Friday, March 2, 2012

The Lewis & Clark Expedition

This week we took a break from our regular history curriculum because we had finally reached the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and just HAD to do a little unit on Lewis & Clark's expedition from 1804 - 1806 of this newly owned United States territory! After all, we live in the heart of a huge stretch of this journey, so why not take the week to explore and learn about this great adventure!?  

Of the several books we found at the library, our favorite was "Seaman's Journey" by Patricia Eubank, Patti Reeder Eubank and P. Eubank. In fact, we loved this book so much, I had to just buy it! : )  Seaman was Lewis's guard dog and traveled the entire expedition to the Pacific Ocean and back to St. Louis!  I also confess my new love for Newfoundland dogs, which I'll never likely own while living in town. They get up to 150 lbs! But wow - such loyal, friendly dogs. Check out this book the next time you're at your local library!

I also found a few fun activities that I found on to do with the girls. One of them was to pretend we were one of the explorers and record a few of the new animals, plants, or information about weather or the Native Americans in a journal. So we decided to write about 6 things the Corps of Discoverers would have found:  prairie dogs, corn, buffalo, shirts made from hides, bears, and creating maps. 

Abbie played an interactive game on where she could join the Corps of Discoverers and had to make decisions on what she should pack, how she'd prepare for the trip, and what adventures might come on the way. This was a fun game!

And by the end of the week, we all five made plans to visit the Knife River Indian Villages, Fort Mandan, and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center! It was amazing and I'm quite sure we'll be returning to all three of these locations for more learning, kids camps, visits, and fun! We especially wished that Grandma and Grandpa Holm could have joined us for this field trip, as they are both incredible historians and Lewis & Clark enthusiasts! 

We had read a little about these bull boats which were made from wood and buffalo skins. They were used to carry buffalo meat back to the villages from hunting trips, finishing, and other transporting of goods along the Missouri River. 

This is an earth lodge we visited at the Knife River Indian Villages. These lodges are HUGE ... they'd have to be when a whole extended family lived together (grandparents, children, and grandchildren).  
 This was taken outside the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center next to a statue of Seaman : )  

 Abbie reading about a bear attack on a few of the men of the Corps - their first encounter with a grizzly and one that certainly put a proper fear and respect for these creatures in the explorers! 

 This was a model of the military uniform the captains wore on their expedition to identify themselves to the Natives as Americans. 

The Corps of Discoverers wintered in North Dakota from the start of winter of 1804 - April of 1805 near the Mandan and Hidatsa Natives (two friendly tribes). The fort Lewis & Clark built, Fort Mandan, was built near the Mandan and Hidatsa villages.

We were able to tour a replica of Fort Mandan (which was built in the 1970's). It was built in the shape of a triangle and housed over 50 men, as well as Sacacawea and her newly born baby, Jean Baptiste. 

The "courtyard" where there stood an American flag. 

This was Lewis & Clark's writing desk in their quarters. During these winter months, they got caught up on their journal writing, map drawings, and made further plans for traveling west.

Though Clark wasn't an "equal" from the President's standpoint, Lewis made him an equal and called him "Captain". Therefore, both men shared these quarters and slept on beds at the same level. Interesting that Lewis considered him an equal - this was truly a team-effort!

 This is inside the visitor center at Fort Mandan where they have a little corner of fun kid stuff! This was a real life-sized replica of Seaman, Lewis's guard dog on the journey! HUGE is an understatement!  

A fun boat ... who doesn't like to row in a boat!?  

Not surprisingly, Abbie takes charge!

Fun play "Corps of Discoverer" clothes for kids ...

 Daddy managed to take a rest in the tent! 

 I think I'm in love with a dog named Seaman ... 

And I also think after a quick "pit stop" in our history curriculum to just barely glance at the Lewis & Clark expedition, that there is now so much more we all want to know! Ahhh ... the joys of life-long learning! Now on my already too-long list of books to read is Stephen Ambrose's account of this amazing adventure  in "Undaunted Courage".  Who's read it!?  (DAD?!)

Moreover, what do YOU know about Lewis & Clark's expedition that you'd like to add or share? 

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