Virtual Field Trips

Distance Education—Electronic Field Trips

There have been many dramatic changes in the 200+ years since the Lewis and Clark’s Expedition first adventured through The Dalles. Who could have imagined back then that in such a short time we would go from traveling down the Columbia River by wooden canoe to driving at a speed of 65 mph on a paved highway? Even harder to fathom is the speed of the Internet and how technology has so quickly changed our lives — a change which allows us the opportunity to offer Electronic Field Trips with people from all over the world.

We are pleased to provide Interactive Video Conferences, connecting the viewer with experts and information available at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum. Students from elementary grades through college, as well as adult education and activity groups can all take advantage of our Distance Education program.

All it takes is an Internet connection for teachers and their students to start an  collaborating with museum staff and other classrooms throughout the Northwest and open up a whole new world of learning as lesson topics are explored. Programs are facilitated through the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC.org).

COST: Electronic Field Trip $125 (each)

The receiving site is responsible for any additional line or bridging charges. Please contact Robbie Smith, Director of Education, robbie@gorgediscovery.org or (541) 296-8600 ext. 209 for more information or for scheduling.


Virtual-Field-Trips-Mega-Mammals-1Lesson 1 – Mega Mammals, Huge Floods and the Ice Age in the Columbia River Gorge

Activity Details: Grades 4-12 
Content Areas – Science, Geography

This program has students examine different Ice Age theories.  They will also learn about the unique ice age mega mammals and theories of why they became extinct.  Students will also learn about the giant Ice Age Missoula floods which changed the landscape of the Columbia River Gorge forever.  The program will use student inquiry, slides, and props.

Program Details: Mega Mammals, Huge Floods and the Ice Age in the Columbia River Gorge


Virtual-Field-Trips-Cargo-Lewis-Clark-Expedition-1Lesson 2 – The Cargo of the Lewis and Clark Expeditions

Activity Details: Grades 4-10 
Content Areas – Science, Geography

This program will familiarize your students with the equipment and supplies that Lewis and Clark took on their historic journey. Using inquiry learning, students will interact with the instructor to explore the technology of the time by examining specific equipment and supplies taken by the Corps of Discovery over 200 years ago. Topics will include medicine, scientific instruments, Indian trading goods, camping equipment, arms and accessories, and clothing.

Program Details: The Cargo of the Lewis and Clark Expeditions


Virtual-Field-Trips-Lifecycle-Columbia-Slamon-1Lesson 3 – Lifecycle of the Columbia River Salmon

Activity Details: Grades 4-10
Content Areas – Science

Students will simulate the journey of a salmon down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean and back. Along their journey students will encounter the hazards that salmon face. Through interactive discussion, students will gain an understanding of the issues, problems, and possible solutions for maintaining the Columbia River salmon fishery.

Program Details: Lifecycle of the Columbia River Salmon


Virtual-Field-Trips-Dinner-In-The-Dalles-1Lesson 4 – Dinner in The Dalles: What plants and animals did Lewis and Clark eat while passing through the Columbia River Gorge?

Activity Details: Grades 4-10 
Content Areas – Social Studies, Math, and Science

What did Lewis and Clark eat as they passed through the Columbia River Gorge? This program uses the Lewis and Clark journey to explore the ecosystems of grassland-shrub, pine-oak woodland, riparian, and Douglas fir by sampling the plants and animals hunted or traded for to feed the Corps and maintain equipment while in the Columbia River Gorge near present-day The Dalles, Oregon. Students will be encouraged to think like a plant, or cope like a critter, as dinner at The Dalles is set on the table, much as Lewis and Clark would have dined on their journey in 1805-06.

Program Details: Dinner in The Dalles


Virtual-Field-Trips-Lewis-Clark-Geology-Gorge-1Lesson 5 – Lewis and Clark Rock and Roll: How did the geology of the Columbia River Gorge impact Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery?

Activity Details: Grades 4-10 
Content Areas – Social Studies, Math, and Science

As they rode their canoes down the Columbia River, Lewis and Clark were humbled by whirling constricted narrows, frothy boulder strewn rapids, and forceful winds that halted their progress. Explore the intersection between the geologic story of the Columbia Gorge and Lewis and Clark’s epic journey. What processes formed the long and short narrows, Celilo Falls, and the Grande Chute of the Columbia? What causes the persistent wind? Students will gain appreciation of both the power of nature and the fortitude of the Corps of Discovery.

Program Details: Lewis and Clark Rock and Roll


Virtual-Field-Trips-Raptors-1Lesson 6 –Live Bird Show-Raptors of the Columbia River Gorge

Activity Details: Grades K-12 
Content Areas – Science

This is a “live” bird show featuring a variety of birds of prey found in the Columbia River Gorge which may include eagles, owls, hawks, and falcons.  Student will learn how birds of prey hunt, their unique characteristics, and other interesting and educational information about these remarkable creatures.

Program Details: Live Bird Show-Raptors of the Columbia River Gorge


Virtual-Field-Trips-Surviving-the-Oregon-Trail-1Lesson 7- Surviving the Oregon Trail:  What should we take

Activity Details: Grades 3-12 
Content Areas – Social Studies, Science

This program looks at the decisions that emigrants had to make as they prepared to cross the continent on the Oregon Trail. Students will become familiar with the supplies and equipment needed to cross the America continent successfully in wagons in the 1840’s. Using inquiry learning, students will evaluate which items were essential for survival and which items were luxuries.

Program Details: Surviving the Oregon Trail: What should we take?


Virtual-Field-Trips-Opening-The-West-1Lesson 8 – Opening the West: From Lewis and Clark to the Oregon Trail

Activity Details: Grades 4-12 
Content Areas – Social Studies

This interactive program will look at the contributions and impact of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and other groups that came West. Students will explore various motivations to enter the American West and contributions to the settling of the Western frontier. The program will conclude with a presentation and discussion of the Oregon Trail Migration.

Program Details: Opening the West: From Lewis and Clark to the Oregon Trail


Virtual-Field-Trips-Men-and-Women-of-Expedition-1Lesson 9 – The Men and Woman of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Activity Details: Grades 2-12 
Content Areas – Social Studies

This program looks into the lives of those who shaped history and geography by being members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Students will explore some of the key and interesting members of the Corps of Discovery. They will examine what skills these individuals brought to the expedition and how their skills made the epic trip successful. Students will also learn about the personalities of the explorers, as well as find out what happened to the members after the completion of the expedition.

Program Details: The Men and Woman of the Lewis and Clark Expedition


Decision at The DallesLesson 10 -Decision at The Dalles

Activity Details: Grades 2-12 
Content Areas – Social Studies

In this interactive program students will have to decide on two routes to Oregon City. Students will learn some of the basic considerations of traveling on the Oregon Trail. They will become members of a wagon train that has reach The Dalles and now must assess their condition including amount of food, money, livestock, and ill members. Students will explore the idea of floating down the Columbia River on rafts and taking the Barlow Road. Along the way they will face many hazards. After going both ways students will determine which route would have been better for their wagon train. The program use dice to determine impact of the different hazards.


 Chief JosephLesson 11 – Chief Joseph: An American Hero

Activity Details: Grades 2-12 
Content Areas – Social Studies

Chief Joseph was one of America’s best known Native American leaders. This program explores Chief Joseph’s legacy and contributions to American and Native American History. Students will learn about the Nez Perce way of life before Euro American contact. Student will be exposed to the Treaty Era of Northwest Tribes. Student then will be walked through the Nez Perce War of 1877 where Chief Joseph’s band was able to outfight and outsmart the United States Army even though being great outnumbered and less equipped. Student then will learn about Chief Joseph’s life after the war and his contributions to the Native American legacy.


Virtual-Field-Trips-Video-Conferencing-Teachers-WorkshopLesson 12 – Free Teacher Workshop:
Video conference programs from the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center

This free half-hour program introduces distance learning topics from the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum to your teachers. You will be able to sample images and content from two or three lessons (you pick the topics from the program list – just let us know your choices), and ask questions. This is a helpful way to become familiar with videoconferencing and/or to discover which lessons work best with your curriculum


Help us improve our distance learning activities. Complete an online evaluation.