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Great Falls, Great Beauty, Great Difficulty: The Lewis and Clark Expedition and Diligence

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • What were Lewis’s and Clark’s identities during this part of their voyage?
  • What were Lewis’s and Clark’s purposes during the journey?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Read a narrative about the Lewis and Clark expedition at the point at which they arrive at the Great Falls of the Missouri River and subsequently portage around them.
  • Identify the steps Lewis and Clark took to overcome this difficulty.
  • Discuss the specific ways that Lewis and Clark’s actions in planning and implementing the unexpected portage demonstrated diligence.
  • Analyze the influence of Lewis and Clark’s diligence on the other members of the expedition, and subsequently on the United States during this stage of its development as a nation.
  • Have students compare themselves and their individual circumstances to Lewis and Clark and the members of their expeditionary team.

Student Handouts