LESSON / UNIT TITLE: (Type here.): European Exploration of North America
Teacher Name(s): Tressa Bishop, Sharon Champaign, Kathy Prichard
School District: Athens Area School District
Building: SRU Middle School
Grade Level: 7
Subject: World History
Time Required: 3 class periods
This unit will focus on European exploration of North America, particularly during the first half of the seventeenth century. It will cover reasons for exploration and colonies established and will also specify particular explorers and their discoveries.
Essential Questions for Lesson/Unit
What were reasons for North American exploration?
Who were the primary explorers from Europe, what countries did they explore for, and
where did they explore?
What were the effects of exploration?
Pennsylvania Academic Standards Addressed in Lesson/Unit
8.1.7. A. Demonstrate continuity and change over time using sequential order and context of
8.4.7. A. Summarize the social, political, cultural, and economic contributions of individuals and
groups in world history.
8.4.7. B. Explain the importance of historical documents, artifacts, and sites which are critical to
8.4.7. C. Differentiate how continuity and change have impacted world history.
8.4.7. D. Explain how conflict and cooperation among groups and organizations have impacted
the history of the world.
7.1.7. A. Explain how common geographic tools are used to organize and interpret information
about people, places, and environment.
Students will be able to:
Identify explorers, their countries of origin, territories explored and claimed, and
Explain reasons for exploration/colonization in North America
Explain the effects of exploration/colonization in North America.
Vocabulary/Key Terms for Lesson/Unit
See Attachment: Exploration Unit Notes and Vocabulary
Historical Background for Teachers / Research Narrative
European Exploration of North America
European exploration of North America actually started with the Vikings almost a thousand years ago. However, it was explorers from France, England, and the Netherlands who made a permanent mark on the continent with early settlements and colonization. Their reasons for their travels here varied and their early successes were almost matched with as many failures in establishing permanent settlements. But once the first European came over in the 1500’s, the flow never stopped.
Their reasons varied from group to group. Many came here to escape religious persecution in their homeland. The Reformation brought upheaval to almost every country in Europe. Thousands looked to escape to a new land where they would have the freedom to worship as they chose without fear of retribution from the Catholic Church and monarchs who supported Catholic doctrine. Still others fled to the New World in search of riches, both for personal gain and for the motherland. The Crusades in the Middle Ages led to new trade routes to Asia, bringing untold wealth in new goods and establishing trade routes. With trade routes in the East established, people started to look westward. Some searched for the mysterious Northwest Passage to Asia.
French explorers were lured to Canada and established fur trade and colonies. The English explored and colonized the east coast of North America, and the Dutch found new trade routes and lands along the Hudson Bay. Both the English and the Dutch were interested in trading resources from the New World to the Old.
From pirates to preachers, the individuals who explored, settled, and colonized the area varied greatly. Individuals, military troops, and families left Europe and settled in North America. Their destinations differed as much as their purposes for coming. Their failures were as numerous as their successes. But the footholds were established. The effects of the exploration and colonization were both positive and negative. New goods were delivered to Europe and fortunes, both corporate and individual, soared. Power went to the countries with the most territory, the most trade. Groups found the adventure and religious freedom they sought.
But the costs were enormous for some. The native Indians found themselves being robbed of their lands and at war with foreign powers. The diseases they were exposed to were devastating to their peoples. For the colonists, the encounters with the natives often were fatal as they fought for territory. But North America was settled, and the European countries were headed toward prosperity and struggles between themselves as they claimed their territories.
Instructional Prodedures and Activities:
The class will work on an Explorer Project. (See Attached Explorer Project Directions and Rubric.)
The students will be assigned an explorer to research. Information will be used to create a booklet complete with a map identifying their voyage route and area settled, discovered, and colonized.
Materials needed: Blank maps, construction paper, colored pencils, rulers, atlases, computers.
Procedure: Each child will be assigned an explorer. He/she will use the website www.enchantedlearning.com to research information indicated on the project and fill out the bibliography sheet. He/she will also complete a map showing which European country the explorer sailed from, the area in North America discovered/colonized, and the sailing route used.
Evaluation: The assignment will be graded as a formative assignment following the rubric/scoring guide established in the project instructions.
Suggested Strategies for Differentiating Instruction
Online map use
Assessment of Student Learning (Formative and Summative)
Formative: Ticket out the door, Explorer Project
Summative: Questions on material to be added to entire exploration unit, pop-up books for students with disabilities.
Materials and Resources
Jacobs, Heidi et.al. (2005). History of Our World. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
List of explorers for project and other material used found at: www.enchantedlearning.com
Exploration Unit Notes and Vocabulary (See attached.)
Explorer Project Directions and Rubric (See attached.)
Other materials needed: Blank maps, construction paper, colored pencils, rulers, atlases, computers.
Author(s) of Unit/Lesson Plan
Tressa Bishop, Sharon Champaign, Kathy Prichard
Athens Area School District, SRU Middle School
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