Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 5-12, students use BrainPOP resources to investigate the life, accomplishments, and legacy of English explorer Henry Hudson.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Investigate the life, accomplishments, and legacy of English explorer Henry Hudson.
  2. Analyze the voyages of Henry Hudson and other explorers to form an evidence-based opinion on how the success of a voyage should be defined.


  • Computer with internet access and LCD projector

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Display the essential question on the board: What makes an exploration voyage successful?
  2. Activate prior knowledge by encouraging students to brainstorm around the essential question. Students may wish to discuss a well-known explorer such as Christopher Columbus, or another explorer you've studied. Does the explorer need to accomplish his or her initial goal in order to be considered successful? How might different groups of people's interpretations of the exploration differ and influence the way they define success? For example, would Queen Isabella of Spain have considered Columbus' exploration successful? What about the native people he encountered? Would Columbus himself view the voyages as a success?
  3. Introduce Henry Hudson to the class by displaying some of the Related Reading features. Ask students if they have heard of any landmarks or bodies of water named after him.
  4. Play the Henry Hudson Movie through once with the closed captioning on.
  5. Ask students what they think happened to Henry Hudson and the crew members who were removed from the ship during the mutiny.
  6. Display the Primary Source document for the class (click the small quill icon next to the directions.) Explain that this document is the only known account of what happened of the mutiny. Read/discuss the document briefly as a class, or have students work collaboratively to study it and answer the questions on the activity page.
  7. Display the Review Quiz for the class and talk about students' answers. You may want to divide the class into teams and see which team can answer the most questions correctly.
  8. Return students to the essential question: what makes an exploration voyage successful? Have students write about their response or use the Make-A-Map tool to explain their answer and use images and clips from the movie as supporting evidence.
  9. Encourage students to continue refining their response to the essential question throughout your unit of study as they learn about various explorers.