Before beginning the study of the Lewis and Clark expedition,
give each student a map folder or notebook.
Explain to students that throughout the unit they should
collect maps and map information in the map folder.
Instruct students to take notes on each map to remember the
location, its importance, what was discovered there, relevant people
associated with the area, etc.
At the close of the cartography portion of your study, have
students look through their map folders and review (as a class or in
small groups) the features and key components of each map.
Read with the class the following expert from the "Mapping
on the Trail" article:
"The final type
of maps compiled on the trail were composite maps of the West. Two
were prepared. These were compiled by Clark during the long winter
camps at Fort Mandan (Oct. 1804-April 7,1805) and Fort Clatsop (Dec.
7, 1805-March 23,1806). Both cover the entire West from the
Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast.
The Fort Mandan map
is the first map of the West derived from personal observations and
measurements. It was based partly on the explorations of Lewis and
Clark and partly on Indian information. The depiction of the lower
Missouri River was taken from Clark's finished traverse surveys and is
quite accurately portrayed. The vast region to the west of Fort Mandan
and the Missouri River was derived from Indian maps and verbal
descriptions. The rivers shown are quite distorted because of the
Indians' different concepts of space, time, and direction.
information was extremely valuable to the explorers. It provided Lewis
and Clark with an improved mental map of the West that helped them in
planning the final leg of their journey."
Explain that a composite map is made of components taken from
several different areas. As
you have read, Clark made his composite map from observations,
measurements, and Indian information.
Tell the class they will make a composite map of the Lewis and
Clark Trail using the information in their map folders and group
discussion and cooperation.
Divide the class into groups.
Each student should share with his/her group the information in
his/her map folder. The small groups should take time to evaluate the
maps and notes from each member and decide what to include on the
composite map. Instruct
the class to pay close attention to events, dates, and landmarks to
help them compile their information and create an accurate map.
Have each group draw, on poster or butcher paper, a large size
composite map of the Lewis and Clark Trail.
They should include as many land formations, bodies of water,
key towns, etc. as possible, in as much detail as possible.
Their maps should include a key, compass rose, scale, and
When the maps are complete, share them as a class.
Display the composite map made by William Clark and compare it
to student maps. Evaluate
accuracy of the maps, and look for features students may have missed.
Discuss the value of creating a composite map, and how Clark's
map gave us information that was necessary for the development of the