Thursday, 12 February 2015

Studying the Louisiana Purchase

We have completed our history unit studying the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, and Sacagawea!  I thought I would show you some of the resources I used since I create my own history program for the children
The kids read books on Sacagawea.  Of  the two,  The Girl of the Shining Mountains is a far better book.  This is the second and probably last time I will used the books Childhood of famous America.  I find them lacking in historical accuracies and I find that very irritating.  

We watched 2 documentaries on the Lewis and Clark expeditions, one on netflix but by far this is the better one!

I really enjoyed this book and the children and I read it together.  I highly recommend it!

We also used these books to learn about Thomas Jefferson and his presidency!

Some additional resources that we used 
If you haven't discovered hip hughes history videos or crash course history on You tube you should check them out as they often have 10-15 minutes clips on topics that are fun for the kids to watch and introduce the basic concepts of the period!  We have enjoyed them and often start each new topic with those videos!

There are actually two museums on the Lewis and Clark expedition in our area.  One in St Charles which the kids and I visited this summer and I wrote about a it on this post. However to to wrap up our unit we took a Field trip to the Westward museum which is located under the arch in St Louis!

There is a fabulous timeline for this area and beyond and I took notes for future history lessons that I need to learn more about

Some of the many items the men took with them to trade with the Indians.
 The thing we read about and heard about in the videos were about the coins or medals that Lewis and Clark handed over to the Indians as a symbol of the great New Chief in Washington DC -- Thomas Jefferson.  I found this part of the museum the most fascinating as I did not know there were such coins dating back to King George III all the way up to President James Buchanan
Different size coins were made and which coin you were given depended on the status you had within your tribe or band of Indians the men met along the way

All the coins for this trip had on one side the clasp hands representing the USA and the Indians and the peace pipe with the axe.  The other side of the coin was a picture of Thomas Jefferson

I was shocked that as late as 1861 one of the designs had a picture of Scalping Indians on the back of the James Buchanan is not surprising that the Indians took great exception to this coin!

We are moving on to learn about the War of 1812 and the presidency of James Madison!


  1. This is fascinating and a part of history about which I know very little. It certainly wasn't on my English history curriculum! Thank you for sharing these resources-I ought to dip into some of them,

  2. Great ideas!! You put together great study units :)

  3. History was always one of my favorite subjects and I love the books that you are studying. I love that you took a field trip to support the teachings. I really liked learning about the cones.
    Happy Valentines and blessings to all!