After Philadelphia, we took a few weeks off of big, organized activities, but today we were at it again. We're up to the beginning of the 19th century and we've been reading a lot about Lewis and Clark (and their Newfoundland dog, Seamen). So, I thought maybe we could draw a really big map and mark the milestones of their trip.
We started with some maps I found on the Internet, like here and here and here.
Then we laid out three strips of paper that we got from a friend (they were leftover rolls from a printing press) and taped them both to the floor and to each other.
Then, mostly using the first map as a guide, we tried to sketch out a map of North America, and the route that Lewis and Clark took from Saint Louis to Fort Clatsop and back.
I had printed the map at 150%, and so it measured about 4.5 inches high by about 6.5 inches wide. We decided to scale it from 1 inch to 1 foot. So one of the kids drew the East Coast from Maine to Florida (about 6.5 feet high and about 1 foot wide). Meanwhile, two other kids started from the other side, after we measured the span of the continent (more or less).
None of it came out exactly perfect, but in under an hour we had a pretty good map.
Then we used the Timeline from the PBS Lewis and Clark movie as a guide to marking the landmark events along their trip, with each kid reading a couple and then others marking the actual spots (or as close as we could get them) on the map.
Along the way we talked about slavery, and how it didn't seem fair that Clark didn't free his slave, York, even after York had saved his life several times.
We talked about Sacajawea and how Lewis used ground rattlesnake rattles to speed the delivery of her son. And then about how Clark drew graffiti at one spot along the trail (that can still be seen today).
I asked my son afterwards what he thought of the whole thing and he said it was awesome, so I guess it was OK.