Early Explorers

The Age of Discovery

Object Type: Video
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Early Explorers

Students learn about trade with the Far East in the fifteenth Century and how restrictions on that trade helped bring about the Age of Discovery. Join along with Diego as he learns about Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot, Ferdinand Magellan and other fearless men helping solve the mysteries of the uncharted world.

Follow a young boy as he learns about Early Explorers through a letter from his father.

  1. Students will be able to describe the discovery of the Americas by Columbus and other European explorers and also the first permanent Spanish, French, and English settlements in North America, with emphasis on the people (explorers and their sponsors), their motivations, the obstacles they encountered, and the successes they achieved.
  2. Students will understand why people explored, how they explored and where they explored in North and South America.
  3. Students will learn the first European explorers were Vikings from Scandinavia.
  4. Students will learn why Europeans started exploring the Americas.
    1. Because trade routes to Asia were closed in the East, they started looking toward the West.
    2. Columbus accidentally found North America looking for a trade route to Asia.
    3. Europeans wanted gold and goods from the Americas and claimed the land as their own.
    4. Different European countries sent different explorers to different areas looking for different things.
    5. European countries made settlements in the new lands.
  5. Students will learn about early explorations.
    1. Balboa crossed Panama.
    2. Leon claimed Florida.
    3. Cortes found and destroyed the Aztec people.
    4. Magellan searched for a route to Asia.
    5. Missionaries went to the New World to teach natives about Christianity.
    6. Spain took over the Incan empire in South America.
    7. Coronado was looking for gold and claimed large areas of land in southern North America.
  6. Students will understand the expeditions set up settlements in the new lands.
    1. St. Augustine in Florida was first permanent settlement in New World by Europeans.

  1. Before the video:

    1. Hold a short discussion about the meaning of exploration. List the ideas and examples on the board.
    2. After the video:

      1. Pair up students to make a map world map that is marked with the travel routes of the major explorers.
      2. Ask students to imagine what it would have been like to be a part of the exploration of the new world. How might you feel? What would your family think of your adventure? What would you expect to experience while at sea? How would you treat the people you met in the New World? What sort of dangers might you encounter? What would be your favorite aspect of such a trip?

  • ID: A5802
  • Subject: U.S. History
  • Grade Level: 3-6


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