Monthly Archives: August 2012

Amerigo Vespucci

WEEK 3: Lesson Plan on Amerigo Vespucci (1507 A.D.)

READ:  Grades K – 3:  Land Ho!:  by Nancy Parker

4 – 6:  The Story of Amerigo Vespucci, Forgotten Voyager  by Ann Alper  (Chps 4 – end)

7 – 8:  The Story of Amerigo Vespucci, Forgotten Voyager  by Ann Alper (the whole book)

These images were obtained from


  • Why did the king of Spain send Vespucci out to explore Columbus’s lands? (He wanted him to find out what lands Columbus had discovered and to make maps of those lands.  He didn’t want to send Columbus because people from his new colonies were complaining about his leadership.)
  • When it came to maps and navigation, how did Amerigo contribute to the world?  (He was able to determine latitude & longitude, and navigate by stars and planets.  He was able to make accurate maps and determine within 50 miles the size of the earth.)
  • What important fact did Amerigo discover about the New World?  (It wasn’t the Indies.)
  • Name some of the problems Vespucci had at sea? (Storms destroyed some of the boats and shipworms were eating his boats.)
  • Why is America named America? ( A German mapmaker made the first accurate map of the New World from Vespucci’s letters.  He thought Amerigo had discovered the lands so he named them after him.)

ACTIVITIES: All ages:  Make a map of Amerigo’s voyages using this blank map from  You may use this site for help.

 K – 2: Using toothpicks, paper, and play dough, create the kind of ship Amerigo might have used to discover America.  (Use pictures of Amerigo Vespucci’s boat on the internet for help: click here.)

3 – 5: Write a paragraph: which explorer do you think was more important?  Amerigo Vespucci or Christopher Columbus?  Why?  (Give 3 reasons.)

6 – 8: Write an essay:  Which explorer was a more important historical figure, Christopher Columbus or Amerigo Vespucci.  Write a 5 paragraph, three proof essay.

Copyright August 20th, 2012 by Gwen Fredette

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Christopher Columbus

WEEK 2: Lesson Plan on Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506 A.D.)

WATCH:  Grades K – 3:  Animated Hero Classics: Christopher Columbus  by  NEST Entertainment OR READ: Christopher Columbus by Stephen Krensky

4 – 6:  Christopher Columbus: The Discovery of the New World  by Carole Gallagher

7 – 8: Christopher Columbus by Peter & Connie Roop

These images were obtained from  No legal image is available to me for Christopher Columbus: The Discovery of the New World by Carole Gallagher.


  • Where was Columbus from? (Italy)
  • When Columbus first presented his plan to look for a new trade route to the Indies, it was rejected.  Why?  (People believed it couldn’t be done; people thought his calculations were wrong, expensive trip, etc.)
  • Which country did Columbus sail for? (Spain)
  • What were the names of the ships that went with him? (Nina, Pinta, & Santa Maria)
  • Besides sailors, who went with Columbus on his voyage? (Arabic translator, secretary)
  • After they had been at sea for many days, the sailors grew frightened.  Why? (Superstitious, Sea Monsters, etc.)
  • How long did it take them to reach land? (33 days; over a month)
  • Why was Columbus surprised by the natives?  (very poor, no gold)
  • Why do you think Columbus forced some Natives to go back with him? (to prove where he had been)
  • How many ships made it back to Spain? (2)

Questions for older kids:

  • Describe Columbus’s 2nd voyage to America? (Found Spaniards left behind had been murdered by Indians (for stealing gold, women, etc.  Indians were now unfriendly to them.  Mosquitoes were causing Malaria, sailors out of control, terrorizing Indians, etc.)
  • Was Columbus a good leader and truthful person? (no. lied to the King & Queen about the wealth he had found)
  • Did Columbus ever realize he hadn’t found the Indies? (no)

ACTIVITIES: All ages: Make a map of Columbus’s voyages using this blank map from

K – 2: Christopher Columbus coloring page:

3 – 5: Christopher Columbus crossword puzzle

6 – 8: Write an essay:  If you were a sailor on one of Columbus’s ships, would Columbus be the kind of man you would respect?  Why or why not?

Copyright August 19, 2012 by Gwen Fredette

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Leif Ericson

WEEK 1: Lesson Plan on LEIF ERICSON (1000 A.D.)

READ:  Grades K – 4:  Leif Ericson:  Explorer of Vinland by Matthew Grant OR The Age of Leif Eriksson by Richard Humble pgs 12-13 and 16 –end

5 – 8:  The Viking Explorers by Jim Gallagher  Chp 1 and Chp 4 – end
No legal image is available for the K- 4 book options.


  • What group of people did Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky belong to?  (Vikings)
  • Why was Eric the Red banished for 3 years from Iceland?  (he killed some men)
  • Where did he sail to?  (Greenland)
  • Why did he name it Greenland if most of it was covered with ice?  (Thought people would be more likely to move there if it had a nice name.)
  • Why did people form a settlement in Greenland?  (Getting too crowded in Iceland)
  • Why did Leif want to explore the lands to the west of Greenland?  (wanted to explore, colony needed wood; very few trees in Greenland)
  • Where did Leif and his men finally land? (Vinland, some people think it was Newfoundland, some Massachusetts, etc.)
  • Why did he name it Vinland?  (A member of his group found grapes there.)
  • Other Vikings came to America but their colonies failed.  Why? (fighting with Indians, fighting with each other.)
  • Why did the Vikings eventually leave Greenland?  (climate became too cold.)

ACTIVITIES: All ages:  Make a map of Leif’s voyage using this link:

Grades K – 2: Do Leif Ericson coloring page 

3 – 5: Write a paragraph comparing and contrasting life for the Vikings on Greenland with life in America.

6 – 8: Write an essay:  If you were Leif Ericson, after experiencing life on all three islands, which island would you have chosen to live on and why?

Copyright August 17th, 2012 by Gwen Fredette


Filed under Colonial America, Early American History