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Students revisit Lewis and Clark

‘Lewis and Clark Day’ events give students an education in teamwork and 19th century life at Valenci

Posted: June 6, 2009 5:30 p.m.
Updated: June 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Fifth-grader Dominic Carrillo tries to carry a load of "tools" in a relay race called "Grab Those Supplies."

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Standing on two long, thin pieces of wood, four fifth-grade students held pieces of rope in each hand and worked together to lift and move the boards across the grassy field, racing against other fifth-grade students at Valencia Meadows Park on Friday.

“Get them closer together,” one of the students said, hoping her teammates’ legs and feet would move in unison to slide the boards along the grass.

The kids found a rhythm and began chanting “left, right, left!” and quickly moved ahead of the competing team.

Under cloudy skies, the students used their imaginations — as well as their wood-and-rope accoutrements, designed to make walking more difficult — to transport themselves to the beginning of the 19th century.

The kids were learning to travel as Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their Corps of Discovery did from 1804 to 1806 during a historic trek from a spot near Hartford, Ill. to the Pacific Ocean, which was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson.

The activity was designed by their fifth-grade teachers to mimic the struggles of Lewis and Clark’s tough cross-country trip.

The team of four was part of 130 fifth-graders from Meadows Elementary School who took part in the school’s “Lewis and Clark Day,” said Patricia Porter, the fifth-grade social studies teacher.

“It’s a fun, hands-on way to learn about living history,” said Amy Dobry, one of the fifth-grade teachers who organized the event.

The students were joined by 25 parents who set up stations and led lessons for the students.

The all-day event included a lunch break where students feasted on “buffalo burgers” and snacks.

Friday marked the fifth year Meadows Elementary School hosted “Lewis and Clark Day” for its fifth-graders.

In small groups, students rotated through 12 stations spread over Valencia Meadows Park. Students got a visit from Sacagawea, the American Indian woman who helped Lewis and Clark. The students also built origami canoes from paper and played a fishing game.

Audrey McIntosh’s team won the crossing-of-the-mountains exercise on the two boards.

Audrey, 11, reflected on how hard it would be to go through mountains on foot.

“Imagine how hard it would be to go up and down,” she said.

“It helps you learn a little bit more,” Audrey said.

Lewis and Clark Day has grown steadily in size over the years to become an end-of-the-year event the fifth-grade students look forward to.

“The kids love it,” Porter said.



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