1. Cartography

(This is the Lesson Plan 1 for Carmelita Lamb’s curriculum unit, Tribal Legacies of Pathfinding.)

Grade Level: High School grade 9-10



Aligned with appropriate Common Core State Standards (grade level and content area)

CCS.English Language Arts>Science and Technical Subjects G 9-10

  • RST.9-10.2 “Determine the central ideas of conclusions of a text…”
  • RST.9-10.4 “Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain specific words and phrases…”
  • RST.9-10.9 “Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources…”

Students will

  • Investigate the technical steps necessary to create a map
  • Compare the understandings of physical location during the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to modern locating systems incorporating measurements of latitude and longitude
  • Research ways in which he/she can make a map of a location along the Trail which is closest to their home
  • Integrate astronomical data from their Stellarium application or other astronomical software (such as StarWalk) into their own place-based map
  • Present their map to the class with explanations of important landmarks
  • Display their art/science project work in the classroom



  • How are maps made?
  • What are vital understandings in the development of an accurate map?
  • Who are maps intended for?
  • Do maps only address linear direction? What other information about a place can be conveyed on a map?
  • What were some Native methods of location determination?
  • What are characteristics of maps of a place over time?
  • How many ways are descriptions of a journey communicated? Think of this across the globe.
  • How is a data set analyzed in the realm of mapping?
  • Who would have been responsible for this task of compiling data in the exploration of the Lewis and Clark trail?
  • How did the Native people involved in this journey contribute to the data set?





  • Visual
  • Tactile
  • Spatial
  • Linguistic
  • Multimodal

Refer to the Spiral Learning Map (Appendix A): includes explicit teaching strategies, specific questions, comments, and directions for use by teachers.



Students should be presented with:

  • a broad overview of the intended mission of the Lewis and Clark expedition through the resources noted in the resource section of this curriculum;
  • visualization of a map of the U.S. circa 1860;
  • overlay of the Louisiana Purchase;
  • identification of student’s ‘home’ on that map;
  • discussion on the manner in which guests are received at their home, describing the traditions, modes of hospitality and family behaviors;
  • discussion of using a map to find their way in an unfamiliar environment.



Design modes tie back to the CCS defined in the Unit (ELA-Science and Technical Subject). Focused instruction will occur in the development of student skills in the technical navigation of the National Park Service mapping applications, design of the EdCanvas (or other presentation application) which will contain the critical research materials from which the students will reference their written work, 3 dimensional work, as well as public presentations. In addition, students will receive instruction in the design and development of a timeline that will incorporate dioramas of key moments along the Trail as well as the geographic/geologic sites they will construct from the references to historically important tribal places, references to flora and fauna cited in the primary documents (journal entries by Corps of Discovery) and expressions of the human physiological response to the environment along the Trail. Students will be exposed to the astronomy technology (ex. Stellarium) and will interpose coordinates into the software program to replicate the night sky along the Trail and how this ancient ‘compass’ influenced movement of human beings across the planet as well as along the Trail.



The story of the Lewis and Clark Trail is more than one of a precursor to Manifest Destiny. It’s important to understand that two stories are being told here, that sovereign nations across the North Central and North Western reaches of what is now the United States all played a part in this narrative and are vital to the overall human experience that shaped the future of this country.



This lesson guides the student in the conceptual understanding of how raw data collection for mapping was done in the early 1800’s and now. It also brings to the fore-front how the Native tribes along the Trail contributed to the original data set in significant ways.



  • Four Corners for linguistic learners (Refer to page 98 of the cited document for details)
  • Choral Response for auditory learners (brain-based techniques)
  • Inside-Outside Circle for kinesthetic learners
  • Concept Maps for visual learners



  • Monitor student fluency in navigating the National Park Service mapping program.
  • Engage students in discussions concerning the night sky along the Trail and how the Stellarium program helps to visualize how the tribes along the Trail had used stars for navigation.
  • As student groups develop their timeline and 3-D dioramas, question their use of materials to convey the image of the Trail and why they selected certain tribal areas/places for their diorama scenes, how students selected certain plants and animals to depict along their timeline and why, and finally engage students in the understanding of the human physiological limits when subjected to the environmental elements encountered along the Trail.



  • Students will understand the significant contributions by Native peoples along the Lewis and Clark Trail to the success of the Corps of Discovery.
  • Students will create historically accurate depictions of the Trail using the assistance of National Park Service mapping applications.
  • Students will understand the navigation tools used by Native people as well as those of Lewis and Clark on their journey. A study of the stellar constellations will result in a sequenced ‘map’ along the latitude and longitude of the Trail.



  • Student constructed maps, time lines, and dioramas.
  • Student digital presentations of the Trail using Prezi or EdCanvas and incorporating the Stellarium program to show the constellations along the navigational coordinates from St. Louis to Fort Clatsop.



Share general advice drawn from personal stories about collaborating with tribal communities, particularly with elders and traditional cultural bearers often sought out to present in classes. Students will use the Document Analysis Guide to help them determine appropriate use of primary sources.