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Explorer Unit Presentations and Field Trip Ideas

Updated on May 30, 2016
iijuan12 profile image

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

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These are the directions for our culminating project we did following our 5 part hands-on unit study on Explorers. The children brought "authentic" food, sang, dressed up as their assigned explorer, and made presentations on their explorers. After their presentations, we enjoyed a meal of dishes from the explorer's countries of origins or locations of exploration. Also included are field trips we attended while studying this unit study. I did this with a homeschool co-op. Use these fun lessons with your class, family, homeschool co-op group, after school program, or camp!

Explorer Presentations Invitations

To wrap up our explorer unit, we will have a fun evening together where your children can show what they have done and learned. Your entire family is invited to come. We will eat a pot-luck dinner, display items we have made, sing The Continents Song, Spanish Explorers Song, and the Northwest Passage Song, and have your child(ren) dress up and speak as one of the individual explorers. Each child should dress like their explorer and present information about that particular explorer. For the dinner please bring a main dish and either a side dish or dessert from your explorer's county of origin.

List of Explorers:

Christopher Columbus

Hernando de Cortes

Vasco Da Gama

Ferdinand Magellan

Marco Polo

Amerigo Vespucci

Leif Ericson

Vasco Nunez de Balboa

Francisco Pizarro

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado

Hernando de Soto

John Cabot

Jacques Cartier

Sir Francis Drake

Henry Hudson

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Discovery of America Play

If your group would prefer to put on a play instead of doing presentations, try The Discovery of the Americas Play.


Field Trip Ideas

Unless you live near us, you probably won't be able to go to the specific places went went to for our field trips. You probably have similar places around where you live. This list can give you ideas on where you can go for your co-op or family field trips when studying explorers. Mission San Luis was great for learning about the interaction between the early Native Americans and the Spaniards! "A visit to Mission San Luis transports you back in time. Your destination is a community where Apalachee Indians and newcomers from Spain live in close proximity drawn together by religion as well." We also visited the Challenger Learning Center and saw a Sky Show that included information about navigating by stars.

Looking for the lessons?

Montezuma's Headdresses and Conquistador Masks from Lesson 4: Ponce de Leon, Aztecs, Cortes, & Conquistadors Lesson
Montezuma's Headdresses and Conquistador Masks from Lesson 4: Ponce de Leon, Aztecs, Cortes, & Conquistadors Lesson

Build Viking shields and swords and "sail" to Vineland with Leif Erikson, walk the route of Marco Polo (through your house) and collect the items that he saw on his journey through China, go on a compass treasure hunt, dramatize Columbus' journey, make Da Gama Portuguese land markers, create Montezuma's headdress, go on a conquistador hunt for gold, bake constellation bar cookies, dress up as and present on famous explorers, and more during this unit study on Explorers!

  • Marco Polo and Leif Erikson Lesson - This is part 1 of a 5 part hands-on unit on Explorers. Walk the route of Marco Polo (through the house) and collect the items he came across while in Asia. Make Viking bread, Viking helmets, shields, and swords and “sail” to Vineland (America) as a Viking, and more!
  • Christopher Columbus & Prince Henry the Navigator Lesson - This is part 2 of a 5 part hands-on unit study on Explorers. Go on a compass treasure hunt, eat sailor food, jump across the parts of a caravel ship, act out Columbus' journey, and more!
  • Da Gama, Vespucci, Balboa, & Magellan Lesson - This is part 3 of a 5 part hands-on unit study on Explorers. Make Da Gama Portuguese land markers, Vespucci parrot puppets, and Balboa hiding-in-a-barrel stick puppets. Search for the Pacific Ocean with Balboa (through your house). Eat “sawdust” and “leather” with Magellan and many more activities!
  • Ponce de Leon, Aztecs, Cortes, & Conquistadors Lesson This is part 4 of a 5 part hands-on unit on Explorers. Create Montezuma's headdress, act out the meeting between Cortes & Montezuma, go on a conquistador hunt for gold, and more!
  • Cabot, Cartier, Drake, Hudson, and Astronomy Lesson - This is part 5 of a 5 part hands-on unit on Explorers. Bake constellation bar cookies, create star finders, act out Cartier's expedition, and more!
  • Explorer Unit Presentations and Field Trip Ideas – For the culminating project we following the 5 part hands-on unit on explorers, the children dressed as explorers, made presentations, and shared “authentic” food from their explorer’s country of origin. They also sang the songs from the unit. Also included are the field trips we took during this unit.
  • Fun, FREE Hands-On Unit Studies - I have posted my links to over 35 hands-on unit studies (compromised of over 170 lessons) that focus primarily on science and social studies. In each lesson plan I have listed the activities that we did (and included photos), the books we read, YouTube video clips that we watched, and lapbook links that pair with the lesson.

Who was your favorite explorer?

See results

Explorers Songs

Explorers Song

Once upon a time.. The Explorers (Hello Maestro)

Konos Volume II
Konos Volume II

Konos Curriculum

Would you like to teach this way every day?

Konos Curriculum

I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful curriculum and was created by moms with active boys! The lay out of this unit study and some of the activities are based on the lessons from the Inquisitiveness Unit Study found in Konos Curriculum Volume II.

Konos Home School Mentor

If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2010 Shannon

If You Could Travel with One Explorer, Which One Would It Be? - Or just leave me a note. I love getting feedback from you!

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    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Florida

      @fivefoll: Good choice!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Leif Erickson. After he became a Christian!

    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      @JoyfulPamela2: Yes, that would have been a fascinating voyage.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Cook - because I've always wanted to visit Australia. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good ideas!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This would be great for our class projects.


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