Explorers of North America Mini-Lesson

Objective: Students will get a big picture overview of some early explorers of North America.

Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Reading Level: Upper Elementary

Teacher Background

Six thousand years ago people knew little of what existed more than a few days' journey away from their own homes. Because they could grow MORE

Subscribe to TeacherVision to read the full Teacher Background.

Already a subscriber? Sign In.

Print or Project

  1. A Visual Overview: Show the slideshow of photos to your class. Each has a descriptive caption and kid-friendly copy for your students to read. (Please note that there is also more extensive teacher note copy just for you.)
  2. Creative Caption Review: Once you've been through the slideshow for an overview, go back through it again. This time ask students to explain why the captions do (or do not!) work. (Example: Do you think the caption "Voyaging Vikings" is a good one for the photo of the Viking boat and map? Why or why not?)

Click the thumbnail slides below to see the captions and kid-friendly copy up close.

  1. Continue the Conversation: Invite students to share any stories of their own explorations. Were they scared? Excited? What did they learn? Remind students to think about the days when exploration was not supported with technology. How do they think the word was spread back in the day of Lewis and Clark?
  2. Write about it: Ask students to pick a location that they would like to explore. Then have them write a persuasive "recruitment letter" to convince others to join them on their expedition. Encourage them to use descriptive language to convince readers to sign up for their journey.

Extension Activities

Reinforcements: These worksheets will be useful as you further develop your teaching unit. The Word Power worksheet will give your students vocabulary practice with key terms from this mini-lesson and the related activity will help reinforce key concepts on explorers.


Explorers of North America Word Power
Grade: 4 - 6
Students practice vocabulary relevant to explorers by using each defined word in a sentence.



All About Early Explorers
Grade: 2 - 5
Use these worksheets to teach children about early world exploration while improving word-matching skills.



Excerpted from:

Eyewitness: Explorer

This book takes a look at the often hazardous and perilous world of exploration from the lives and navigation techniques of the first sailors to the types of food eaten on space missions.