Lesson Plan

In this map-based lesson, students learn the historic importance of the Mississippi River and why the U.S. was determined to maintain access. They find out how the United States acquired the land that made up the Louisiana Purchase—and just how little anyone knew about that land before handing over the purchase price!


  • Describe how and why the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory.
  • Draw and compare early boundary guesses with boundaries established by later treaties.
  • Identify and label major geographic features related to the Louisiana Purchase.


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