2. Geologic Formations

(This is the Learning Episode 2 for Carmelita Lamb’s teaching unit, Tribal Legacies of Pathfinding.)

Note to Teachers

Here is where the actual construction of the timeline really begins to unfold. The timeline becomes the repository for all the data that the students have collected on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The timeline should be divided into ‘chunks’ of time that each group becomes directly responsible for creating. It involves science, history, culture, and art in an overall product that truly immerses each student in this great story. For the best experience, a place should be devoted to this piece that allows for continued work by the class. As it begins to take shape students ‘think’ about how their section can be more true to life and find objects from any number of sources to put on the timeline that will add to the science, history and culture of the overall project.


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 first-hand journal entries from the Corps of Discovery found on the website (student groups should select certain dates along the timeline of this expedition and tailor their investigations around that particular time in the historical record).
  • Compare the understandings of physical location during the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to modern locating systems.
  • Research ways in which he/she can make a map of a location along the Trail which is closest to their home.
  • Depict a 3 dimensional model of geographic places along the Trail upon their timeline from Teaching 1 which holds tribal/spiritual significance.
  • Present their updated timeline with 3-dimensional formations to the class with explanations of tribal places of significance.



  • What are the greatest geologic challenges that were encountered on the trail?
  • How did the exploration team negotiate these natural obstacles?
  • What did they learn from the Indian people who were with them with regard to sacred places?



  • Model making materials 2-D/3-D (paper, paint, rulers, clay, paper mache supplies, quick set plaster (the type used for making a cast on broken limbs of humans and animals works best; it is meshed and dries quickly), tree branches, leaves, any or all things that will add to the richness of the diorama). Students should be free to explore their own creative imaginations in developing this comprehensive art-science project!



  • 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 will refer to their work in Teaching 1 and deepen their knowledge by studying the major geological formations along the Trail and the challenges that may have been associated with those formations. The timeline serves as a seasonal reference point, which together with the geology of the Trail makes a contextual connection for students with regard to navigation along the Trail by the Corps of Discovery.



Design modes tie back to the CCS defined in the Unit. Focused instruction will occur in the development of student skills in researching the geology of the Trail and the inclusion of seasonal changes most likely to have occurred as the traveler migrated west. Students will incorporate the traditional names of critical tribal sites into their depiction of the geologic formation on the timeline from Teaching 1.



Students will be mindful of how the geology of the Lewis and Clark Trail has changed yet remained the same over time. A written reflection of their thoughts should be part of this unit and included in the overall Power point, Prezi, EdCanvas or whichever means of presentation platform they select to showcase their knowledge of this subject.



It is important to recognize the importance and significance of the original names and include them as reference points when studying the Trail. Although the places have remained the same, the traditional names associated with the tribal lands traveled upon by the Corps of Discovery have been superimposed upon by the names given by non-Native visitors.



  • Four Corners for linguistic learners
  • Choral Response for auditory learners (brain-based techniques)
  • Inside-Outside Circle for kinesthetic learners
  • Flow Maps for visual learners



  • Monitor student fluency in using 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 geologically accurate models of tribally significant places along the Trail.
  • Students will understand the significance of how the new Euro-based names assigned to Indian traditional places affected the tribal groups’ sense of place along the Trail.
  • Students will research the navigation tools used by the explorers in their attempt to develop a map of the Trail.
  • Students will compare the mapping techniques of Native people with those of Lewis and Clark.
  • Students may include screen capture information from Stellarium to support the comparison of European-Native mapping techniques.



  • Student constructed maps, timelines, and dioramas.
  • Student digital presentations of the Trail (ex. Prezi) 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 (found in the Support Materials section) to help them determine appropriate use of primary sources.



  • Photos of Students Making Geologic Formations