I always try to have some sort of hands-on, tangible item for the kiddos to feel, smell, use, etc. to help them stimulate their thinking. I kept those items the same which included a flag, a Bible, spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cumin), gold pieces, and a question mark.
This time though, I added different informational paragraphs that I found here and there that share the reasons for exploration. With a partner, the kids shared the packet of articles and used the clue item at their table to figure out which motive it matched. For example: the flag represented lands to conquer. Spices represented their desire to acquire spices and other trade items from Asia. A Bible represented the push to spread Christianity. The gold pieces represented the quest for gold and riches. Finally, I couldn't really think of an object for "adventure" so I just had a question mark - it worked :)
Once partners had identified their object and its importance to the reason for Exploration, they then had to work on highlighting key words that answered summary questions including who, what, where, when, why, and how. These five words also were to show their evidence on why they matched their item to that reason.I was so impressed with how engaged and focused they all were! It definitely helped instill the 5 reasons as well as give great practice at summary, note taking, partner agreement, and reading fluency/comprehension of more challenging text.
Here are more Explorer Activities: