1. Perspective: Changing the Way the Story is Told

(This is the Lesson Plan 1 for Ella Inglebret’s curriculum, Telling the Lewis and Clark Story.)


Photograph by Nick Sanyal, Used with Permission

“It is a story, or rather a series of stories, told by many actors and narrators. Human beings are storytellers. We explain our lives to ourselves and to others in story form. We do that as individuals, in families and communities, and as a nation.”

— James P. Ronda, Cayuse/Nez Perce (Contemporary Voices along the Lewis and Clark Trail, 2008)


This lesson plan introduces the concept of perspective and the idea that the way a story is told will be influenced by the perspective of the author, illustrator, or designer. Initially, students explore perspective through examination of an outdoor space from various angles. They then reflect upon their personal backgrounds and how that might influence the perspective they bring to an experience. This is followed by examination of symbols/logos and reading of informational texts that relate to the Lewis and Clark expedition. Texts have been selected to represent tribal and nontribal expressions related to the Lewis and Clark story. Thus, students have the opportunity to compare and contrast perspectives. It should be noted that text is viewed broadly as any verbal, recorded, constructed, or observed item that represents a meaning (Healy, 2008). Examples of texts include stories told through artwork, music, the oral tradition, tools of survival and daily life, patterns of nature, as well as through written words and various forms of electronic media.



Selected Common Core State Standards


  • Reading–Informational Text 4.1, 4.4, 4.6, 4.8, 4.9
  • Speaking and Listening 4.1
  • Language 4.4
  • Writing 4.2

Entry Questions

  • How do different perspectives change the way a story is told?
  • Whose perspective is represented in this story?




PDF: Text 1-1                                                                                                                                                      Changing the Way the Story is Told

*accompanied by the map on the Tribal Legacies website

PDF: Text 1-2                                                                                                                                                     Lewis and Clark Road Sign Symbol

PDF: Text 1-3                                                                                                                                                      National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration (2003-2006) Logo

PDF: Text 1-4                                                                                                                                                     National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration (2003-2006) Logo Description

PDF: Text 1-5                                                                                                                                                      Lewis and Clark Centennial

PDF: Text 1-6                                                                                                                                                      For Us, This is Not a Celebration

1-7. Selected Video

  • A Clatsop Winter Story (22 minutes; presents Clatsop perspectives; Camera One)
  • The Journey of Sacagawea (60 minutes; presents Shoshoni, Hidatsa, and Nez Perce perspectives; PBS Home Video, Idanha Films and Idaho Public Television)
  • Lewis and Clark Pathways: Part 1—The Mandan People, Part 2—Fort Abraham Lincoln, Part 3—Earth Lodges, Part 4—Lewis, Clark and the Mandan People, Part 5—Smallpox, Part 6—Pow-wow, Part 7—Fort Union (1-6 minutes per part; Mandan perspectives; North Dakota Studies)
  • Surviving Lewis and Clark: The Nimiipuu Story (27 minutes; Nez Perce perspectives; Lewis-Clark State College with the Nez Perce Tribe)
  • Two Worlds at Two Medicine (35 minutes; presents Blackfeet perspectives; Native View Pictures)


PDF: Reproducible 1-1                                                                                                                                  My Lens for Seeing the World

PDF: Reproducible 1-2                                                                                                                                 WHOSE PERSPECTIVE?

PDF: Reproducible 1-3                                                                                                                                  WORD BANK

PDF: Reproducible 1-4                                                                                                                                 WORD PART CHART

PDF: Reproducible 1-5                                                                                                                                   ANALYZING SYMBOLS — REFLECTION LOG

PDF: Reproducible 1-6                                                                                                                                 VENN DIAGRAM


  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail portfolio (notebook with pockets) for each student
  • Student-created journal (10 sheets of unlined paper folded and stapled) and pencil
  • Large sheets of poster paper
  • Colored marking pens
  • Sticky notes

Learning Spiral

Situated Practice and Critical Framing

Learning Modalities

  • Auditory
  • Visual
  • Movement/Gesture
  • Linguistic
  • Tactile
  • Spatial
  • Spiritual
  • Smell/Taste



Perspective Taking

Day 1

Instruct students that they will be participating in an outdoor “perspective taking” activity in their schoolyard. Have them create a journal by folding about 10 pieces of unlined paper in half and stapling them together at the center. They should each bring their journal and a pencil for recording observations. At the top of a journal page, students each write “from my perspective.” Students are then instructed to use multiple senses in making observations (e.g., what they hear, see, smell, and feel through touch, movement, and emotions) and to record enough information so that they can share their observations in a large-group setting. When outdoors, divide the students into six teams. Each team will record observations from one of six perspectives – (1) facing north, (2) facing south, (3) facing east, (4) facing west, (5) looking up, and (6) looking down. Observations can be recorded in words and/or through sketches during a 15-minute period. Return to the classroom. Provide about 5 minutes for each team to discuss their observations and to select a spokesperson to present their findings to the large group. Notes and/or sketches might accompany the presentation through use of a document camera, by holding sketches at vantage points so that all students can see them, and/or by writing key points on a white board. After all student groups have presented their perspectives, ask them what was different and what was similar about their observations. Compare and contrast observations experienced through particular senses (e.g., visual vs. auditory, smell vs. touch, movement vs. emotion). Ask students why it is important to consider multiple perspectives in understanding a place. Conclude by stating that the way we each experience the world is affected by our “perspectives.”


My Lens for Seeing the World

Day 2

Explain to students that they will be writing a one-paragraph summary of “My Lens for Seeing the World.” Read the directions found at the top of Reproducible 1. “Perspective or point of view can be thought of as a lens for seeing the world. A lens can come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. It can magnify to help us see very fine details or zoom out to help us see a larger picture. A lens can be pointed in different directions to change our perspective on the world. We each bring our own personal background to our perspective. The purpose of the following questions is to explore parts of your personal background that influence your perspective or ‘lens for seeing the world.’ Answer the questions, then write a paragraph in your journal summarizing your answers. Use the title, “My Lens for Seeing the World.”

Read Aloud and Explore Perspective

Changing the Way the Story is Told

Day 3

Read aloud the first paragraph of Text 1, Changing the Way the Story is Told. After reading this paragraph, go to the Tribal Legacies website to show the route that Lewis and Clark followed and click on various tribal names so that students can see some of the tribal homelands along the route. Click on the tribes closest to your school and determine if your school is located on tribal homelands. Continue reading the following two paragraphs.

Word Bank

Introduce on Day 3

Tell the students that they will be creating a “Word Bank” to keep track of important new words they read or hear throughout this unit. Give each student a copy of the word bank activity sheet. Tell students that they each will be writing down important words along with their meanings and drawing a picture to help them remember the meaning. Use the Changing the Way the Story is Told text as an example, tell the students that you will be showing some ways to learn the meaning of unfamiliar words. For example, re-read the first sentence and say, “I think the word ‘expedition’ is important.” Model your thinking process, “If I look at the surrounding words, I might be able to figure out what expedition means. I see ‘traveled’ and ‘searched for a waterway connecting the eastern United States with the West’. These give me clues that an expedition travels for a specific purpose. I might also look up the word in a dictionary or in the glossary at the end of this unit.” (Model looking up the word in a dictionary and referring to the glossary.) Another way to figure out word meaning is to break each word into parts. The word part chart can be used to aid this process. For example, show students that the word, “expedition,” can be broken into “ex-“ (meaning out), “ped” (meaning foot or feet), and “–ion” (meaning an action or process). The word parts can be reconnected to mean “going out on foot.” Explain that students will continue to add to their word banks throughout the Telling the Story unit. A teacher and students may also post important words and their meanings on a word wall in the classroom.

A Story Communicated from Different Perspectives through Symbols

Day 4

Make enough copies of Text 2, Lewis and Clark Road Sign Symbol, and Text 3, National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Logo, so that the symbols can be examined by small groups of students. Give each student 2 copies of the reproducible, Analyzing Symbols – Reflection Log, and have them form small groups so they can discuss their responses to the investigative question, “What story does this symbol communicate?” Give each group a copy of Text 2 and 3 and instruct students to complete one reflection log for each symbol. After about 5 minutes give each student a copy of Text 4, National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration (2003- 2006) Logo Description, and instruct them to use this to add to their reflection log. After students complete their reflection logs, call them together to share ideas with the whole class. Ask students to consider the questions, “If you were a member of a tribe who contributed to the Lewis and Clark expedition, how would Text 2 make you feel?” and “How would Text 3 make you feel?” Give students 2 pieces of blank paper and ask them to express their feelings about each text on a separate piece of paper by drawing with colored pencils or markers.

Read Aloud and Discuss

Stories Presented from Different Perspectives

Day 5

Make copies of Text 5, Lewis and Clark Centennial (a secondhand account), and Text 6, For Us, This is Not a Celebration (a firsthand account), the “Whose Perspective” activity sheet, and the Venn Diagram Reproducible for each student. Read the texts aloud as students follow along on their own copies. Next, have students form small groups to discuss similarities and differences related to the two accounts. Use the “Whose Perspective?” questions to guide analysis. Students record their responses on sticky notes and place them on a larger “working” Venn diagram drawn on poster paper, noting differences in the two outer oval spaces and similarities in the center space. After student complete their analysis of the 2 accounts, call them together to present their observations to the whole class. Ask students to consider the questions, “If you were a member of a tribe who contributed to the Lewis and Clark expedition, how would Text 6 make you feel?” and “How would Text 7 make you feel?”

Video Viewing

Day 6

Show a video presenting more in-depth information on a tribal perspective(s) of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Select a tribe near your school’s location so that information gained can be connected to a future field trip to a tribal museum, center, or park. Provide each student with a copy of the “Whose Perspective?” questions and instruct students to answer these questions based on information presented in the video. After viewing the video allow time for discussion of student responses to the “Whose Perspective?” questions. In addition, ask students how they think the participants in the video felt about their perspectives being represented. Following discussion, have individual students record reflections on a page of their journals.

Tying it All Together

Day 7

Place a large poster on the classroom wall containing two of the main ideas expressed in the Episode 1 texts: (1) “American Indian people helped members of the Lewis and Clark expedition survive.” and (2) “The Commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial held from 2003 to 2006 changed the way the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition was being told.” Instruct students to form small groups and review the first six texts used in this episode to identify evidence (details and examples) that can be used to support these two main ideas. (Students can also refer to their written reflections recorded after viewing the video.) Each group records their responses on a large piece of poster paper using colored marking pens. After all points of evidence are recorded, students then use their work to evaluate whether or not sufficient evidence was found to support each key point. When they have finished recording their answers, instruct students to post their papers on the wall. Each small group then shares their responses with the whole class. In closing, the teacher summarizes the overall student responses and each student places all Episode materials in his/her portfolio.




  • Self-select a small group to join for assignment completion
  • Extend the content by reading advanced texts identified in Episode 4


  • Self-select a small group to join for assignment completion
  • Preview text to identify key vocabulary to add to your word bank
  • Use alternative means to respond to assignments, such as full sentences, bulleted lists,words, and/or sketches
  • Review concepts and key vocabulary after readings and related discussions are completed



  • Students write a one-page reflection summarizing “My Lens for Seeing the World”
  • Students complete a “Whose Perspective?” activity sheet
  • Students enter key vocabulary into a “Word Bank” activity sheet
  • Students complete an “Analyzing Symbols – Reflection Log” for two symbols
  • Students complete a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting perspectives represented in two texts
  • Students construct a poster integrating information from multiple texts