NYCDOE: Passport to Social Studies - grade 5, unit 2
This is the second unit of the grade five scope and sequence, titled: European Exploration. It was developed by a team of NYCDOE staff and teachers, in collaboration with scholars of the humanities and social sciences as well as museum curators. Students will immerse themselves in the topic by discussing focus questions, reading and analyzing a rich collection of diverse primary and secondary sources, examining artifacts, and interpreting images, such as paintings and maps.
The voyages of Henry the Navigator, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Hernan Cortes, John Cabot, and many more Western European explorers and conquistadors, who connected the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, set off dramatic changes around the world. The overall focus of this unit deals directly with how concepts of power, wealth, and morality influenced early Western exploration and eventual colonization of coastal Africa, the great indigenous civilizations of South America, and the complex farming societies of the Eastern Woodland Indians and Caribbean. Topics and historical concepts of representative lessons in this unit include: investigate the means and motivations of different European explorers in the Western Hemisphere; examine the interactions between the Native Americans and Europeans; describe the process and impact of the Columbian Exchange and the Middle Passage; determine how geography and concepts of race and culture impacted colonialism, and led European, native peoples, and Africans to establish lasting identities.
To evaluate student mastery of content knowledge, cognitive processes, and critical thinking skills, this unit includes formative assessments, and performance-based assessment activity, which has students analyze the effects of exploration from the perspectives of Africans, Native peoples, and Europeans and synthesize the information gathered in their “explorers journal” to determine how power, wealth, and morality influenced colonization.
Please note: the complete set of NYCDOE K-8: Passport to Social Studies Core Curriculum materials include a wide-range of trade books and primary documents, in addition to this unit of study. In order to support rigorous social studies instruction and student inquiry, we recommend that teachers integrate these resources into their daily instruction and assessment plans.
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