The Characteristics of European Explorers Lesson 3 By: Mike Bass hmst2-N

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The Characteristics of European Explorers

Lesson 3

By: Mike Bass

Grade 5: Language Arts and History/ Social Studies

  1. Lesson Overview:

Using various biographies on European Explorers, students will be discovering the entrepreneurial characteristics, as well as different goals, obstacles and accomplishments of the European Explorers. This lesson is designed to correlate with the Houghton-Mifflin core reader, theme two, “Give It All You Got.”

  1. Standards Addressed:

Social Science:

    • HSS 5.1 Describe the entrepreneurial characteristics of the early explorers

    • HSS 5.2 Explain the aims, obstacles and accomplishments of the explorers and the reasons Europeans chose to explore and colonize the world.

Language Arts:

  • R1.1 Read aloud fluently

  • R2.3 Discern main ideas

  • R2.5 Facts, inferences and opinions

  • R3.3 Determine character traits

  • W1.6 Edit and revise work

  • W2.4 Write persuasive compositions

  • LS 1.5 Clarify and support ideas

  • ELA 3.3 Compare and contrast the actions, motives and appearances of characters in a work of fiction and discuss the importance of the contrasts to the plot or theme.

  1. Text Resources/Materials Needed

  • HM Theme 2 Teacher’s Edition

  • Pg. 185-203

  • Multiple copies of biographies of European Explorers

  • Graphic organizer of explorer’s goals, characteristics, obstacles and accomplishments.

  • Chart paper for “T” chart for comparing and characteristics of explorers and character from story.





  1. Teaching Strategies

  • Guided reading of hand outs, for those who need it

  • Discussion and pre-teach: characteristics, goals, motivations, obstacles, and accomplishments

  • Think, pair, share

  • Use of graphic organizers for visual learners and ELL’s, as well as reference

  1. Introduction

  • Students have read and discussed story, “The Fear Place” from the HM reader. We have also discussed the main character’s goal, motivations, obstacles, accomplishments and characteristics.

  • As a class, we will fill out chart paper with a list of what kind of characteristics the main character had in order to overcome his obstacles and achieve his goals.

  • What kind of characteristics do you think astronauts have? How would you feel traveling into space, into uncharted territory and exploring a new planet encountering new life forms? What type of obstacles might you face? What goals might you have? How would you overcome those obstacles? What type of characteristics would you need in order to be successful in this mission? Discuss and list answers to these questions in order to obtain prior knowledge and stir up the interest of the students.

VI. Through

  • Students will now work in groups of 3-4. Each person in the group will choose an explorer and read the hand out. Once done, they will fill out graphic organizer on explorer. Once done, they will share and discuss their information and findings with other members of their group and they will fill out chart as they go along. When done, they should have a full graphic organizer on at least 3 explorers.

  • Next, they will get together with another group and share their findings, making changes and adding information where needed.

  • When done, we will come together as a class and make one large “T” chart. This chart will contain the characteristics of the explorers and compare and contract them with the chart we previously made on the story, “The Fear Place.”

  • Discussion will follow on what we find in common and what was lacking in one chart or another.

  • Brain storm as a class personal challenges they may face or choose to face (i.e., skydiving, rock climbing, sports).

  • How would they overcome the obstacles they would face with their challenges

  • What type of characteristics would you need to have in order to overcome and complete your challenge? Write responses on third piece of chart paper and compare to other charts to find similarities with characteristics between explorers, “The Fear Place”, and self challenge.

  1. Beyond

    • Explain to class that they will be becoming an explorer and will need to express their opinion on why they would be a good explorer. They will be using the charts from all three exercises for reference to write a personal essay on it.

    • In the essay, they will need to choose characteristics they posses that will help support their opinions.

    • Review and discuss personal essay on page 158-159 in core reader. Outline the writers beginning, opinion, details supporting opinion and conclusion.

    • Once done with essay, they will have each other edit for complete ideas and supporting details, as well as stating a clear opinion. Next, they will edit essays for grammatical errors. Once editing is complete, they will write final essay and share in groups from previous exercise.

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