History Mystery: The Death of Meriwether Lewis

Post date: Nov 23, 2014 7:18:20 PM

*This is part 3 of my chronicle of my latest history mystery. For more background you can read part 1 and part 2.

My 8th History Mystery is complete... mostly. There is still the small step of actually printing out the exhibits, creating the physical posters and, you know, doing the activity. The main design work though is finished.

Here are the finished parts:

Exhibits [PPT / PDF ] Investigation Journal [PPT / PDF]

I ended up making significant changes from my original plans. The first exhibit I completed (excerpts from Lewis' journals) ended up getting cut from the final lab. I've kept them in the file as a "maybe someday" type thing but for all intents and purposes they are gone. I've also greatly shifted the focus away from the Neely letter as I found there was just way too much text in the lab for a single class period. The letter is still there and referenced repeatedly but it certainly is not the focus as I thought it would be.

To be honest, I'm not quite feeling this lab yet. I was very excited about it at first but I feel like something may have been lost in translation from story to lab. I think my students will enjoy it and I think it will serve as a great jumping off point for many discussions we wouldn't have otherwise had but something just still seems missing and I really can't put my finger on it. Maybe it will feel better once I see all the exhibits in their full created glory and not just as text on a screen. I hope.

I ended up with two video exhibits which will be posted available through Youtube (assuming they get past the copyright robot overlords). Neither exhibit is actually necessary to the case. The first video essentially replaces the journals exhibit and provides basically the same information - though in a very different perspective. It is a ballistics test using a replica of Lewis' gun. The second is a bit more important and shows that Neely lied in his original letter about his whereabouts. I think that puts an interesting twist to the investigation but certainly not a vital one.

Exhibit A

Exhibit H

I'll be doing the lab in a few weeks and I'll update this post then with the outcome. Hopefully it all works out!