Monday, January 30, 2012

Age of Exploration Unit Ideas

Age of Exploration:
Here are a few activities we have been doing in our Explorer unit recently ...

I start off this unit with a GREAT lesson from the SS series History Alive. They have you put on underwater music and have the kids pretend to be archaeologists scuba diving and discovering an old "Explorer" wreck. They retrieve these artifacts, log them, and discover what they tell us about the Explorers. We then categorize them like you see above. They kids really get into this lesson!
 At the beginning of the unit I also have the students partner up and share their "explorer schema" with each other. Then we share as a class and discuss together what we think we already know.
My favorite spot in my classroom is my history corner. I get antsy throughout the school year and I love that this little area is constantly changing. Plus, I love how interactive it is - I try and always have "artifacts" that the kids can touch, books that relate to the topic, maps/pictures, clothing/costumes, and as we go, I add their artwork to make it authentic :)
 We are not technically supposed to hang any thing from our ceilings due to fire codes ... but no one has talked to me yet and this makes our room feel so much more "explorer ship-like" ;)
 Compasses the kids made
This is another FUN activity. We learn about how the explorers brought back lots of new tastes from the "New World" Before I have them identify what these "tastes" are we do a "New World Smelling" activity. I have the different food items pre-cut and labeled in numbered dixie cups (take a little prep time the night before) Then the kids get a sheet to record their "smells" and their guesses. I actually made 2 sets so that the kids could all be doing it at the same time - I only had 12 items
 "New World" Tastes:
  1. Potato 
  2. tomoto 
  3. bell peppers
  4. tobacco - obviously not in the cups! *lol*
  5. vanilla 
  6. chocolate 
  7. pineapple 
  8. blueberries
  9. kidney beans 
  10. sunflower seeds 
  11. pumpkin (not in the cups - out of season)
  12. corn
  13. peanut butter
  14. chili peppers
 In pairs, I have the students read a biography about an explorer. Using this information they have to fill out an "explorer ship" together answering what the their explorers greatest achievement was, his motives for exploration, two facts they found interesting, and their discovery.
I added these to our map - aren't they cute?
 We filled in a map that had famous expedition routes on it
We used our knowledge of explorer styles ships and drew them to go with our explorer newspaper article we will be writing to go with our informational writing this week. 

For more of my posts on Exploration, visit HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE

For more fun Explorer lessons by other people, visit the link below! 
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