Age of Exploration Unit
Age of Exploration Packet Update!
We are just finishing our unit on the Age of Exploration and I wanted to let you know that I have added a lot of new materials to this packet including new notebook pages, map worksheets and a new lapbook/interactive notebook activity!
This time as we started the Age of Exploration Unit, we went over some background about world trade at the time. We talked about the periods when the Silk Route was in use and talked about how/why the Silk Route declined. We also talked about the race to map the world. Did you know that early in the 1400s, China had actually reached the India and Middle East by sea?! But then they stopped sending “treasure voyages” after 1433. This was just about the time that Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal began sending ships to explore the west coast of Africa.
The picture below shows the student fill-in-the-blank pages. Full text/teacher pages are also provided!
I also created new Age of Exploration map worksheets and a chart of all the early explorers such as Dias, Columbus, Cabot, da Gama, Amerigo Vespucci and others.
We then went on to talk about the various explorers:
There are three options for the Age of Exploration notebook pages. There are student fill-in-the-blank pages, full-text pages and blank note-taking pages. I generally would print out the student fill-in-the-blank page for my kids and the full-text page for myself and we would go over the material together, but at times I would print out the note-taking page and have them do research on their own and provide their own answers.
We spent some time on the (modern) geography of Central America and the Caribbean when we talked about the Mayans and Aztecs. I added in a few new pages with that new material.
My kids used the blank pages above to take notes as we watched a couple of documentaries on the Maya, Aztecs and Incas. I will put those videos in down below.
In this Age of Exploration Unit we covered
Age of Exploration Unit: Explorer Notebook Pages
In the Age of Exploration Packet, we have a review pages (match the explorer to his accomplishments as well as a fill-in-the-blank page). 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.)
There is also an Age of Exploration Lapbook or Interactive Notebook Activity. Students can either write in their own answers or cut out the descriptions provided to glue into the inside of each lapbook piece.
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.
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The Age of Exploration Unit is $6.99.
Age of Exploration Packet
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$6.99 Age of Exploration Packet
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Other Age of Exploration Resources:
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.). 🙂
We especially like these Aztec and Inca documentaries:
Aztecs: Arrival of Cortes and the Conquistadors:
Fall of Tenochtitlan (1521) – Spanish-Aztec War
History of the Inca Empire
Some other our materials that may be of interest:
$7.99 U.S. States and Capitals Packet This 100+ page packet helps students learn the U.S. states and capitals. It includes US geography worksheets, a states & capitals booklet, 13 colonies maps and more! Visit Post or View image
$6.99 13 Colonies Unit – a 70-page unit that covers Roanoke, Jamestown, Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Pennsylvania, Georgia and the others. Plus, it explores the Puritans, Salem Witch Trials & Bacon’s Rebellion. More details at this post.
$6.99 American Revolution Packet More details at this post.
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$2.50 U.S. Presidents – Quick Study (A small booklet activity that highlights 14 well-known Presidents)
$6.99 Slavery and the Civil War (100 pages – slavery, U.S. territorial expansion, the Civil War) (See more details here) or view image 1, image 2, image 3, image 4, image 5, image 6, image 7, image 8
$4.50 Oregon Trail Packet Quick Preview or visit the post or view image
$9.99 World War I Packet 100+ pages World War I – Quick Preview or visit the post or view image 1, image 2, image 3, image 4, image 5, image 6, image 7
$9.99 World War II Unit (150 pages) from the post WWI period through Aug. 1945. Visit the post for more details. View image 1, image 2, image 3, image 4, image 5, image 6, image 7
$4.99 Where I Live Activity Packet (Find out more here at this post)
This was how we started the year last year. 🙂
$6.99 World Facts Packet 70+ pages (Find out more here at this post)
We often start the new semester reviewing basic world facts like the largest countries, the countries with the most people, the largest cities, longest rivers, highest mountains, famous world landmarks, basic geography terms like peninsula, atoll, and archipelago, deserts of the world, and more!
$5.99 Civics and Government Packet
This packet goes over some basic facts about the U.S. It covers the three branches of government, the US cabinet, the difference between federal and state governments as well as basic information about the US (what is the liberty bell, when was the Declaration of Independence written, and things like that).
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