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The Middle School Age of Exploration Unit highlights the motivation for European Exploration, as well as the effects of their endeavors. The Unit begins by examining the actions of Columbus in the Caribbean and forces students to critically examine his actions and determine whether or not he should be revered. The lesson then takes a step back and begins to examine the role the Portuguese played in early naval exploration and the effect their actions. Students then learn of the envy the Spanish monarch had towards the Portuguese success on the high seas and how he and his wife were determined to become major players in world affairs. Students will also be asked to investigate the conquest of Pizzarro and Cortes, which would link to their earlier unit in which they students the Native Americans, including the Aztec and Inca people who were ravaged by these men. Students will also be exposed the early North American exploration and the impact it had in the world and the people who inhabited the region. This would Segway into a later unit addressing colonization of North American and the role the English played.
The unit includes six traditional lessons and an essay lesson that could culminate the unit. All lessons have Do Now activities for students when they arrive, Cornell Notes template for student note taking, as well of readings and questions for students, as well as a daily homework. For lesson 2.7 through 2.11 there is a single PPT that is separated within the slideshow, for each day’s lesson. 2.6 has its own individual PPT, as well as the lesson on the Columbian Exchange. Each lesson also has an exit ticket to assess their understanding of the daily objective. The suggested amount of time taken on the essay lesson is three days, so that students can be introduced to the activity and properly plan for their essay, as well as go through the necessary production steps necessary to produce a high quality lesson.