Middle School1 more
History & Social Studies

Teaching Christopher Columbus and the Colombian Exchange

Should Columbus Day be a federal holiday? Was South Dakota correct in changing the observance of Native American Day? This is an important, and very relevant, topic of study for students today. This collection gives you lessons on the Columbian Exchange (of plants and animals) between the "Old World" and "New World," as well as activities that encourage students to draw conclusions from history.
A Collection By Amelia Franz
  • 8 Collection Items
  • 8 Collection Items
  • Discussion
Teaching Christopher Columbus and the Colombian Exchange
  • zinnedproject.org
    zinnedproject.org

    The New (and Improved?) Textbook Columbus

    5 minute read
    Amelia Franz says:
    Author and former history teacher Bill Bigelow critiques current textbook treatment of Columbus in the history of colonialism. This is definitely worth a read!
  • Amelia Franz says:
    I think this would make a wonderful culminating class activity for a unit on Columbus or exploration. Students conduct a mock trial of Christopher Columbus, to decide whether he is guilty of the murder of millions of people on the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic/Haiti). It will require them to draw conclusions and interpret history, which is exactly the kind of higher-level thinking skills we want our students to develop.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    "An Open Letter from the American Indian Movement of Colorado and Our Allies" summarizes why many indigenous peoples and Native American tribes do not celebrate Columbus day or view Christopher Columbus as a heroic figure. This was originally published in The Rocky Mountain News in 1994. This letter will provoke good discussion among your students.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    Students read a letter from Christopher Columbus to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, describing his voyage. They then "read like detectives" to help them summarize the letter and draw inferences for a critical understanding of historical beliefs and assumptions in 1492. This lesson would work well for middle school, as well as high school. You could extend the lesson by incorporating geography and map study of the islands Columbus describes in his letter.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    This excellent lesson from the National Humanities Center gives excerpts from, and close-reading questions on, Charles C. Mann's 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. A teacher guide and student copies are included, along with vocabulary and a follow-up assignment. Because of text complexity, this would be best for high-school students .
  • Amelia Franz says:
    What a fun project idea! Working in pairs, students create "Old World" and "New World" restaurant menus, using only ingredients that would be found there before European exploration. Microsoft Word templates are included for download so that students can simply click and replace the existing text with their menu items, prices, and descriptions.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    $1.99 seems like a good price for this 15-slide PowerPoint introduction to the Columbian Exchange. All the reviews are very positive, and a hands-on activity is included.
  • The Columbian Exchange

    Website
    pbslearningmedia.org
    pbslearningmedia.org
    Amelia Franz says:
    This PBS Learning Media lesson plan requires student and teacher accounts. Students learn about the Columbian Exchange by watching a video, learning vocabulary, and completing a writing assignment. Teacher materials include a rubric, definitions, and questions for students.
BloomBoard SparkOther Cross-Curricular
BloomBoard Asks:Did any of the resources in this collection lead to interesting class discussions about race and the role it played in Columbus's exploration of the "new world"?