We have moved into our unit on Early European explorers and this time around I thought I would start off a bit general before we moved into specific explorers. So we did two things to introduce the era that I thought I would share with you.
Reasons for Exploring Flipbook
We started out by reading an informational article about the various reasons WHY explorers would venture out into the new land. There were basically 5 reasons: seeking adventure, the lure of gold, searching for spices, gaining new land, and to spread Christianity. We found information in our article (though if you read this post a few days ago, you will know that there was little bias to be had in that article!) and in our social studies text. Then, each of those five reasons became one flap on our flipbook. The students summarized each section, finding key words, and then wrote the information in their own words on the flipbook. This really turned out to be a great, general intro to the unit.
|Here is a close up view of one of the inside paragraphs once you lift up the flap|
Since we were talking about generalities, we discussed how many of the Europeans at the time believed the world to be flat. They thought that if you sailed out far enough, you would no doubt encounter sea monsters of all kind. Because of that, early cartographers would draw monsters (which we discussed were most likely inspired by real sea creatures, mixed with the "telephone" nature of sailors' stories.) We also discussed how this was used to instill fear in people as well, so as to not encourage them to venture out too far.
I showed them the Carta Marina and we looked at the monsters on there. If you do a simple google search, many pictures will come up. There is also quite a bit of information if you google "Here Be the Dragons" (a phrase that appeared on one map that now has become synonymous with unknown territories and the era)
|She chose to make her monsters huge!|
Afterwards, they then needed to write descriptive paragraphs of those monsters. What would they do if a human was encountered? What made them special? Why were they to be feared? The students really got into this and were able to let their creative juices flow! Click here to access the recording sheet we used. It isn't anything special, but it is already made for you ;)
Now, we are moving into actual explorers and their contributions (and the Walking Classroom actually is great for this...there are four podcasts on different explorers so we have already started listening to them!)
What do you do to introduce the Age of Exploration?