Grade Levels: K-3

In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about Christopher Columbus. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Christopher Columbus  topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.

Classroom Activities for Teaching About Christopher Columbus

Map Making
Have your students draw a map of the school. Where is the playground? Where is the cafeteria? Where is the classroom? Review the cardinal directions with your students and help them create a map with a compass rose.

Students can then draw a route on their maps to a specific location in the school and have partners follow the route to get to the destination. Have students think about what might happen if their maps were incorrect or if there was a building on the school grounds they did not know about. How would this affect an explorer going there for the first time?

Columbus Log Book

Columbus, like many explorers of his time, kept records of his voyages. Have students write a log book or diary of what Columbus might have seen on his journey. How do you think he felt when he first set sail? How did he feel when he first saw land? How did he feel when he first saw the native people in the Bahamas? Encourage students to be creative and write a few log book entries from Columbus’ point of view.

Should I stay or should I go?

Have your students imagine that they are sailors in 1492. They are asked to accompany Columbus on his first journey to Asia. Would they go on this dangerous and exciting journey? Why or why not? Remind students that many of the sailors did not survive Columbus’ journey, but that those who did were celebrated as heroes and got a chance to explore a different part of the world. Moderate a debate between your students. Would they do anything different from the sailors in 1492? Encourage students to speak their ideas clearly and in complete sentences.

Family and Homeschool Ideas for Teaching About Christopher Columbus

Travel the World

Look through an atlas or world map together and find countries that pique your child’s interest. Where would he or she like to visit? Why? Encourage your child to look at obscure parts of the world or remote places. Then help your child research the country to find out more information. How would people travel to get to the country? What mode(s) of transportation would be necessary? Have your child draw up a travel poster for the country.

Go Exploring

Explain that when explorers visit an area they have never visited before, they make a map and record their observations. Together with your child, visit a new and unfamiliar place, such as a park or a different part of town. Map the area as you go exploring. What landmarks do you see? What path did you take? Were there people and cultures established in the places you visited- how did you respect them? Create a map and add things you see together. Your child may want to keep a log or record of things he or she sees along the way, such as plants and animals.