Lewis and Clark's historic 1800s journey took a turn into the 21st century, as second grade students incorporated STEAM learning into their exploration of the Louisiana Purchase.
Throughout October, Ms. Plunghken and Ms. Kuhl's classes learned about the 1804-1806 Corps of Discovery Expedition, the first to cross the western portion of the United States. They learned about the significance of the journey on American history through an integrated curriculum that combined geography, reading, social studies, art and technology.
In Ms. Wiles' STEAM classroom, groups of students designed maps of the territory explored by Lewis and Clark, including a color-coded trail that charted their two-year trek west. Students coded pocket-sized robots to travel that path, and to pause at significant stops along the way. They filmed their costumed Ozobots along the way so they could share their presentations with each other. Some of the stops included the area where the Sacagawea joined the expedition and Pompeys Pillar in Montana, where William Clark famously signed his name into the stone.
This was not the only hands-on learning about the histroric journey. Students also compiled a list of questions for Lewis and Clark scholar Richard Nelson, who shared his expertise during a taped interview. As they listened to his answers, they also got to see, touch and share objects that the explorers might have utilized while taking their keel boat through the waterways or crossing the mountains on horseback. Items in the artifact trunk on loan from the National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence included a compass, animal pelts for warmth, writing powder, a telescope and even types of food they might have eaten, including rattlesnake meat and grouse.
"I think it is very interesting to learn about," second grader Charli Williams said. "It seems like they had to go a long way so they needed a lot of things to help them."