New Unit: Age of Discovery (1450-1700)

This week we begin a new unit-Age of Discovery (1450-1700). We will examine scientific discoveries, technological inventions, and visionaries who sparked an age of scientific innovations in Europe.  We examine the Europeans that engaged in exploration & conquest in Africa, Asia, and the Americas as well as the consequences of their exploration which led to colonization and slavery. We will examine the Middle Passage, the Triangular Trade, mercantilism and slavery throughout the Western Hemisphere. Finally we will look at the Scientific Revolution & the scientists who changed the world.

In order to prepare for this unit you can watch the Crash Course World history video below. The Video is titled Columbus, de Gama, & Zheng He! 15th Century Mariners. (While we will not be looking at Zheng He it is interesting that exploration has not been limited to Europe)


The First thing we will do is to take an online pre-test. Let’s see what you know already!

Follow the online link and take the Pre-test

Online Age of Discovery Pretest

or type the following address into your browser

We will begin Unit One by examining the reasons & motivations for exploration as well as the individual explorers & the nations they sailed for. The powerpoint can be found below. (There have been recent problems in viewing powerpoints recently. I am currently trying to work with One Drive to resolve them)

Introduction to the Age of Exploration & Explorers Powerpoint

Introduction to the Age of Exploration Guided Notes


Lastly, we will begin group projects worth 150 points.

Group Work- Work in Groups of 2-4. This will be worth 150 points if it is done well.

You will be given classroom time to complete the project but you will need to sped some time outside of class. (Bonus points will be awarded for excellence)

Pick a group activity from one of the list below.

  1. It is 1481 & King John II of Portugal has asked you to recruit explorers. Come up with a job description. What are the characteristics that would make a good explorer- personality, education, background, experience. Job descriptions should mention risks involved in the profession as well as compensation(salary, bonuses, & other benefits)

Create an advertisement to attract applicants. Ads should include artwork and main points from the job  description. You can also make a video featuring a commercial searching for explorers.

  1. It is the late 1400s & you and your group make up the admissions department of a navigation school. Create a set of posters, advertisements, & other materials to recruit students for the school. Your recruitment materials should provide information about the navigation school’s programs & how your school will prepare students for a maritime career. What training will the students receive in equipment & technology? How will they be prepared to face dangers & even conflict? You can also create a commercial advertising your school.


  1. Put together a skit. With one of your group members serving as a reporter show the encounter between a European explorer & Native Americans. Make sure you include details about the explorer, dates, and unusual occurrences during the journey, other stops, and things essential for the success of the journey. Other group members can serve as the explorer, crew members, & Native Americans. Show the impact of the exploration on both Europeans & natives. Make a video to share with the class. Complete an outline or summary of your skit.

You can find the instructions for the group work from the link below

Age of Exploration Group Work Instructions



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