Corps of Discovery: Lewis and Clark Expedition


Painting of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in canoes on a river

Lewis and Clark on the Lower Colombia by Charles Marion Russell, 1905. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection


How to register:
We offer two field trip scheduling options:

All audiences. Content appropriate for Grades 6-12.

Goal: Learn about the Army’s first diplomatic mission and its lasting consequences for the Army, the nation, and American Indians.

Program description:
Virtual Field Trips connect students to the Museum all without leaving their desks. During this field trip, students will engage with the Army’s history through artifacts, primary sources, and Soldiers’ Stories.

The Corps of Discovery was the Army’s first diplomatic mission. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark received orders from President Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory and find a water passageway to the Pacific Ocean. In this virtual field trip, examine primary sources to learn more about the crew, American Indian culture, and the natural landscape. Discover the mission’s lasting impacts and consequences for the Army, the nation, and the American Indians who inhabited the land.

Objective: At the end of this lesson students, will be able to

  • Describe how the Lewis and Clark Expedition carried out its mission.
  • Identify aspects of the American Indian culture in the Louisiana Territory.
  • List the scientific contributions of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
  • Summarize the lasting consequences of the Corps of Discovery.

Guiding Questions:
What was the impact of the Lewis and Clark expedition?

How can the effects of the Lewis and Clark expedition be seen today?

Curriculum Connections

Common Core Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

History and Social Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools

  • United States History to 1865
    • USI.8. The student will apply social science skills to understand westward expansion and reform in America from 1801 to 1861 by
      • Describing territorial expansion and how it affected the political map of the United States, with emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the acquisitions of Florida, Texas, and Oregon.
      • Explaining the impact of westward expansion on American Indians

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