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Lewis and Clark and the Language of Discovery
Lesson Plan 2
Mapping the Unmapped - Instructions

Instructions for Your Writing Journey

On June 20, 1803,Thomas Jefferson wrote a long letter to Meriwether Lewis telling him exactly what he had to do on his expedition to the Pacific Ocean. He said,"Your mission is to explore." Your mission today is to follow Jefferson's directions before, during, and after your writing journey.

How to take notes:
"your observations are to be taken with great pains & accuracy, to be entered distinctly, & intelligibly for others as well as yourself"

How to name new places:
"take careful observations of natural marks & that they may with certainty be recognized hereafter"

How to observe:
"by compass...& by time"

What to observe:
"the geography of the country through which you will pass" "other objects worthy of notice"

Writing up your notes:
"inform yourself by inquiry...making such observations on your return as may serve to supply, correct or confirm those made on your outward journey"

Did the student return with the token? How long did it take? What was helpful or confusing on the map? Did the composition clarify or confuse? Have the students discuss their work and amend it if necessary.

Falls and Portage of the Missouri River by William Clark, 1805.

Missouri Historical Society Archives, Clark Family Papers.

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