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nyteacher29 09-10-2012 02:23 PM

Does anyone have any good ideas/lessons for explorers, specifically the presence they had on early american development? thanx!

Enkidu 09-11-2012 03:04 PM

First, go online right now and order Easy Simulations: Explorers by Scholastic. It is the most fun thing I have done in 27 years of teaching. You can build an entire unit around it.

Next, decide which explorers you are supposed to focus on. One will always be good old CC, but different states have different foci depending on what region they are in. For example, New York would have its focus on Hudson and Co.

Last, decide. This is the hardest part. There are so many things you can do with explorers. Show them a clip from American Hoggers if you want impact. The Spanish brought pigs, which went feral. There are fewer things more dangerous than a feral pig. They destroyed all the native crops, they attacked people and livestock, and they still do!

One of my favorite activities is having them write down the ingredients for their favorite meal. I make them decide whether they are from Europe or America, and they show me their ingredients. Macaroni and cheese if you are Native American: No wheat, so no macaroni. No cows so no cheese. You would have a bowl of salt, and maybe some ground mustard seed. They love it!

This is a great unit for biographies and presentations.

You can make a pop-up book. Susan Kapucinksi Gaylord has a Scholastic book. There is a unit all set up for explorers.

Evan-Moor has a downloadable e-book unit. It has great maps!

Check your textbook. Sometimes they have great ideas as well.

But here is the key to teaching fifth grade social studies, or any history: you have to know it yourself. The more you learn, the easier it is to teach. Just read a bunch of historical fiction, then check the facts.

nyteacher29 09-11-2012 03:44 PM

stopped immediately and just ordered it! thank you! I have the list of explorers I must cover. I like the idea of the meal plan (i am going to use it when i discuss the columbian exchange!) I am 7th grade so i do not know about the pop-up books but i will definitely be checking out the other resources! and i agree, i have to consult with the textbook every once and a while, i forget its even there!

and i agree also with your last statement, thats another reason why i am always asking for help/ideas/ suggestions! gotta learn in order to be able to teach! thank you!!!!

Enkidu 09-12-2012 05:55 PM

Oh, my. I just checked the site for the pop-up books, which are really cool, and found out Susan Kapucinski Gaylord no longer sells her products! This is so sad.
She had all kinds of books on how to make books to display student work.

Enkidu 09-12-2012 06:04 PM



Festivals of Light:

Year Books:

OK, every time I went to post the link I thought, this is my favorite. Then I would get to the next one, and remember that was my favorite. And so on. She is brilliant, and her directions are simple and easy to follow.

starbucksmom1 10-21-2012 05:52 AM

Explorer Reports/ Lapbook
1 Attachment(s)
Here is my cover letter for our 5th grade Explorer Reports this year. I didn't want the bulkiness of a poster size since I teach 70 LangArts kids. The "lapbook" is a folder and all elements will be placed creatively inside of it. If you'd also like all the components of the lapbook:
1) tiered choices for grades of A, B, and C
2) shield
3) Research outline page
4) Presentation rubric
send me an email at

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