William Clark was born on August 1, 1770, on his family’s Virginia plantation. At age 14, Clark moved from Virginia to Louisville, Kentucky. Five years later, in 1789, Clark joined the militia to help fight the Native Americans in the Ohio Valley. After becoming an officer in the US Army, Clark retired from service and went back to Virginia to manage his family’s estate.
Exploring the West with Meriwether Lewis
In 1803, Clark’s life would change. After Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, in which America acquired thousands of miles of land west of the Mississippi River, Meriwether Lewis, one of Clark’s army comrades, invited him to collaborate on an expedition across the new land. Their mission was not only to explore the new land, establish friendly relations with Indians, and to discover new animals and plants, but to find the elusive Northwest Passage. Clark agreed and was made responsible for the expedition’s records and mapmaking.
Series of 1910 $10 Bill Honoring Lewis and Clark
Roles Following the Adventure
Along with Meriwether Lewis, William Clark spent over two years exploring the new frontier. After successfully establishing Fort Clatsop, Oregon, and after discovering over 300 new species of animals and plants, the pair returned. Clark was appointed principal Indian agent and brigadier general of the Louisiana Militia by Thomas Jefferson. After the deaths of Meriwether Lewis and Sacagawea, Clark adopted her children and became governor of the Missouri Territory in 1813. After an unsuccessful bid for governor of Missouri, Clark was made superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1822. He held that position until his death on September 1, 1838.
Lewis and Clark Interactive - This section provides an interactive map of the Lewis and Clark route to the Pacific. Simply click and learn! Perfect as an introduction to the expedition or for younger kids.
Sacagawea Reading Comprehension - Online - This resource includes a historical passage and ten multiple choice questions. It gives immediate feedback. In addition, when you click the "listen" button, you can hear the passage while it highlights the text.
Lewis and Clark Correct-me Passage - This fun activity requires students to correct a passage about Lewis and Clark that has nine factual errors. Students first must discover the errors, then click on them and select the correct answer from the drop down menu.
Lewis and Clark - The Dynamic Duo - This printable exercise requires students to compare Lewis and Clark to other "dynamic duos" in literature, movies, or even sports.
Lewis and Clark - The Climb - This printout requires students to consider a time when they thought they were at the cusp of finishing something great, only to learn there was MUCH more work to do - ALA Miley Cyrus.
The Lost Journal Pages of Lewis and Clark! - When Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore the vast Louisiana Territory, he had visions that they'd find exotic creatures such as wholly mammoths and undiscovered landforms such as mountains made of salt. While Lewis and Clark discovered over three hundred species of animals and plants, and even sent a magpie and prairie dog as pets to Thomas Jefferson, they never found the kind of creatures that legends are made of (though they did find massive grizzly bears). What if Lewis and Clark actually did discover an unworldly plant, animal, and landform, but those pages were somehow lost from Lewis’ journal forever when their keelboat capsized? In the spaces provided below, use your imagination to name, draw, and describe these lost discoveries.
A Long-lost Picture of Sacagawea - Did you know that there are no known drawings of depictions of Sacagawea? All of the images you see of her today are simply guesses. This activity shows three different depictions of Sacagawea and challenges students to author their own "authentic" sketch of Sacagawea.
Sacagawea - the Unsung Hero - This activity explains the idea of Sacagawea as an unsung hero. Students must then write about an unsung hero they select from movies, literature, sports, or their own lives.