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Exploring Explorers

Students examine the reasons why, throughout history, people have ventured into unexplored places to discover new lands.
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Lesson (926)

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  • Students will use vocabulary related to explorers.
  • Students will understand some of the reasons why people explore new lands.
  • Students will recognize the similarities between early and modern-day explorers.



  1. Introduce key vocabulary: expeditions, heathens, hermits, inhabitants, myrrh, trade.
  2. Have students work individually or with partners to complete the Exploring Explorers worksheet as they visit the Why Do People Explore website.
  3. Set up a time when students can share the information they discovered.


Use the checklist to assess students' ability to take notes and understand why people strive to explore unknown places. Assign a point value to each item.

Extension Activities

  • Choose from a large collection of cross-curricular activities for all grade levels.
  • Explore outstanding lessons and activities on ) to learn how a compass works to point someone (like an explorer) in the right direction.
  • Organize a treasure hunt on school grounds with clues that require the use of a compass and map.

Standards Correlations

National Social Studies Standards

Students develop an understanding of:

  • their historical roots and are able to locate themselves in time.
  • how reading about and reconstructing the past allows them to develop historical perspective.
  • places and regions, and interactions of environment and society.
  • the factors that contribute to who they are; to what they think, feel, and believe; to what they decide and do; and to how they perceive themselves and the world.

National Educational Technology Standards


  • practice responsible use of technology systems, information, and software.
  • use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

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