Home School Years

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Explorers’ Route Map

Related Posts:

Our World

Who Were The Vikings?

13 Colonies: A New World

The First North Americans

Indigenous People of The Americas

our completed map

our completed map

Recommended Books:

  • Land Ho! Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration by Nancy Winslow Parker
  • Explorers of the New World: Discover the Golden Age of Exploration by Carla Mooney
  • Animals Charles Darwin Saw by Sandra Markle
  • Animals Christopher Columbus Saw: An Adventure In The New World by Sandra Markle
  • Animals Marco Polo Saw: An Adventure On The Silk Road by Sandra Markle
  • Animals Robert Scott Saw: An Adventure In Antarctica by Sandra Markle
  • You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Viking Explorer! by Andrew Langley
  • You Wouldn’t Want To Explore With Marco Polo! by Jacqueline Morley
  • You Wouldn’t Want To Sail With Christopher Columbus! by Fiona MacDonald
  • You Wouldn’t Want To Explore With Sir Francis Drake! by David Stewart

Target Vocabulary: explorer, exploration, ship, compass, map, map key, kingdom, rulers, kings and queens, new world, natives, trade, route, slavery, country, continent, body of water, etc.

Objective: To offer an overview of how exploration expanded knowledge of our world through the discovery of new lands, passages/routes and bodies of water.

Reasons For Exploration:

  • Rulers (primarily monarchs and the Church) wanted to expand their kingdoms
  • Rulers wanted to establish trade with other lands
  • Rulers were looking for treasure to expand their wealth
  • Explorers wanted to explore and learn more about the world

Background Information:

It would be helpful to discuss the following prior to the lesson to give the child a more complete understanding of the associated themes.

  • Discuss rulers/nobility ~ their titles, roles, way of life, motivation for sponsoring explorers
  • Discuss ships ~ what they are made of, parts and chambers of a ship, what they carry during voyages, kingdom flag, etc.
  • Discuss voyages ~ long periods at sea, challenges (no fresh water, bathing, little food and poor sleeping arrangements), weather issues, sailing into the unknown, crew members, etc.
  • Discuss explorers ~ use of compass, maps, star and sun based navigation, belief that the world was flat vs. round, most were sponsored
  • Discuss the world ~ identify continents and oceans
  • Discuss what maps are and how they are used, the compass rose, and the map legend or key

Lesson Plan:

I decided to focus on a few key explorers to give an overview of explorations significant to how our world was discovered in parts. I created this exploration route map template to use. The first step was to color the continents in different colors. I then gave an overview of each explorer by discussing who they were, which country or ruler they were sponsored by, and what their voyage route was. I explained why these discoveries were considered “a new world” to the Europeans. I spoke about the natives who lived in the lands where the explorers landed and talked about how some explorers did not treat the natives well. This opened the discussion on slavery. The lesson also included discussion on why native Americans were called Indians by Christopher Columbus, identified locations of the ancient Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations/empires, and how/why the Americas were named after Spanish explorer Amerigo Vespucci. We then traced the voyage routes on the map and used crayons to coordinate with the map legend/key to make it easier to follow their specific route. We started with the Vikings and followed a chronological timeline forward.

Expand The Lesson:

You can expand the lesson by discussing in more detail the ancient Inca, Maya and Aztec cultures, as well as the first North Americans. You can explore themes such as, their homes, clothes, food, way of life, different tribes and regions, and how they used sign language to communicate with the Europeans.

Related Resource:

8-page Explorer Research Report Worksheet Set


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