AGE OF EXPLORATION (Lessons 1-10/100) American/U.S. History Curriculum

AGE OF EXPLORATION (Lessons 1-10/100) American/U.S. History Curriculum
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Supplement the textbook and eliminate prep time with these 10 ready-to-use reproducible U.S. history lessons that make it fun to learn about the Age of Exploration.

Your 5th or 6th graders will enjoy a wide variety of high-interest activities for individuals, small groups, or the entire class. Among other things, class members will have fun playing The Explorers Game and To Tell The Truth: Hernando Cortes!

Most lessons have four or five activity sheets and can be finished in one or two class periods. Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key provided for each lesson. A majority of the lessons include a 20-question follow-up quiz. The quizzes can also be given as homework assignments or review exercises. Most of the information-filled lessons are able to be used without a textbook.

LESSON/ACTIVITY TITLES (1-10 of 100)
  1. Map Exercise: Europe Trades with the East
  2. The First Americans
  3. The Explorers Game
  4. Explorers Come to the New World
  5. Christopher Columbus
  6. To Tell the Truth: Hernando Cortes
  7. Reading: The Voyage of Magellan
  8. The Trading Game
  9. The Game of Mercantilism
10. Crossword Puzzle: The Age of Exploration

Detailed descriptions of these lessons are provided below.


LESSON 1. Map Exercise: Europe Trades with the East

OBJECTIVE:
To become familiar with the events which led to the discovery of the New World.

TIME:
2 class periods

This has been a very popular map exercise. Students draw, print, label, write, and trace on a large 2-page map.

This map exercise shows the trade routes that Europeans used long ago to acquire products of the Far East.

Class members become familiar with the events which led to the discovery of the New World.

Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.


LESSON 2. The First Americans

OBJECTIVE:
To understand the role of the Indians in the settlement and early history of the present-day United States.

TIME:
2 class periods

In this lesson, students have a variety of fun things to do.

Begin by reading with the class the background information. This is followed by a series of questions to help students develop critical thinking skills. Answers can be discussed at the beginning of the second class period.

Next, the "artists" in class will enjoy making sketches that show contributions of the Indians to American civilization.

For those class members who like competition, there is a contest that never fails to get everyone excited.

Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.


LESSON 3. The Explorers Game

OBJECTIVE::
To understand how developments in Europe led to the establishment of colonial empires in North America and South America.

TIME:
2 class periods

Students begin by reading about the events which made it possible for Europeans to discover and colonize the New World. This background information is followed by a Map Skills exercise, True/False questions, and Completion questions.

The class is then divided into small groups for the playing of THE EXPLORERS GAME. Players will hope to cross the Atlantic Ocean without experiencing a bad storm, a shortage of food, or some other hardship. Each group will have a winner.

The lesson ends with students doing a fun map exercise that locates colonial empires in the New World.

Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.


LESSON 4. Explorers Come to the New World

OBJECTIVE::
To become familiar with the parts of the world explored by the leading European sea captains.

TIME:
2 class periods

This lesson begins with a map exercise that requires class members to use their textbook or an atlas to correctly identify continents, countries, bodies of water, and other areas. You can have the students work individually, or in pairs. Mine love to work in pairs.

Next, there is a Mapwork section that includes a chart with information about fifteen famous explorers of the New World. Starting with Christopher Columbus, students will print the last names of the explorers in boxes on the map, which are located near the areas explored by each person.

The most exciting part of this lesson is THE CONCENTRATION GAME! The class is divided into two teams. Points are scored by remembering which explorers discovered which places in the New World. Complete game rules are provided on the lesson pages.

Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.


LESSON 5. Christopher Columbus

OBJECTIVE::
To analyze the contests of the letter written by Christopher Columbus describing his first voyage to America.

TIME:
1 class period

Begin this lesson by reading with the class the introductory paragraphs about Christopher Columbus. This is followed by a primary source reading selection that contains five excerpts from a letter written by Columbus to a Spanish official in 1493.

After reading each excerpt, students must answer five true/false questions based on the information written by Columbus.

This activity concludes with a fun contest during which class members will work to complete a series of 25 sentences by rearranging scrambled letters to form a key word or name. As soon as each student completes all 25 sentences, they give their paper to the teacher. If a student makes one or more mistakes, they are eliminated from the contest. The first ten people to correctly unscramble all of the words win the contest.

Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.


LESSON 6. To Tell the Truth: Hernando Cortes

OBJECTIVE::
To become familiar with the expedition of the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes.

TIME:
35 minutes

Three class members are chosen to pretend they are Hernando Cortes. They will stand next to each other in the front of the room facing the class.

Fourteen other students are chosen to ask one question each during the game. They will be given a number from 1 to 14. This is the number of the question that they will ask when the game begins. Questions will be asked in order starting with the student who has number 1.

For every question asked, the three Hernando Corteses will each give an answer. Cortes “number 1” will always answer first, “number 2” second, and “number 3” third. Only one of the three is really Hernando Cortes. The real one will always tell the truth when answering a question. The other two Corteses will say many things which are not true. After all questions have been asked, class members will vote for the person they think is the real Hernando Cortes.

This game is played like a television game show. As the teacher, you are the “MC,” or Master of Ceremonies. The three Corteses will be called contestant “Number 1,” “Number 2,” and “Number 3.” The people who ask questions are called “panelists.” After a panelist asks a question, all three Corteses will answer before the next panelist asks a question.

After all of the questions have been asked of the three Hernando Corteses in the front of the room, class members will vote for the person they think is the "real" Cortes.

SPECIAL NOTE:
At the beginning of the period, when I ask for three class members to volunteer to be Hernando Cortes, almost every hand goes up. I have found that TO TELL THE TRUTH games are very popular.

Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.


LESSON 7. Reading: The Voyage of Magellan

OBJECTIVE::
To recognize the abilities and accomplishments of the greatest navigator of the Age of Exploration.

TIME:
1 class period

Class members read a story about Ferdinand Magellan, who was considered to be the greatest navigator of the Age of Exploration. Magellan was the first person to sail around the world.

After reading the story, each student answers questions which require them to think critically, make comparisons, and draw conclusions based upon what they have read.

There is also a fun map exercise which locates places seen by Magellan during his voyage.

This lesson ends with students competing against each other to sea who is the fastest to connect dots on a world map that traces the route taken by Magellan. THERE IS NO OTHER CONTEST LIKE THIS ONE!

Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.


LESSON 8. The Trading Game

OBJECTIVE::
To understand the role played by joint-stock companies in the development of trade and the establishment of colonies in the New World.

TIME:
1 class period

Begin by reading with the class the background information about how capitalism grew rapidly in Europe during the Age of Exploration.

Next, class members will enjoy playing THE TRADING GAME. Students pretend it is the 1600s and 1700s, and that they have invested in businesses called joint-stock companies. These companies will send ships to Africa, the Indies, and America. Class members will invest in these trading companies with the hope that their ships will sail to distant lands, and return to Europe with valuable products that will be sold at a profit for the investors.

Some student investors will make money, and some will lose money.

SPECIAL NOTE:
My students really have fun with this game. Expect exciting moments!

Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.


LESSON 9. The Game of Mercantilism

OBJECTIVE::
To understand the effect of mercantilism on European countries and their colonies.

TIME:
2 class periods

Begin by reading with the class the background information about the growth of trade between Europe and other parts of the world as a result of the Age of Exploration. Students then need about 15 minutes to answer a series of Thought Questions, which help to develop critical thinking skills. Briefly discuss their answers.

Next, the class is divided into 5 teams -- Portugal, Spain, France, England, and The Netherlands -- for the playing of THE GAME OF MERCANTILISM. The object of the game is for each country to gain control over trade in various products from around the world. These products, which are shown on a map on the last page of the lesson, were carried to Europe by merchant ships during the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s -- the period of mercantilism. A complete list of Game Rules is provided on the lesson pages.

Easy-to-follow Teacher Instructions and answer key included, along with a 20-question follow up quiz to measure student progress. The quiz can also be given as a homework assignment.


LESSON 10. Crossword Puzzle: The Age of Exploration

OBJECTIVE:
To review the people, places, and terms related to the Age of Exploration.

TIME:
1 class period

Class members enjoy working on a Crossword Puzzle on the Age of Exploration.

You may want to give each student the option of working individually or with one other person of their choice.

GAME OPTION:
This lesson can also be presented in the form of a game involving the entire class. Divide the class into two teams. Start by asking Team 1 to give the answer to any one of the questions on the crossword. If a member of Team 1 gives a correct answer, that team earns 10 points. If Team 1 gives a wrong answer, Team 2 has a chance to answer any one of the questions on the puzzle. Teams 1 and 2 will take turns giving answers, and the same person cannot answer twice in a row for their team. Class members should fill in correct answers on the puzzle as they are given. The team that scores the most points wins the game.

The Crossword Puzzle is based on information in previous lessons. It is challenging and fun.

Teacher Instructions and answer key included.
Total Pages
59 pages
Answer Key
Included
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