Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group
For this activity, students will create a timeline that illustrates the major events in the life of an explorer. Students can either be assigned an explorer to research, or choose from one of the numerous European explorers. Students should use their research to select the ten most significant events that took place in the life of their explorer. A timeline is a powerful tool that allows students to both chronologically understand the significant events of a major historical figure, and also connect how their researched explorer contributed to larger outcomes of history.
The Life of Christopher Columbus
|October 31, 1451||Christopher Columbus was born in the seafaring city of Genoa, Italy.|
|1465||Columbus worked aboard merchant ships as a teenager and sailed throughout the Mediterranean Sea. At an early age, he began to show a great interest in navigation and cartography.|
|1485||Columbus moved to Spain and continued to study navigation and geography. He believed he could find a trading route to Asia by sailing west from Spain.|
|January 2, 1492||In order to find a western route to Asia, Columbus asked Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain to pay for his voyage.|
|August 3, 1492||With the financial support of the King and Queen of Spain, Columbus set sail to find the western route to Asia.|
|October 12, 1492||A crew member named Rodrigo de Triana shouted out that he had spotted land. Columbus would name the island San Salvador.|
|October 29, 1492||Columbus and his crew discover what will be known to be the island of Cuba and soon makes the first permanent Spanish settlement. Columbus believed he landed in Asia.|
|March 15, 1493||Columbus returned to Spain with artifacts and American captives as proof of his discoveries. This interaction between the two worlds marked the beginning of the Columbian Exchange.|
|May 20, 1506||Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain. At the time of his death, thousands of Europeans had set sail thanks to this "New World" discovered by Columbus.|
Teachers may also choose to have students research significant figures in Native American history during the Age of Exploration. Students represent the same series of events, but from two different perspectives. An example of this activity would be the conquest of the Aztecs by Hernando Cortez from the perspective of the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez, and Montezuma II, the Emperor of the Aztecs.