This collection will focus on explorers and contains resources to help you teach your students to think about the impact they have had on our world.
As teachers, a focus on explorers in the classroom give us the opportunity to help our students learn about character traits, geography and history.
***You can download the complete, free unit by clicking on the bold, red print at the bottom of this post.
Character Traits – We begin our collection with a focus on common character traits found among explorers. Encourage students to think about what types of people explorers might have been, what they were seeking and how they might have acted. We have included two different graphic organizer pages here, but you may also wish to use some of the pages from our Character Traits Collection as a starting point as well. (We provided the page on the left above in color as well in case you would like to use it as anchor chart instead.)
Vocabulary – This collection also includes 21 vocabulary word cards & definitions that can be used for a matching activity. The student recording page is for practice and/or study of explorer vocabulary as well. Students are required to write the word, definition and provide an example of some type. We have also provided a blank card page in case you wish to add more or different words to this vocabulary list.
As a review activity, you can also print out copies of the black & white pages. Student write their own definitions to match the vocabulary words and then can take the cards home to study.
List of Explorers – We have provided a list of 19 more well known explorers you can display and/or give to your students. You can have them choose one from this list to focus on to create their own Explorers Book. We have also provided a blank page that your students can add names to as they research and find other lesser known about explorers.
“Focus On…” Page – We have provided two pages that differ only in that one has a labeled world map and the other does not. Choose the one you want your students to use as they begin some research on a specific explorer to add to their Explorers Book.
World Map – If your students still need some practice with their world geography, we have provided a blank world map that can be used at a center for labeling. Make copies for all your students or laminate a set to have at the center for group practice.
Focus On Viewpoints – We want our students to understand that there were many perspectives when it came to world exploration and discovery. As much as explorers and countries felt the excitement of their discoveries, there were also the viewpoints of the people native to the lands being “discovered”.
Encourage your students to think about different perspectives. A good book to purchase and share with your students is Jane Yolen’s Encounter. This book shares the point of view of a young Taino Indian native who tries to warn his people against the visitors. The story also shares the boys’ adult perspective years later on what happened to his people.
The Focus page provided in our resources require students to write down what they learn or think about the perspectives of the explorers vs. the people native to specific lands. (One page has space for two different explorations and one has space for three different explorations.)
Actions & Consequences – You may want to follow the Viewpoints lesson with discussions about how not all explorations were considered completely successful. There were also negative consequences to exploration such as the spread of disease, slavery and the mistreatment of people and land. This page has students pinpoint the negative aspects of exploration and explain their learning and reasoning. (Two versions – one that is more general about exploration and one that is explorer specific.)
Comparing Explorers Chart – This chart can be used for taking notes and/or studying, but also for comparing various explorers, their destinations, goals and the outcomes.
Explorer Puzzles – You can use this simple puzzle template at a center or as a culminating project for individual or group student research on specific explorers. The explorer’s name and/or picture goes in the center piece of the puzzle. The surrounding eight puzzle pieces are filled with important information about the explorer and his explorations.
Timeline Banner – Have your students create a classroom timeline using these 15 different year/time banners. Students are given a date to research and fill the page with pictures and event(s) that occurred related to exploration in that year. This can lead to a wonderful resource for your students to use while studying. (Blank banner page included in case you wish to add a year.)
Additional Resources – The final six pages of our resources can be used for many types of activities – writing, recording research, taking notes or exit tickets.
***You can download the complete, free unit here: Explorer Unit