Lewis & Clark: The Louisiana Purchase
Lewis & Clark: The Louisiana Purchase

Lewis & Clark: The Louisiana Purchase

I can describe the importance of the Louisiana Purchase.

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This is the first lesson in a series of lessons about Lewis and Clark. In this lesson, students learn all about Western Expansion by Europeans and how this led up to The Louisiana Purchase. The pros and cons of Western Expansion are discussed, as well as the importance of the Mississippi River and the city of New Orleans. Finally, students are introduced to the concept of Manifest Destiny.

Learning Objective

Students will be able to describe the importance of the Louisiana Purchase.


To start off this lesson, students read a letter from President Jefferson to James Monroe urging him to meet with Napoleon Bonaparte. Introduce the “Age of Exploration” to your students. Teach them about European explorers and their claim to different territories of North America. Engage students using a territory labeling activity and in a discussion of the pros and cons of Western Expansion.


List the positive and negative effects of the Age of Exploration including the wiping out of indigenous people and the introduction of the slave trade. Explain who the frontiersmen were and Introduce the important land features of North America during this time: the Appalachian Mountains, the Ohio River Valley, the Mississippi River, and New Orleans.

Discuss the efforts of Roberto Livingston and James Monroe as well as Napoleon Bonaparte and The Louisiana Purchase. Have the class split up into 3 groups to discuss and recap what they learned. Finally, introduce the idea of homesteading and Manifest Destiny.


Students respond to ten multiple-choice and true/false questions.


Close the lesson with a Spin the Wheel activity in which students will take turns naming important landmarks and locations on a map.

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