Unit 2: U.S. History - The Age of Exploration in America

Stage 1 - Desired Results

Establish Goals:

What relevant goals (e.g. content standards, course or program objectives, learning outcomes) will this design address?

California History-Social Studies Standards

5.2 Students trace the routes of early explorers and describe the early explorations of the Americas.
1. Describe the entrepreneurial characteristics of early explorers (e.g., Christopher Columbus, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado) and the technological developments that made sea exploration by latitude and longitude possible (e.g., compass, sextant, astrolabe, seaworthy ships, chronometers, gunpowder).
2. Explain the aims, obstacles, and accomplishments of the explorers, sponsors, and leaders of key European expeditions and the reasons Europeans chose to explore and colonize the world (e.g., the Spanish Reconquista, the Protestant Reformation, the Counter Reformation).
3. Trace the routes of the major land explorers of the United States, the distances traveled by explorers, and the Atlantic trade routes that linked Africa, the West Indies, the British colonies, and Europe.
4. Locate on maps of North and South America land claimed by Spain, France, England, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Russia.
CCSS ELA Standards for California
Reading Information
5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text
5.2 Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
5.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
5.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.
5.5 Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.
5.6 Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.


5.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly
5.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.


Students will understand that . . .
• There were economic and other pressures that led to European exploration and the resolution of conflicts that freed up resources to do so
• Europe wanted goods from Asia and did not want to pay Ottoman Turks to get them
• European nations consolidated into nations and finished conquering and expelling the Moors in Spain. This gave them the resources to invest in exploration.
• Europeans came to America because they wanted to travel or were just exploring

Essential Questions:

Provocative Questions
What events in Eurasia led Europeans to go explore and locate America?
What kept them here?

Essential Background:

Background knowledge
• Reading maps, reading time lines

Students will know . . .

• How to answer a short response question using information from lessons and other materials, including vocabulary, etc.
• How to write a summary of videos or supplemental texts
Skills and knowledge
• Answering weekly short response assessment
• Writing notes for text lessons
• Writing video or book reports

Students will be able to know . . .

Read maps to show about how the Europeans came to and spread through the Americas
Read timelines to understand the different period cultures flourished

Performance Tasks:

• Weekly Assessments
Authentic task
• Choice of assessment - Students will be able to choose a format (comic/graphic, infographic, play, podcast, etc.) to convey an idea from the unit

Other Evidence:

• Unit packet with notes and other work related to the topic
• Question and concept board, bi-weekly class discussions, survey at unit end (Google Docs).

Stage 3 - Learning Plan


Mizmercer's Favorite Links on ageofexploration from Diigo

Learning Activities:

What learning experiences and instruction will enable students to achieve the desired results?

History Text
Supplemental Reading/ Videos
Writing and Other Activities
Unit 2 Chapter 3 The Growth of Trade
Lesson 1 Europe Faces Change p128-133
Think/Ideas: What changes happened in Europe in the 1400s and 1500s?
Review Mankind, The Story of All of Us
episode 5 and 6 to show the push to explore
Re-introduce video reports and have them fill them out
Introduction to Macbooks: Using them to do activities
Unit 2 Chapter 3 The Growth of Trade
Lesson 2 Trade in Asia and Africa
Think/Ideas: What kinds of goods were traded from Asia and Africa in the 1400s?
Lesson 3 Europeans Seek New Trade Routes
Think/Ideas: How did Portugal become a European leader in exploration in the 1400s?

Re-introduce unit activity sheets
Unit 2 Chapter 4 Two Worlds Meet
Lesson 1 Spaniards Reach the Americas p150-155
Think/Ideas: What happened when Europeans and Native Americans met for the first time?
Lesson 2 Spanish Exploration and Conquest p156-161
Think/Ideas: How did the arrival of Spanish explorers change life in the Americas?
Readers' Theater "The Spanish Reach Mexico" p162-165
Introduce the class wiki and doing the weekly assessment online
Unit 2 Chapter 4 Two Worlds Meet
Lesson 3 Spain's Overseas Empire p166-171
Think/Ideas: What was life like in New Spain?
Lesson 4 The Spanish Frontier p174-179
Think/Ideas: How did exploration help to expand Spain's empire?
Mankind, The Story of All of Us
Episode 8 Treasure

Unit 2 Chapter 5 Europeans in North America
Lesson 1 Searching for the Northwest Passage
Think/Ideas: Why did Europeans want to find a shorter water route to Asia?
Lesson 2 The First French Colonies p192-197
Think/Ideas: What did French explorers find in North America?

Veterans Day Holiday
Unit 2 Chapter 5 Europeans in North America
Lesson 3 The First English Colonies p198-203
Think/Ideas: How were the first English colonies founded in North America?