In this interactive unit, students will study about the European explorers
that voyaged to the Americas in search of the Northwest Passage. Then, they’ll learn about the Dutch colonization of New York. Finally, they’ll investigate how New York developed into an English colony. Throughout their lessons, students will work in small groups, independently, and as a whole class. Each lesson has been designed to be interactive, hands-on and engaging.
Throughout the unit, students will be working on and adding to their Learning Folders (kind of like a lapbook). The Learning Folder is filled with interactive shapes and printables. The Learning Folder is perfect because it’s not only engaging, it’s also an easy place where students can store all their work in one place…plus if you use interactive notebooks in your classroom, you can easily add all the Learning Folder resources into notebooks.
This unit is designed to make learning FUN!
So, not only will students be creating their Learning Folders filled with mini-books, flipbooks, and interactive timelines, they’ll also be participating in games and even a play. In this unit students play “Who Am I?” – a game modeled after “Headbands” with a European explorer and “Contributions Pictionary” – a game where students illustrate Dutch contributions. They also read and participate in a play that depicts how New York become an English colony.
As an added bonus, this unit promotes ELA and Social Studies integration. Students have the opportunity to read and interpret nonfiction texts throughout the unit. At the end of this unit students will have a strong understanding of the Europeans that Came to New York and the first colonies that developed there.
Unit Activities and Resources:
Students learn critical information about the Age of Exploration including the reasons for, dangers of, and tools used during the Europeans’ explorations. Students work in small groups to share background facts and add details to their Learning Folders.
All About Explorers:
First, students make a mini-book about explorers. Then, they rotate around the classroom to learn about 8 explorers – Vespucci, Columbus, Cabot, Verrazano, Cartier, Champlain, Hudson, LaSalle. They record important information about each explorer in their mini-books.
In this activity, students are presented with a chart of assorted facts about sets of two explorers. Then, students work to sort the mixed up facts and glue them into a chart for each explorer.
Who am I?:
Modeled after the game “Headbands,” students each have an explorer’s name on their back. Then, in small groups, students give one another clues about the explorers until they can guess the name on their back.
Students label a map of New York State. During this activity, they cut out the names of six explorers. Then, they glue the explorer’s name next to the area of New York he explored.
Countries That Explored:
During this activity, students color in the flags for the countries that explored in New York during the Age of Exploration.
Dutch Colonies – Learning Centers:
Students rotate to four learning centers about the critical elements of the Dutch Colonies. At each center they read nonfiction texts and then complete a page in an interactive flipbook. After completing each center and flipbook page, they assemble the flipbook and glue it into their Learning Folders.
Modeled after the game “Pictionary,” students try to get members of their team to guess items and traditions that the Dutch contributed to our culture. After students guess the items, the illustrators provide additional information about the contribution. Finally, students compile a list of gifts from the Dutch to be added to their Learning Folders.
In this lesson, students read and participate in a play about England’s take over of New Netherland. The play takes place in three scenes and includes participation from all students. After reading and participating in the play, students complete a fill-in-the-blank worksheet that will be added to their Learning Folders.
As a culminating activity, students create a timeline. The timeline highlights the significant events they studied in this unit. Students match scrambled events to dates. Finally, students add the timeline to their Learning Folders.
This unit includes:
- Unit Overview
- Detailed Lesson Plans
- Student Resources
- Picture Samples of Student Work
- All Instructional Keys
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