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Lewis and Clark
(1804-1806)

Lewis and Clark: A New World (Natural History)



Lewis and Clark: A New World (Natural History)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.15

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bitterroot, bulk, camas, condor, deerhorn, eulachon, flush, grazed, keelboat, lodgepole, ponderosa, species, subalpine, travelers, voyagers, whitebark
     content words:    President Thomas Jefferson, President Jefferson, Nez Perce


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Lewis and Clark: A New World (Natural History)
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Do you groan at the idea of a long road trip? If so, you wouldn't have wanted to go with Lewis and Clark. They spent two and a half years "on the road." President Thomas Jefferson sent a team of thirty-five explorers on the trip. The name of the group was the Corps (core) of Discovery.
 
2     To get ready for the journey, Lewis went back to school. He worked hard. He learned how to use the stars for telling direction. He learned about pressing plant samples, or specimens, on paper. He studied the animal kingdom. He even learned about fossils! President Jefferson had asked him to watch for signs of animals that were extinct.
 
3     These voyagers were not on vacation. Their trip was hard work. There weren't even any roads where they were going! First they traveled by keelboat, a large boat for hauling freight. Later they went by canoe, horseback, and on foot. Exploring was a big job. Almost every day the travelers made maps and wrote notes. From their journals, Americans would learn about the newest part of their nation.
 
4     What a wealth of discoveries this team made! They found hundreds of plants and animals that scientists didn't know about. Wherever the explorers went, they studied the area around them. Even in dangerous places they took note of what they saw.
 
5     Once, the Corps got lost in the mountains. Everyone was cold and hungry. Men and horses fell down the steep slopes. Still, Clark writes "...country is thickly covered with ...pine of which I [counted] 8 species..." Clark saw four different kinds of pine. These were whitebark pine, lodgepole pine, western white pine, and ponderosa pine. He had also found Englemann spruce, subalpine and grand fir, and western red cedar. Scientists learned about these trees for the first time from Clark's notes.

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