

The goal you would strive for and win?

Yet ah! in the night when you gain to the height,

With the vast pool of heaven star-spawned,

Afar and agleam, like a valley of dream,

Still mocks you a Land of Beyond.

Thank God! there is always the Land of Beyond

For us who are true to the trail;

A vision to seek, a beckoning peak,

A farness that never will fail;

A pride in our soul that mocks at a goal,

A manhood that irks at a bond,

And try how we will, unattainable still,

Behold it, our Land of Beyond!

Robert Service, Public Domain

Did you know that you can make your homeschool life super simple with one download? Just buy The Lewis & Clark Unit Study Curriculum Bundle!

This bundle includes all of the printables available in the Free Resource Library in ONE download PLUS BONUS vocabulary worksheets and answer keys that are not in the Free Resource Library.

You will also get 10 days of daily lesson plans all laid out in an easy-to-understand chart with a printable book list and direct links to all of the videos, podcasts, and activities.

Lewis & Clark Unit Study STEAM


The 122 animals that Lewis and Clark cataloged on their journey all belonged to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, which means that they were all animals with spines (or vertebrae).

Watch this video from the AmebaSisters to learn how animals are classified. Then, have your students complete the Lewis & Clark Animal Classification worksheet from the Free Resource Library.

Not a member of the Whole Child Homeschool Tribe yet? Scroll up to the dark pink box above to sign up and get immediate access to the Free Resource Library.

Technology and Math

Lewis took a sextant to determine latitude, a chronometer to calculate longitude, and a compass to tell directions. His chronometer quit working, however, so he relied upon a method that used the stars to measure where the expedition was and how far they’d traveled each day. This was very complicated, however, so he mostly just estimated the distance traveled.

At the end of the journey, he was only off by 40 miles in his calculations!! Isn’t that amazing? Dead-reckoning is a navigational skill that some hikers use. Follow these directions from LandNavigation and AndrewSkurka to learn how to use math to measure distance.


Lewis designed a collapsible iron canoe that would be covered with sewn hides, named The Experiment. Read about the Experiment and the engineering behind it. Did The Experiment work? Why or why not?

Fine and Practical Arts

Fine Arts

Newell Convers Wyeth was a realist American painter and one of America’s greatest illustrators. He lived from 1882 to 1945 and attended Howard Pyle’s school for illustrators. He imagined how Sacagawea guided Lewis and Clark on their journey in his painting, “Sacagawea with Lewis and Clark during their expedition in 1804-06.” For a fine arts appreciation, you can google the picture (“Sacagawea with Lewis and Clark during their expedition in 1804-06.” Newell Convers Wyeth) and discuss it with your children. (I can’t post it here due to copyrights.)

Another American artist, Thomas Hart Benton, painted a depiction of Lewis and Clark at Eagle Creek. You can see a copy of this painting at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Benton was a prominent regionalist artist from Missouri who was famous for his murals and paintings of American life, much like Grant Wood (American Gothic). Benton painted a huge mural in the Missouri State Capitol which shows much of the history of Missouri; if you ever have a chance to visit it, it is definitely worth the trip! You can read more about Benton in this article from the Missouri State Historic Site.

Practical Arts

Lewis and Clark and their men would have needed to build a fire each time they stopped to camp beside the river. They took 30 steels and 100 flints for making fires. Learn how to make a fire with a steel and flint in this video. Adult supervision required.

Prepare a meal with bison, venison, or rabbit for a fun extension of your Lewis and Clark unit study.

Lewis & Clark History

This whole unit study is history! LOL For even more history stories about Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea, listen to The Explorers podcast series of 8 episodes about Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.

Stuff You Should Know has a shorter podcast than The Explorers series (about an hour-long) titled How Lewis and Clark Worked.

There is much debate about how Meriwether Lewis died in 1809 while on his way to from St. Louis to Washington D.C. Watch this short video from the National Park Service to learn more about his final days.

Just for fun, listen to this Lewis and Clark rap from Jam Campus.

More Ideas for your Lewis & Clark Unit Study

Be sure to follow my Pinterest board US History: Westward Expansion for more great hands-on activities and ideas for your Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery unit study!

Save one of these images to your favorite homeschooling Pinterest board to refer back to during your Lewis and Clark unit study!

lewis and clark corps of discovery
lewis clark homeschool unit study
lewis clark homeschool unit study high school

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