Explorers Unit

Unit Rationale & 3 Lesson Plans

Exploring the Explorers

Fifth Grade

Social Studies, Reading, Arts

Unit Plan --- The conquistadors --- Magellan --- Choose an Explorer

 Unit Plan

Link to Content/Curriculum Standards:

History 8.1.6 A - Understand chronological thinking and distinguish between past, present and future time and people and events in time

History 8.1.6 C - Explain the fundamentals of historical interpretation through multiple points of view.

History 8.1.6 D - Describe and explain historical research through historical events (time and place).

History 8.4.6 A - Identify and explain how individuals and groups made significant political and cultural contributions to world history.

Geography 7.1.6 B - Describe and locate places and regions.

Geography 7.1.6 A - Describe geographic tools and their uses. (maps)

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.1.5 G - Demonstrate after reading understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction text. Summarize the major ideas, themes or procedures of the text

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.6.5 B -  Listen to a selection of literature (fiction and/or nonfiction).  Relate it to what is known.

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.6.5 D - Contribute to discussions.  Ask relevant questions.

Arts 9.1.5 E - Know and demonstrate how arts can communicate experiences, stories or emotions through the production of works in the arts.

 

Unit Rationale:

Dear parents,

Next week we will be starting a two week unit on explorers.  Because I believe that it is essential for the students to understand their past and how it has contributed to where we are today, students will be engaged in learning about the explorers through the inclusion of different subject areas including the arts.  We will be learning about groups of explorers and what they discovered.  We will also be exploring different viewpoints during this unit.  We will look into how the Native Americans may have felt and how they lost much through their encounters with the explorers.  In the unit we will discuss important explorers and the European nations they came from.  I believe your child will be excited and interested in this topic and cannot wait to start our learning.  Learning about the explorers is a topic that many students really enjoy and I believe this will be a very effective unit.

 

Enduring Understandings:

 

Essential Questions:

 

Key Knowledge and Skills:

 

Evidence of Learning:

At the end of the unit students will be required to have with them a portfolio of their work.  In this portfolio the will have pictures drawn, as well as papers created from the conquistadors lesson on perspectives.  A novel will be read and the students will have artifacts shown to help them understand better their new knowledge.  The student’s performance will be judged by the portfolio, observation of the students throughout the unit as they work in groups, and one final activity.  The final performance based task will be the students working together to create a play and presenting it.  The unit will conclude with the play created by the students which serves many different responsibilities.  The play will incorporate art in the backgrounds as well as allowing the students to further their exploration of the time period.  The students can use language of the time and also dress as the explorers would.  The play will allow students to be creative and discuss what they have learned.  The play created by the students will also allow the teacher to be able to assess if the students understand the topic of the explorers or not and make sure that all the required topics and curriculum standards were met.

 

 

Planned Learning Experiences and instruction:

Lesson One – Exploring a “new world”

What were they looking for? – Students will investigate and be able to explain what the explorers were out to find through the help of a children’s literature book and drawing that will be created by the students.

Lesson Two – Crossing the ocean

How did they survive? – Students will get the perspective of an explorer crossing the ocean and realize the trials that they went through by reading accounts of explorers.

Lesson Three – The conquistadors

How did the explorers affect existing civilizations? – Students will hear the story of the Mayan and Incan civilizations and take two different perspectives.  One perspective given will be of the Incans/Mayans people of Mexico, and the other of the intruding explorers.  Each perspective will justify why they have the right to the land.

Lesson Four – Magellan

How did one explorer make a difference in the world at that time period, and forever more? – Students will investigate Magellan’s journey around the globe by a simulated field trip with him as the teacher reads accounts from his ship.  Students will then draw conclusions and empathize how it must have felt on the boat and understand what major accomplishments Magellan made.

 Lesson Five – Sir Francis Drake

What was life like in the new world and on the seas? - Students will take a closer look at explorers through the eyes of one.  By connecting to the life of one explorer students will better understand why exploration was needed and what significant findings came from the explorers.

Lesson Six – Choose an Explorer

What were the explorers looking for in America? – Students will be given a variety of short descriptions of explorers.  They will then be led through a web quest to further their knowledge of other explorers than the ones we already reviewed.  Upon completing the web quest, the students will be allowed to choose an explorer to investigate and give a report or presentation on.  This will allow the students choice and expose more information than what is just given in class.  The investigations will be framed by a set of questions created by the teacher and the students before the lesson begins.  The student’s interest will play into this paired activity while they can choose what explorer to investigate.

 Lesson 3 - The conquistadors 

 

Lesson Title:              The conquistadors

Grade Level(s):          Fifth

 

Key/Essential

Question:                    How did the explorers affect existing civilizations?

 

Curriculum

Standards:                   PA Academic Standards

History 8.1.6 C - Explain the fundamentals of historical interpretation through multiple points of view.

History 8.1.6 D - Describe and explain historical research through historical events (time and place).

History 8.4.6 A - Identify and explain how individuals and groups made significant political and cultural contributions to world history.

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.6.5 B - Listen to a selection of literature (fiction and/or nonfiction).  Relate it to what is known.

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.6.5 D - Contribute to discussions.  Ask relevant questions.

Arts 9.1.5 E - Know and demonstrate how arts can communicate experiences, stories or emotions through the production of works in the arts.

 

Key Concepts/

Enduring

Understandings:         Students will understand how the Spanish explorers affected existing civilizations and link this information with other explorers.  Students will understand that explorations into what were, to the explorers strange territories resulted in tremendous cultural exchange as well as conflict between different cultural and ethnic groups.

 

Key Skills:                  Students will be able to identify multiple perspectives and compare how the Incan/Mayan people felt about the explorers to the way the explorers felt about the Mayan/Incan people.  Students will analyze the different views of each and come up with justifications for both.  Students will actively argue each group of people’s argument for the land and relate it to what really happened historically and how it affected and changed the existing civilization.  The class will debate the two sides of this issue  with the teacher making sure that all voices and perspectives are thoroughly covered and heard.

 

Materials:                   Paper and pencils, colored pencils or makers, computer with Internet access, Exploration conquest, by Betsy Maestro, world map

 

Introductory Activity: Writing the questions on the board ask the students: Did you ever wonder how we got to where we are today?  Yesterday we reviewed explorers crossing the ocean, but what happened after that?  What did they find?  Was there anyone here already? Today we will be reading a book about the explorers and learning about the Spanish explorers called Conquistadors.  Throughout the lesson I want you to think about how the Spanish explorers felt and how the Mayan and Inca people must have felt during this changing time in history.  You also need to consider how the explorers affected the existing civilizations.    (5 min.)

 

Learning Experiences

And Instruction:         Quick Summary- Students will be discussing the picture book that they drew with the rest of their group.  While in groups, students will describe and compare their drawings and talk about the different perspectives during this time of history.  The teacher will facilitate a discussion with the students about the significance of the exploration and also the affect on the existing civilization.  The student’s role is to respond to the teacher’s discussion while elaborating upon his/her picture book and demonstrate their knowledge of the Conquistadors.  This experience provides a student-centered approach to learning.  By using the picture book it allows students to achieve personal expression through fine arts.  Discussion about their picture books will lead students to conclusions about the affects the explorers had on the existing civilizations.  By sharing and comparing their books with others the students are able to consider other views about the book and its meaning as well as discuss their different views on the topic.  Through this method students create their own meaning and come up with a finalization about this important part of history.

 

Developmental Activity – (20 min.)

o        The teacher will explain the Spanish Conquistadors to the class.

o        Begin by explaining the stories of the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of Peru.  

o        Students will find Spain on the map in the front of the room and trace the journey of the explorers across the ocean.  With maps that the students will be given, and an overhead so that students can physically draw the journey, students will trace the journey of each conquistador. Students will draw arrows on the map and color the routes taken by each explorer. 

o        With the help of the explorer CD-Rom, the teacher will then discuss the conquering of the Mayan and Inca empires. The teacher will make a class list of factors that contributed to each conqueror's success. This list will be filled in with student participation and ideas.  The teacher will be sure to explain how Cortés united dissatisfied groups under Aztec rule to help the Spaniards defeat the Aztecs and how Both Cortés and Pizarro's cavalries were superior to the battle techniques of the Aztecs and Inca.  Students will be asked leading questions about each and actively participate in a discussion about the conquistadors.

o        Describe how smallpox and other European diseases contributed to diminishing the populations of the Aztec and Inca Empires and how much division within the Inca Empire worked to Pizarro's advantage. 

o        The teacher will read Exploration Conquest to the class.  Students will be asked various questions about the book and how it relates to the conquering of these two groups. 

                  Questions:

o        Why did the conquistadors feel that it was right to conquer the “new world?”

o        Did the explorers ruin any existing culture?

o        Were the Europeans right for doing this?

o        Ask about how the both groups felt when the Spanish came.  Discuss how the explorers affected the existing civilizations.  Be sure to explain how culture was demolished by the Europeans.  Make sure the students take different perspectives and realize the view from both the Europeans and the empires in Mexico.

o        Ask students to think, at various points and the end of the developmental activity about why it was an important event in history. Start a group discussion on this topic.

 

Application Activity – (25 min. to start and this activity will continue for a couple days.)

o        Students will be paired and told to create a picture book showing the conquest of one of these two empires; and discuss the similarities and differences of the Aztecs and Inca and how the Spaniards defeated both groups.  A Venn diagram will be used to aid the students in seeing the similarities and differences between the two groups.  The picture book that they draw is to explain how their group was conquered.

o        Groups will brainstorm a list as prewriting to think about what to represent in their drawing and words.

o        The pairs should be sure to cover the strengths of the Aztecs or Inca, weaknesses of the Aztecs or Inca, and the reasons for Spanish victories.

 

 

 

 Lesson 4 - Magellan

 

Lesson Title:              Ferdinand Magellan

Grade Level (s):         Fifth

 

Key/Essential

Question:                    How did the explorers affect existing civilizations?

 

Curriculum

Standards:                  PA Academic Standards

History 8.1.6 A- Understand chronological thinking and distinguish between past, present and future time and people and events in time.

History 8.1.6 D- Describe and explain historical research through historical events (time and place).

History 8.4.6 A- Identify and explain how individuals and groups made significant political and cultural contributions to world history.

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.6.5 D- Contribute to discussions.  Ask relevant questions.

 

Key Concepts/

Enduring

Understandings:         Students will understand how the contributions of Ferdinand Magellan economically, socially, and physically affected existing civilizations.  Students will understand the concepts associated with the following: events that took place while Magellan sailed down the East Coast of South America, the attempted mutiny, spending the winter in Patagonia, meeting the natives, and avoiding the Portuguese.  Other concepts that the students will understand include events that took place while Magellan sailed in the Pacific Ocean and the voyage home to Spain: going through the straits, losing the supply ship, what they ate, sicknesses, and the death of Magellan.

 

 

Key Skills:               

 

Materials:                  Paper, pencils, globe, world map, Fritz, Jean. Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan.       

Introductory

Activity:                      (5 min.)

                                    Have you ever wondered how we know the Earth is round, rather than flat?  What does it mean to circumnavigate the globe?  This topic can relate to circumference that would be covered during the same time in math class.  Today we will be reading a book about Ferdinand Magellan, detailing his accomplishments and journey to circumnavigating the globe.  Throughout this lesson, I would like you to imagine that you are a sailor on Magellan’s ship.  How would you feel during the various stops and stages of this very long and extensive journey?  Also, you need to think about how this accomplishment affected the world and the people living in it.

 

Learning Experiences

And Instruction:         Developmental Activity- (20 min.)

o       The teacher will share the life of Ferdinand Magellan with a first hand account taken from Magellan’s journal to the class.  This will both get the students interested and allow them to see a first hand source.  The created account will be passed around the room as the overhead is put up in front of the class.

o       Begin by explaining historical background information on Magellan and his life as an explorer.

o       The students will locate Spain on the globe as well as a map hanging in front of the class and will trace his journey around the world onto the provided map/worksheet.  The students will have handouts and trace the path of Magellan’s journey around the Earth.

o       The teacher will then discuss the events that took place while Magellan sailed down the East Coast of South America, as well as trials Magellan faced while sailing in the Pacific Ocean and the voyage home to Spain.

o       The students will take turns reading to each other in pairs in a think/pair/share activity in their textbook about Magellan

o       Describe in specific detail what it was like for the crew sailing through the straits, losing the supply ship, what they ate, sicknesses, and the death of Magellan.  Students will be encouraged to create a first hand resource just as the teacher did.  They will take the perspective of one of the crew members onboard with Magellan and write a journal article.  An example is given at the end of the article at www.eywitnesshistory.com/magellan.

o       The teacher will read the excerpt about Magellan and his journey from the book, Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan. 

o       The students will be asked many of the following questions:  What is meant by circumnavigation and how is it important in today’s world?  What does the idea of circumnavigation have to do with the belief that the world was flat?  How did Magellan’s journey affect existing civilizations?  What effect did the death of Magellan have on Spain and the rest of the world?  Why was there conflict between the crew of the Spanish ships and the natives?

 

Application Activity- (25 min.)

o       The students will work individually while creating a timeline showing the order of events that took place during Magellan’s great voyage around the world.  This information will be accessed online at the website given as well as in their text. 

o       Computer time will be managed with students working in pairs at the available computers while other students are reading the provided article in pairs.  The article discusses art, inventions, and other happenings in the world during this time period.

o       Students will be encouraged to think about other inventions and happenings in the world during this time and include this information on their timeline.  This information can be found in the article and the chapters of their textbook preceding and following the explorer’s chapter.

o       The students will choose events and label the date of the events and information concerning what happened and why it occurred on the timeline.

o       Upon completion of the timeline, students will be put into groups of 4 or 5 and discuss the events they chose to put on the timeline and why they feel the event is important.  This will allow students to understand what other members of the class feel are important about Magellan’s journey and compare them to their own ideas.

 Lesson 6 - Choose an Explorer

 

Lesson Title:              Choosing an Explorer

Grade Level (s):         Fifth

 

Key/Essential

Question:                    How did the explorers affect existing civilizations?

 

Curriculum

Standards:                  PA Academic Standards

History 8.1.6 A- Understand chronological thinking and distinguish between past, present and future time and people and events in time.

History 8.1.6 D- Describe and explain historical research through historical events (time and place).

History 8.4.6 A- Identify and explain how individuals and groups made significant political and cultural contributions to world history.

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.6.5 D- Contribute to discussions.  Ask relevant questions.

 

Key Concepts/

Enduring

Understandings:         Students will understand how the contributions of an explorer of their choice economically, socially, and physically affected existing civilizations.  Students will research and understand the life of the chosen explorer, including background information and historical significance.

 

Key Skills:                  Students will be able to compare their explorer of choice to the lives of the explorers they learned about in the previous lessons.  Students will actively engage in a dramatic presentation to demonstrate their knowledge of the life and journeys of their explorer.

 

Materials:                  Computer with internet access, school library, encyclopedias, pencil/pen, world map, handout- list of explorers

 

Introductory

Activity:                      With the use of the Webquest, you will be able to explore all of the explorers and their journey.  This will give you an idea of what was discovered.  Today, you will be researching an explorer of your choice, detailing his life, maritime journeys, and accomplishments.  Throughout this lesson, I would like you to not only research what your explored did, but think about what kind of person they were.  How did they dress and conduct themselves to their crew, as well as in private one-on-one situations?  However, most importantly, you need to think about how this explorer’s accomplishments affected the world and the people living in it.

 

Learning Experiences

And Instruction:         Developmental Activity- (20 min.)

o       The teacher will hand out an extensive list of explorers to the students, but will not limit the students to that list.  In other words, if the student finds an explorer that is not on the list, he/she will be granted permission by the teacher to begin the research process.

o       The teacher will hand out and model how to use “think sheets” to direct the student’s information and organize it. 

o       While researching their explorer in the library, students will compile a great deal of information. Students will be encouraged to print out relevant pictures and maps.  Students will be paired in groups to practice “say something” while reading the information while the other in the pair writes down the relevant information on the “think sheets.” After their visit to the library the students will use links from the Webquest as well as the Webquest itself to research their explorer.  The Webquest will help the students narrow their information and provide topics that are necessary about their explorer.

o       The students will locate the country from which their explorer resided, or sailed, and will trace his/her voyages onto the provided map/worksheet.

 

Application Activity-

(30 min. to complete the first run through of the drama)

(drama will be practiced throughout the week during free time.)

o       Throughout the application activity information will be used from the Webquest.  This will limit the students and narrow what information is useful when compiling their account.

o       The students will work individually while creating a dramatic presentation of their explorer.  A hand out will list criteria of what needs to be met when dramatically portraying the explorer.  Students must be completely knowledgeable concerning the aspects of their explorer’s life, fill in the hand out and create a drama.  The teacher will ask students questions concerning their explorer and make sure that the information is correct as well as necessary for their presentation.  This will help to direct the students as well. 

o       The students may either portray an important event in the explorer’s life or may simply give an accurate historical account of his/her life as if the student is the explorer.

o       Upon completion of each dramatic presentation, the teacher will add other important details about the explorer.  The students may ask the explorer questions at this time.  This will allow students to not only investigate the lives of a myriad of explorers, but will help them better understand the huge impact explorers have had on existing civilizations.

o       Students will perform the drama in front of the class and other students will be given the opportunity to ask questions for clarifications about the explorer that was just portrayed in the drama.

 

Explorers WebQuest

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