Adrienne Sawyer
Computer Science, American History
Material Type:
Middle School
CPS, Chesapeake Public Schools, Computer Science, GoVA, LCPS, Lewis and Clark, Loudoun County Public Schools, Social Studies, Virginia Computer Science Pipeline Grant, Virginia K-12 Computer Science Pipeline, virginia-k-12-computer-science-pipeline
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
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Education Standards (4)

Exploring with Lewis and Clark

Exploring with Lewis and Clark


This lesson is part of the Virginia K-12 Computer Science Pipeline which is partly funded through a GO Virginia grant in partnership with Chesapeake Public Schools, Loudoun County Public Schools, and the Loudoun Education Foundation.  In this lesson, students take on the role of a reporter traveling with Lewis and Clark.  Students program an Ozobot to travel along the path and pause at key sites as students report inportant findings and share artifacts from the expedition.  


Virginia K-12 Computer Science Pipeline

Exploring with Lewis and Clark

Timeframe: Two - Three days


USI.8 The student will apply social science skills to understand westward expansion and reform in America from 1801 to 1861 by

a) describing territorial expansion and how it affected the political map of the United States, with emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the acquisitions of Florida, Texas, Oregon, and California;

CS 6.1  The student will construct programs to accomplish a task as a means of creative expression or scientific exploration using a block based or text based programming language, both independently and collaboratively,

a. combining control structures such as if-statements and loops; and

b. creating clearly named variables that represent different data types, including numeric and non-numeric data, and perform operations on their values.

CS 6.2 The student will trace programs to predict outcomes and debug (correct and improve) for correctness.

CS 6.3 The student will seek and incorporate feedback from team members and users to refine a program that meets user needs.

Essential Skills

CS 6.2 Test and debug their own programs.

  • Test and debug programs written by others.
  • Predict the outcome or output of a program by examining the written code.

 CS.3 Work collaboratively with peers to review programs and adjust to meet intended outcomes.

  • Incorporate feedback into a program or the design of a computational artifact.
  • Analyze refined program to determine if it meets the intended outcomes as well as the end-user needs.

Essential Question

What was the importance of Lewis and Clark’s expedition?

Teacher Background

Students may use an Ozobot (or similar robot) in this lesson.  If robots are used, teachers will need to know how to troubleshoot and program the robots.  

Lesson Preparation

Create an artifact box with various artifacts to show students.  Artifacts may include items that Lewis and Clark collected and described as they reported to Thomas Jefferson.

Suggested Prior Instruction

Students need prior experience working with Ozobots. 


The goal of this phase is to capture students’ attention and interest for the purpose of preparing them for learning content and/or practices.

Teacher Directions

Additional Notes

Introduce students to Lewis and Clark’s expedition. Show an artifact box to students. Pull out two artifacts that Lewis and Clark would have collected and/or described to Thomas Jefferson. 

Explain that students will create an interactive map using an Ozobot.  The Ozobot will travel along the route Lewis and Clark took, pausing along the way for students to show and describe artifacts they find important.

Another robot may be used in place of the Ozobot.  Students may also create a large classroom sized map for students to physically travel on as they discover artifacts along the way.


The exploration phase provides concrete experiences where students investigate phenomena, observe patterns, and/or encounter discrepant events that build upon knowledge and practices from the Engage Phase.

Teacher Directions

Additional Notes

  • Instruct students to create a map from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest highlighting the trail that Lewis and Clark travelled and label places visited.  They will create artifacts representing the importance of the sites. 
  • Hand out 2 pieces of 11”x17” paper to draw the map on.
  • Review block coding of Ozobot Evo and how to download the program to the robot. 
  • Review that 1 step equals 1cm.
  • Create a block code to instruct the Ozobot Evo to travel on the map making sure to follow the highlighted trail of Lewis and Clark.  Have students build “Pausing” blocks for each of the places Lewis and Clark visited.  During the pause, students will present artifacts as they take on the role of a reporter that was sent with Lewis and Clark They may also publish their reports in a newspaper format.

Students may work in small groups.

As reporters, they will include animals, plants, Native American culture, geography, and weather conditions experienced during their expedition.



The essential knowledge and practices with which students engaged and explored, are now made clear and comprehensible.  This is also an opportunity for students to explain their understanding of the concept or practices.

Teacher Directions

Additional Notes

Students will present their maps and artifacts to the class.



The intention is to facilitate the transfer of concepts and abilities to related, but new situations.

Teacher Directions

Additional Notes

Students will compare traveling as Lewis and Clark did to traveling today, including changes due to computer science. 



The intention is for students to reflect on their new learning.

Teacher Directions

Additional Notes

Students will reflect on their understanding of Lewin and Clark’s expedition.  The teacher will assess student presentations.