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Table of Contents

Early Explorations of the Americas

Acknowledgements i
Table of Contents 1
Unit Overview 2

History-Social Science Grade 5 Standard 2

Common Core State Standards


Lesson 1: Exploration and Technology 3

Activity # 1 Where in the World? The Story of Marco Polo

Activity # 2 When Did that Event Happen?

Activity # 3 Close Reading of the Textbook

Lesson 2: Technology and Navigational Tools 10

Activity # 1 Early Maps used by Explorers

Activity # 2 Navigational Tools Catalog

Activity #3 Navigational Tools Today

Lesson 3: Maps Galore 13

Activity # 1 Voyages of Exploration

Activity #2 Conquistadores in North America

Activity #3 Routes of Early Explorers

Lesson 4: Explorer Research Report 17

Activity # 1 Research Project on an Explorer of the Americas

Activity # 2 Presenting Your Research Report

Optional Projects


Extended Activities 21


Resources for Early Explorations of the Americas 30

Teacher Evaluation Form 32



Unit Overview: Early Explorations of the Americas

This curriculum supports the attainment of the following Grade 5 History-Social Science Standards for California Public Schools and Common Core State Standards.


History-Social Science Content Standards

Standard 5.2: Students trace the routes of early explorers and describe the early exploration of the Americas.

1. Describe the entrepreneurial characteristics of early explorers (e.g., Christopher Columbus, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado) and the technological developments that made sea exploration by latitude and longitude possible (e.g., compass, sextant, astrolabe, seaworthy ships, chronometers, gunpowder).

2. Explain the aims, obstacles, and accomplishments of the explorers, sponsors, and leaders of key European expeditions and the reasons Europeans chose to explore and colonize the world (e.g., the Spanish Reconquista, the Protestant Reformation, the Counter Reformation).

3. Trace the routes of the major land explorers of the United States, the distances traveled by explorers, and the Atlantic trade routes that linked Africa, the West Indies, the British colonies, and Europe.

4. Locate on maps of North and South America land claimed by Spain, France, England, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Russia.


Common Core State Standards

Reading Standards for Information Text (RI)

RI 5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RI 5.2 Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarizes the text.

RI 5.7 Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly.

RI 5.9 Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Common Core State Standards: Writing Standards (W)

W 5.2 Write informative/explanatory text to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

W 5.7 Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

W 5.8 Gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.



Common Core State Standards: Speaking and Listening Standards (SL)

SL 5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL 5.4 Report on a topic, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant descriptive details to support main ideas; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

Lesson 1: Exploration and Technology

Essential Question: Why did Europeans begin to look for a sea route to Asia?



Activity # 1 Where in the World? The Story of Marco Polo

Materials needed: a copy for each students of Marco Polo (Handout #1.1, page 7) the Early Explorations of the Americas (Handout #1.2, page, page 8); a globe; a large classroom map of the world or copies of Reflections Grade 5 textbook The United States: Making a New Nation, or any Grade 5 U.S. History textbook.

Step 1: Using a large map of the world (or a world map in the reference section of the textbook), have students:



  • Review the name of the city, county, state, country, and continent in which we live.

  • Name and locate the 7 continents on a map of the world.

  • If you lived in Europe and wanted to travel from Spain or Portugal to Asia, how would you travel?

Ask the questions, “Who is Marco Polo?” “Has anyone ever played the game “Marco Polo?” Though prior knowledge is important, resist the temptation to provide a multitude of details about the lesson at this point.

Step 2: Distribute to each student a copy of Marco Polo (Handout #1.1, page 7). Students read the handout independently. Encourage students to interact with the text while they read by underlining words, phrases or sentences that are unclear. Remind students that if they come to an unfamiliar word, they should look inside the word or surrounding words in the text for clues to figure out the meaning.

Step 3: After the first independent reading, ask students to talk to a partner and share something they learned from the text. Sentence frames and guiding questions are useful aids. An example of conversational starters might be, “I did not know that ______.” As students engage in conversations, circulate and check students’ understanding. This along with the observations made during independent reading, will inform the content of the Think Aloud in the Step 4. These collaborative discussions are about building on others’ ideas and expressing their own ideas clearly to create understanding and find shared meaning.

Step 4: Conduct a “Think aloud” to model effective strategies for students to utilize when they encounter challenging text on their own. Explain to students that you are letting them hear what you are thinking. Students follow along silently with their own copy of the text while the teacher models strategies to unlock the meaning of unknown vocabulary words, challenging syntax, structure, author’s purpose, and context to help them understand the content.

Step 5: This is the second independent activity in which students attempt to understand the text on their own. The goal is to teach students to reread text to acquire knowledge, develop fluency, and reinforce their use of text evidence whenever possible.

Step 6: Ask students to respond to concise text-dependent questions and quote accurately from the text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. This compels students to extract information directly from the text to help them understand important concepts and develop higher level critical thinking and problem solving skills.

It also models the need and process of returning to the text in order to gain full understanding of the content. The goal of text-dependent questions is to provide opportunities for students to use the text to support answers, deepen comprehension of information, and apply learning to real world scenarios. Examples of a text dependent questions are “Who was Marco Polo?” “Where did Marco Polo travel?” “What did some people say about Marco Polo’s book?

(This Close Reading activity is based on the work of Rebecca Valbuena, Glendora Unified School District)

Step 7: On the student’s copy of the Early Explorations of the Americas (Handout #1.2) complete the information about Marco Polo. Additional print and digital sources may be used to locate further information about Marco Polo. Students retain their copy of the handout.
Activity # 2 When Did that Event Happen?

Materials needed: a large time line displayed in the classroom that can be used throughout the 5th grade curriculum (see below); a large number of post-its or library pockets and 3 x 5 cards for adding events to the time line; for each student, a copy of Reflections Grade 5 textbook The United States: Making a New Nation, or any Grade 5 U.S. History textbook.


As an alternative, make a foldable time line. Use 2 sheets of 12” by 18” paper for each century. Tape the 2 sheets together. Glue 10 library pockets horizontally across the bottom of the paper, one pocket for each decade.

In preparation for this unit, construct a large time line for the Grade 5 standards titled The History of the United States 1400 to 1860. Make the time line approximately 7 yards long. time line

Draw a line horizontally from one end of the time line to the other. On this line, make short vertical lines about 6” apart. Label the vertical lines beginning with 1400. Label each successive date in ten year intervals (decades) 1410, 1420, 1430, 1440… ending with the year 1860 (or later, if desired).

At the top of the time line, label each century.



14th century

15th century

16th century

17th century

18th century

19th century

Give the time line a title and mount it in the classroom.
Step 1: Tell students that in this unit they will read about how Europeans in the late 1400s sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and explored and claimed land in the Americas.

View the time line In the Reflections textbook on pages 96-97. Point out that the events at the top of the time line relate to European exploration and colonization of the Americas. The events at the bottom of the time line took place during the same time period but are not directly related to the Americas or the exploration of them. Ask questions such as, “How many years after Columbus reached San Salvador did Balboa see the Pacific?” (21 years)

Step 2: Introduce the classroom time line. Explain that the 15th century incudes the dates 1401 to 1500. Write several dates on the board and have students work collaboratively with a partner to identify the correct century for each date. For practice, write different dates on a post-it and have students place the date on the time line in the correct decade.

Activity # 3 Close Reading of the Textbook*

Materials needed: For each student, a copy of Early Explorations of the Americas (Handout #1.2, page 8) and Main Ideas and Supporting Details (Handout #1.3, page 9); access to digital on-line sources (preferred, but not mandatory); Reflections Grade 5 textbook The United States: Making a New Nation, or any U.S. History textbook appropriate for Grade 5; a variety of informational texts about explorers. To enable more interaction with the text, consider duplicating textbook pages 110 to 117 so each student can underline words, phrases or sentences that are unclear.

Step 1: On a map of the continent of Europe, locate the countries of Spain and Portugal. To establish the purpose for the students, discuss the essential question for this lesson (Why did Europeans begin to look for a sea route to Asia?). Though prior knowledge is important, resist the temptation to provide a multitude of details about the lesson.

Step 2: In the Reflections textbook (or any American History textbook appropriate for Grade 5), have students use the Table of Contents to locate the page number for Unit 2, Chapter 3, Lesson 1. Students independently read pages 110 to 111. Encourage students to interact with the text while they read by looking for words, phrases or sentences that are unclear. Remind students that if they come to an unfamiliar word, they should look inside the word or surrounding words in the text for clues to figure out the meaning.

Step 3: After the first independent reading, ask students to talk to a partner and share something they learned from the text. As students engage in conversations, circulate and check students’ understanding.

Step 4: Conduct a “Think aloud” to model effective strategies for students to utilize when they encounter challenging text on their own. Students follow along silently with their own copy of the text while the teacher models reading strategies to unlock the meaning of unknown vocabulary words, challenging syntax, structure, author’s purpose, and context to help them understand the content.

Step 5: This is the second independent activity in which students attempt to understand the text on their own. The goal is to teach students to reread text to acquire knowledge, develop fluency, and reinforce their use of text evidence whenever possible.

Step 6: Ask students to respond to concise text-dependent questions and quote accurately from the text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. This compels students to extract information directly from the text to help them understand. This models the need and the process of returning to the text in order to gain full understanding of the content.

Provide opportunities for students to use the text to support answers, deepen their comprehension of information, and apply learning to real world scenarios. Examples of questions are “What is meant by the term Renaissance?”; “How long ago was Marco Polo’ book first published?”; “What obstacles prevented Europeans from sailing to Asia?” and, “Who were the merchants? Do we have merchants today?”

Step 7: Students determine two or more main ideas of the text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarizes the text. Distribute to each student a copy of Main Ideas and Supporting Details (Handout #1.3, page 9). Write the title of the lesson (Exploration and Technology) in the Key Topic box.

In each of the Main Idea boxes, write the titles of the sub-topics for the lesson (A Rush of New Ideas, The World Awaits, The Business of Exploring, and Two Worlds Meet). Note: Since there are 4 topics and only 3 boxes, have student fold over the right 3rd of their paper and draw a new set of boxes for the 4th topic.

Model for the students how to select the supporting details to write into the boxes for the main idea “A Rush of New Ideas.”

Step 8: Continue to read the rest of Lesson 1 completing the Main Ideas and Supporting Details handout for each section of the text. For additional scaffolding, duplicate the reading lesson organizer on page 37 from Reflections Reading Support and Intervention.

Step 9: On the student’s copy of the Early Explorations of the Americas (Handout #1.2, page 8) complete the information about Christopher Columbus. Additional print and digital sources may be used to locate further information about Columbus. A good website for Columbus is http://ageofex.marinersmuseum.org/index.php?type=webpage&id=51

*For a more advanced group of students who do not need extra help reading the textbook, divide them into groups of 4. Assign each group a sub-topic (main idea) of Lesson 1 (Reflections pages 110 to 117). There will be multiple groups working on each sub-topic of the lesson. Students work with a partner to read and complete one sub-topic of the Main Ideas and Supporting Details (Handout #1.3, page 9). Partners then share their ideas with the other set of partners in their group to fine tune their work. Each group then presents to the rest of the class the main idea and supporting details for their section (sub-topic) of the textbook as classmates take notes on their copy of Handout #1.3.

Step 10: Working in groups, students engage in a collaborative discussion on the following questions building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.



  • Why explore?

  • What were the risks?

  • What were the opportunities and the benefits?

Have each group share their ideas with the class. Additional questions to discuss: Why would an individual want to explore unknown lands? What’s in it for the explorer? Why might the king and queen of a country want people to lead explorations? Why would religious leaders encourage exploration? Why might other countries be jealous of your country’s explorations? How would the people in the lands you are exploring feel about your presence?

Optional Activities

To reinforce the academic content vocabulary, have students keep a Vocabulary Journal. Record key vocabulary words, write their definition, draw a picture (as appropriate) and use the vocabulary word in a sentence that helps to explain its meaning.

Newspaper reporter – Columbus is mentioned in the Reflections text on pages 106-109, 114-117, and 126-127. After reading the text, write the title of an article about Columbus. Write 5 questions to ask Columbus and the possible answers. Next, write 5 questions to ask the Taino leader and the possible answers.

Read to students Jane Yolan’s book about Columbus titled Encounter. The book is written from the viewpoint of a young Taino boy. (Refer to the Resources section of this guide.)

Handout #1.1 Marco Polo
Marco Polo (1254-1324) was an Italian who was one of the first Europeans to travel across Asia through China, visiting the Kublai Khan in Beijing. He left in 1271 (he was a teenager at the time) with his father (Nicolo Polo) and uncle (Maffeo Polo); they spent about 24 years traveling. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/explorers/gifs/polo.gif

Polo sailed south from Venice, Italy, in the Mediterranean Sea to the Middle East. They then went southeast overland to Persia (now Iran), then through the Gobi Desert to Beijing, China. They explored the area south of Beijing and traveled south to Hangchow, China. They then sailed south along the coast of China to what is now Sumatra. They sailed west to India, and then back to Ormuz (on the Persian Gulf). They went northwest overland to the Black Sea, then the Mediterranean Sea, and back to Venice, Italy.

Marco Polo's written accounts of his travels were the first Western record of porcelain, coal, gunpowder, printing, paper money, and silk. Polo’s book “The Travels of Marco Polo” made him a celebrity. However, many people did not believe Marco Polo’s tale. They thought his book was a work of fiction. In fact, it became known as “The Million Lies.” However, since then, historians have verified many of the things Marco Polo claimed to have seen.

Two hundred years later in the 1450s the printing press was developed by Johannes Gutenberg. Marco Polo’s book became one of the most popular books published. People wanted to buy the goods such as silks and spices from India that Marco Polo described. Many traveled the long, hard overland route to Asia. Christopher Columbus believed that sailing west would be a faster way to get to India. Source: Col, Jeananda. Enchanted Learning. http://www.EnchantedLearning.com 1996



Today, a popular children’s game is Marco Polo. Played in the swimming pool, one player is chosen as "It". This player closes his/her eyes and tries to find and tag the other players without the use of vision. The player who is "It" shouts "Marco" and the other players must respond by shouting "Polo", which "It" uses to try to find them. If a player is tagged, then that player becomes "It". The game can also be played on land, with slightly modified rules. One person is blindfolded while others choose hiding places around the room. Source: Wikipedia
Handout # 1.2 Early Explorations of the Americas

Explorer

(Full Name)

Sponsor

Country

Year(s)

Aims/Goals

Accomplishments


Obstacles/Failure




























































.




Handout # 1.3 Main Ideas and Supporting Details Name:

Key Topic:




Main Idea


Main idea

Main idea

Supporting details Supporting details Supporting details



























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