Middle School
History & Social Studies

Who Really Was Christopher Columbus?

Every year schools across the country celebrate "Columbus Day" on October 10th. This Collections explores who Columbus really was---and why schools might want to reconsider how they teach about the legendary explorer. A new way of looking at history and the way we see the world!
A Collection By Sara Kaplan
  • 8 Collection Items
  • 8 Collection Items
  • Discussion
Who Really Was Christopher Columbus?
  • Sara Kaplan says:
    Introduce Christopher Columbus "the Right way" with this informative article and video from the History channel! Your students will get a new perspective on who Columbus actually was---and what his voyages were really all about. The video is professional and engaging, and the article, short enough as to not be overwhelming, offers some valuable insights.
  • Sara Kaplan says:
    Share Columbus' own writings with your class with this engaging lesson, which makes history come alive for your students as they explore accounts regarding his meetings with native peoples, read his personal letters (including one "to the King and Queen of Spain, circa 1494!") and more!
  • Sara Kaplan says:
    Introducing this lesson by questioning students, "Who is Columbus?" you can encourage students to discover the truth about what really happened during Columbus' voyages, and "distinguish between fact and opinion", learn the meaning of "bias", and discover what Columbus was really about.
  • Sara Kaplan says:
    Discover some wonderful ways to teach about Columbus in your classroom like "a mock trial of Columbus" like this helpful article suggests. There are other creative ideas you will find here, like the activity/lesson "Truth to Power: Writing Letters for Change" is linked here, which encourages older students (6-12) to write to their leaders about important issues, such as correcting historical inaccuracies like Columbus.
  • Sara Kaplan says:
    Perhaps using a SmartBoard, or having students explore on their own, you can uncover controversial debate topics, reveal unknown myths, discover a unique lesson ("What Was Columbus Thinking?", find a treasure trove of books to use in lessons about Columbus, and more in this comprehensive article that takes a closer look at the "Discoverer of the New World".
  • Sara Kaplan says:
    Use this article as an important reference and tool for teaching strategies, like introducing Columbus based on individual class subjects! As the article suggests, you can use "Geography" class to help students learn the importance of "navigation". Likewise, the article includes suggestions for "Connecting Language Arts to Columbus", and how to "Use Art to Inspire Discussion", as well as offering links to creative lesson plans and more!
  • Sara Kaplan says:
    The book "Pedro's Journal" by Pam Conrad is a Young Adult historical fiction-based classic when teaching about Columbus! In this lesson, students will learn key points of interest that Columbus visited throughout the world! You can use this lesson to delve further into these countries, and teach about their culture, and how Columbus' visit impacted each country. This lesson helps students imagine what being on Columbus' ship must have been like. A must-read for all Elementary school students.
  • Sara Kaplan says:
    What a wonderful way to help students learn how to use Google Earth, which can take you virtually anywhere in the world! It will be most helpful to use your SmartBoard for this lesson, and join your students on a voyage unlike any other---as you all join Columbus on his journey around the world to exotic lands! The lesson also uses popular interactive generators like Scratch which can make the journey even more engaging, so students can "report" back to you with their findings!