Author:
William
Subject:
History, Geography, Social Studies
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Upper Elementary
Tags:
  • Explorers
  • Lesson Plan
  • Maps
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    Maps and Exploration

    Maps and Exploration

    Overview

    In this lesson students compare three maps, one from 1491, one from 1570, and one from 1794 to note differences and discus why the maps changed over time.  This in turn can introduce wider discussions of exploration of the Americas.

     

    Thumbnail: World map by Martellus, British Library, CC0, via Wikimedia

    Summary

    In this lesson students compare three maps, one from 1491, one from 1570, and one from 1794 to note differences and discus why the maps changed over time.  This in turn can introduce wider discussions of exploration of the Americas.

    This lesson is intended to take 45 minutes and be face-to-face.

    Background for Teachers

    For this lesson you will need a basic understanding of reading maps.  This lesson includes a 1491 map from a German cartographer named Henricus Martellus Germanus (it is thought that Christopher Columbus had this map on his journey), a 1570 map from a Dutch cartographer named Abraham Ortelius, and a 1794 map from an English cartographer and mathemetician named Samuel Dunn.  

    Before teaching this lesson, you should consider the advances in European exploration of the United States between 1491 and 1794. 

    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Students will be able to use maps to understand impacts of European exploration in North America. 

    Students will analyze and compare maps from different eras and identify differences due to continued exploration.

    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge

    Prior to this lesson students will need to have a basic understanding of world maps and a feeling for contients and major landforms.  The lesson Digital Science Online: Reading Maps on emedia is a great source to provide that understanding and could be done as a preliminary to this lesson.  

    It would also be helpful if students already had an idea that American Indians already lived in North America and that European explorers were mapping lands that were already known and inhabited.

    The lesson has students use a three circle Venn Diagram and requires prior knowledge of how to use that.

    For this lesson students will need copies of three maps: 1491 Martellus, 1570 Ortelius, and 1794 Dunn.

    Step 3 - Instruction

    The teacher will group students and give each group a copy of the 1491, 1570, and 1794 map.  

    The teacher will give each student a blank paper and instruct them to draw a three circle Venn Diagram (or a diagram could be provided).

    The teacher will instruct the students to work as a group to compare the three maps using their diagrams.

    The students will work together to analyze the map and find differences and similarities.  

    As students finish their comparisons, the teacher will call the class back whole group and start a dicussion.  The teacher will ask students generally what similarities and differences they found. 

    The teacher will ask if students can identify which map was made first, next, and last of the three and what evidence helps them come to that conclusion.  The teacher will have students pair and discuss before dicussing as a class.

    The teacher will ask what is necessary to make more complete maps and what must have happened between the 1491 and 1794 maps to account for the differences.  

    The teacher will use this discussion to introduce European explorers in North America.

    Step 4 - Assessments

    The summative assessment for this lesson will be the Venn Diagram that students complete comparing the three different maps.  This will be where teachers can see that students have analyzed maps and idntified differences due to continued exploration.  Teachers can use the attached rubric to assess.

     

    The discussion portion of this lesson is a great opportunity for ongoing formative assessment.  In this discussion teachers will be able to assess if students have gained an understanding of how these maps show impacts of European exploration in North America.