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Lewis and Clark's Journey West:
A Timeline Activity

Lewis and Clark: The Journey West

Return to Meet the Corps of Discovery: The Members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition



Arts & Humanities
  • Language Arts
Social Studies
  • History
    • U.S. History


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

A timeline/scavenger hunt activity highlights milestone events in Lewis and Clarks journey west.


Students will

  • use library and Internet resources, including primary source journals, to learn about important events that occurred during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


Lewis and Clark, Louisiana Purchase, primary, source, research, timeline, scavenger hunt

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

Many important events were recorded during the Lewis and Clark's trip west, which took about 18 months. In this lesson, students use print and online resources to complete the Lewis and Clarks Journey West: Important Dates work sheet.

Internet Resources
The following Internet resources will be helpful to students as they complete the work sheet:

General Histories

The Lewis and Clark Expedition: A Western Adventure, A National Epic

The Journey of the Corps of Discovery: A Timeline of the Trip

The Ultimate Adventure: Retrace the Trail,28757,1997823,00.html/#


The Journey of the Corps of Discovery: The Journals

Lewis and Clarks Historic Trail: Journals

The Journals of Lewis and Clark

The Ultimate Adventure: The Journals,28757,1997823,00.html

Extension Activity
Create a timeline and hang it along a wall of the classroom. Mark each month on the timeline with a strip of paper about a foot long. Start the timeline by marking the events on the Important Dates work sheet on it. As students do additional reading, they can add other important events in the timeline.


Students will correctly identify the following events and associated dates.
(Note: You might accept February 1803 in place of the more specific February 28, 1803.)

February 28, 1803 Congress provides money for the expedition.
December 1803 Expedition members set up camp where the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers meet.
May 14,1804 Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery set off on their expedition.
August 3, 1804 The Corps of Discovery has their first encounter with Native people.
August 20, 1804 Sgt. Charles Floyd is the first Corps member to die.
September 25, 1804 In an encounter with the Teton Sioux, Native Americans demand one of the explorers boats as a toll to proceed up the river.
October 24, 1804 Corps members discover the Mandan village and build their winter fort nearby.
November 4, 1804 The Corps hires Toussaint Charbonneau, a fur trapper, as an interpreter.
April 29, 1805 Lewis and another hunter kill a never-before seen animal -- a grizzly bear.
June 2, 1805 Lewis and Clark decide to head south when they come to a fork in the Missouri River.
August 17, 1805 The expedition discovers a village of Shoshones led by Sacajaweas brother.
October 16, 1805 The expedition reaches the Columbia River.
November 18, 1805 Clark sees Mount Hood and figures they must be near the ocean.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards


MATHEMATICS: Connections
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics
MATHEMATICS: Representation
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-REP.PK-12.3 Use Representations to Model and Interpret Physical, Social, and Mathematical Phenomena

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Originally published 01/24/2003
Last updated 10/13/2009