Leif Erikson or Columbus: Who Should Get Credit?

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Columbus is growing ever more controversial and some teachers may want to include a history that reflects the man's cruelty and greed as well as prove that he wasn't even the first European to discover North America.

The 6 - 8 summary questions have been edited (or censored) recently because students apparently should no longer be asked to form opinions on historical events. Enjoy the censored version.

PRINT ONLY VERSION! For the Google Classroom™ version click here.

This resource is Common Core aligned for grades 6 - 8 (two slightly different summaries) but historical thinking skills have been utilized in the lesson as well. Historical comprehension, analysis, bias, and decision-making are all included in the summaries.

The Columbus reading passage has a word count of 538 words. The Erikson reading passage has a word count of 448. Reading these passages in class, having a discussion, and writing the summaries is definitely possible in one class period.

Most of the answers are opinion-based but an answer key is included for both summaries just in case.


The Common Core Aligned Lesson Includes:

  • Two original reading passages
  • CCSS-aligned summaries for grades 6 - 8
  • CCSS-aligned summaries for grades 9 - 12


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Total Pages
26 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.


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