For the past couple of weeks, we have been doing a unit on the Age of Exploration. Today I’m going to share the 30+page packet of worksheets/notebook pages, cards, and activities about the famous Explorers of the 1500s.
We are coming at the Age of Exploration from the context of World History. We had studied the Renaissance and Reformation (be sure to check out those resources below!). We are doing this unit before diving into more depth on the Age of Absolutism (the absolute monarchs of Europe).
Some of you, though, may be studying this unit at the beginning of your studies of American History.
The pages that I made and the resources I recommend are good for either approach.
We read sections from a world history textbook, but that text didn’t go into much detail about the adventures and exploits of these famous explorers.
I borrowed quite a number of resources from the library and browsed through all of them. By far the best resource (and the one we read from cover to cover) was Explorers in the New World. (affiliate link) The stories about each of the explorers (or conquistadors) were told in a compelling way and in much more detail than most of the other resources we have on hand. It’s recommended for grades 3 to 7. My kids are currently in grades 3, 6, and 8. This book also has fun hands-on activities, though we didn’t do any of them, but we read the whole book from cover to cover!
If your kids are ages 13+, you might want to read the chapter on Columbus in Howard Zinn’s well known book, A People’s History of the United States. (affiliate link) It is titled, “Columbus, the Indians and Human Progress.” It will really make your teen *think* about everything they’ve ever learned about Columbus. I highly recommend this, though what it covers is some appalling events and statistics.
We also read selections from The World Made New. The small time lines across the bottom of each page were useful. I wouldn’t recommend buying it (as I would the others), but if your library has it, it is definitely worth checking out and adding to your unit.
We also read Exploration and Conquest, the Americas after Columbus, which did a great job showing the explorations of North America (and is a good follow on book to Explorers of the New World). This touches on the Atlantic Slave Trade (We went into depth about slave trade in another unit. You can check out our resources here at these posts: Slavery Unit: Books and DVDs we Used and Slavery and the Civil War).
We also watched a number of documentaries and videos.
The kids really loved South America: Rock the Capitals. It’s a fun and a great/quick way to learn the capitals (and locations) of Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil. We spent time learning this song six years ago when we studied South America. We made South America cookie maps way back then and other activities (songs, etc.). Now back to the Explorers! In this Age of Exploration set we covered
I would have my older kids take notes (on the notebook pages I made) as I read some of the selections from the books I mentioned above. The packet includes some teacher notes about each of the explorers as well.
In this packet, we have a review page (match the explorer to his accomplishments). I also made a set of cards and we used these for review. (The yellow map is one I had from my teaching days. We used the cards to review the explorer’s sea route and to explain what they discovered.)
I didn’t expect the kids to memorize the names/dates, but I did want them to come away understanding how this race for better trading routes and domination of the seas changed the power scene in Europe with Portugal become the leading trading power in the early 1500s, followed by Spain, and then finally with England building a world empire.
At the end of the unit, the kids did a writing assignment. My older two had to write and essay. My youngest wrote a story set in this time period. The instructions for those writing projects are also included in this packet.
The Age of Exploration Packet is $3.00.
Other History Resources we have available:
Slavery and the Civil War Packet: You can find out more about our Slavery notebook pages here.
Or you can purchase the Slavery and Civil War Unit. It covers the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery in the New World, Territorial Growth, and the Civil War. It is $4.00
Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link.
We also have a unit on the American Revolution. You can find more about that unit here: Causes of the American Revolution Packet
You might be interested in our other Renaissance Posts:
Note these are still free, but very soon they will be bundled together and sold as a Renaissance-Reformation packet. Be sure to pick them up while they are still free! ~Liesl
- Early Renaissance: The Medici Family and Renaissance Art Notebook Pages
- Renaissance Artists and Their Patrons (and Notebook Pages about da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and their patrons)
And you might want to visit the posts from our Middle Ages Unit (Some of these posts also include some free notebook pages):
- Vikings, Norse Myths and a Woodburning Craft
- Middle Ages: King Arthur, Charlemagne
- Middle Ages Unit: The Medieval Church and Monasteries Worksheets
- Feudalism in the Middle Ages Notebook Pages and Simulation
- Middle Ages Projects and Books
- Middle Ages – Notebook Pages on England and France (800-1200)
- The Crusades
- Middle Ages in the 1300s: Black Plague Simulation, Hundred Years’ War, Crusades
- Black Plague (Simulation Activity – Will You Survive?!!) and the 1300s Notebook Pages
See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts. Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. ~Liesl
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.