If your history studies this fall include the Age of Exploration during the 15th-17th centuries, try a few of these writing prompts about explorers with your kids!
1. The Great Race
When Columbus claimed the New World for Spain, navigator John Cabot believed he could find a faster route across the northern Atlantic. Imagine you are John Cabot. Write a letter to King Henry VII, explaining why England should explore the “East Indies,” and why you are just the man for the job.
2. A Sight for Sore Eyes
Vasco Nunez de Balboa led the first European expedition from Spain’s colonies in the New World to the Pacific Ocean in the west. Describe his feelings and reactions after traveling three weeks, surviving battles with the Panama natives, crossing a jungle, and climbing a mountain range to finally discover the mysterious “South Sea.”
3. Uncharted Territory
The first European to explore the coasts of Florida, Spanish governor Juan Ponce de Leon was surrounded by legends after his death. Many people claimed he had searched for the Fountain of Youth in Florida, only to find giant sea turtles and Caribbean Monk Seals instead. Write about a time when life turned out differently than you expected. Were you pleased or disappointed in the end?
4. The Long Winter
When French explorer Jacques Cartier made his second spring voyage to Canada, he probably didn’t expect to spend a winter on the banks of the icy cold St. Charles River. For five months, his fleet of three ships would lay frozen in the water, while his men fell sick in their snow-covered fort. Describe Cartier’s frozen wooden ships as they would have appeared to a visiting Iroquois Indian.
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