Go over key terms like “New World,” “colony,” and “indigenous” then introduce what became known as the Age of Exploration. Explain the motivations for exploration during this time: glory, gold, and God. Discuss the role of competition among European rulers and ask students to share their thoughts on these different motivations.
First, students learn about Christopher Columbus and his journey to find a route to Asia. Explain that Columbus’ expedition led to the funding of many more trips that would shape the world as we know it today. Next, students learn about Ponce de Leon, followed by John Cabot, and Ferdinand Magellan. Discuss the impact these explorations had on indigenous groups. Students will then fill out a chart to compare what they’ve learned about each explorer. There is a printable worksheet included for this activity.
After this, have students write a persuasive argument to a king and queen explaining why they should support and fund an expedition. Discuss the effects these European voyages had on indigenous people like bringing disease and enslaving Native Americans. Students will then make observations about the image depicting the arrival of European explorers.