Grade 6 ~ An Adventure to the New World

An Adventure to the New World

 Instructions from the King and Queen

You, as an agent for the King and Queen, are hereby authorized to make a journey to the New World on behalf of our kingdom. All of our rivals are competing for land, trade and wealth. Whoever wins will be the strongest kingdom in Europe. It is imperative that you succeed.

Your mission is to claim all land for the monarchy, locate a new trading route across the ocean, look for the Northwest Passage, and bring back gold, silver, metals, spices, new plants, and any items deemed valuable. You will be provided with a ship, crew, and all the necessary provisions for an extensive journey to the New World. Certain precise requirements must be met if you expect to be rewarded for your achievements. In order to fulfill your contract you will make an Explorer’s Notebook consisting of the attached items. Good luck on your journey and Godspeed.


The Monarchy


You must complete the journey and return with evidence of your findings in the new land. Create an “Explorer’s Notebook” for your journey.

It should include:

  1. Cover with name (one inch letters) and picture of you, the explorer and the crew roster.
  2. A public announcement alerting people to the voyage.
  3. A map tracing the voyage from the sponsoring country to the New World and back. Show your explorations on a detailed map.
  4. Information about you, the captain. Explain your experience, early life, and why you are exploring. (What are you looking for?)
  5. Daily log detailing weather conditions.
  6. Daily journal listing daily navigational location….longitude and latitude.
  7. Flag of Monarchy to plant on all land claimed.
  8. Drawing detailing the ship with all masts and sails. Show where all cargo is stowed. Label the cargo.
  9. Specific information about the area(s) explored. This should include items such as plants, land, animals, minerals, agriculture, and people you met on your journey. Include sketches and bring back samples of anything you can.
  10. A letter to the monarch (King or Queen) sharing what you found and persuading him or her to either continue or abandon similar explorations in the future.



There are 4 main parts to this project:

Step 1: Gaining background knowledge
Step 2: Collecting information
Step 3: Writing and assembling the Explorer’s Notebook
Step 4: Presenting your findings and evidence to the King and Queen

Step 1: Gaining Background Knowledge

Before collecting information on your explorer, investigate primary source documents on navigation styles and sailing ships of the late 1400’s. You will read actual diaries and letters from Explorers written in the 1500’s. After reading these, adopt their style and write your journals and letters in the same fashion. As a whole class, discuss the style of writing in these primary materials, recording notable phrases on chart paper and noting types of ships and navigation terms.



Da Gama:

Sailing Ships of the Late 1400′s


Dead reckoning:

Step 2: Collecting Information

Each individual will choose a different explorer about whom to research and create an Explorer’s Notebook. Each explorer has different roles that need to be explain:

1. Explorer

Task 4 – early life
Task 10 – letter

2. Navigator

Task 3 – map
Task 8 – ship
Task 6 – journal

3. Scientist

Task 9 – samples and drawings
Task 5 – weather log

4. Ambassador

Task 1 – cover
Task 2 – announcement
Task 7 – flag
Internet Resources on Explorers

Record your notes on paper and draw pictures as needed.






De Soto





Da Gama





Joliet & Marquette




Other Resources

Most of the following titles are available through the book clubs and in paperback. Check your library for others.

Around the World in 100 Years by Jean Fritz
Scholastic Atlas of Exploration by Dinah Starkey
Explorers Who Got Lost by Diane Sansevere Dreher
The Usborne Book of Explorers by Everette and Reid
The World in 1492 by Fritz, Paterson, McKissack, Mahy, Highwater
Portraits of Outstanding Explorers by Doris Hunter Metcalf CD-Rom Encyclopedias Encarta, and World Book have extensive biographies of explorers

Step 3: Writing and Assembling the Explorer Notebook

After you have gathered all the information you need, meet with your group and share what you have learned. Listen to what the other group members have learned too. Write your part of the Notebook and work with the others so that each page in the notebook has the same style. Proof read, edit, and produce a final Explorer’s Notebook.

Step 4: Presenting Your Findings to the King and Queen

Now is the time you have been waiting for. Dress up in your finest clothes representing the time period and prepare your presentation to the King and Queen. Bring your findings and evidence. Each person must present his/her own part. Perhaps you will be rewarded for your achievement and be knighted!


You will be collecting a lot of information, so it is important to stay organized. Write down your main ideas, draw pictures, sketch maps or print one page from a site you visited. Keep your material in a group folder or one of your own. Use your time wisely at the computer so you can find all the necessary information in the time allotted.


Your Explorer’s Notebook will be graded on the following:

The completeness of the parts you completed for the Explorer’s Journal.
The correctness of the information.
The writing is in your own hand writing and your own words, neat and interesting to read.
The completeness and creativity of the artwork.
 Please include a bibliography on a separate piece of paper.
JOURNAL is DUE February 25, 2013.
Requests for an audience with the Monarchy will be taken at this time.
Your presentation to the King and Queen will be graded on the following:

Your costume’s accuracy as representative of the time period.
Your presentation is prepared by memorizing.
Your “evidence” to give to the King and Queen is convincing.


The explorers opened the door to the vistas unknown to Europeans. They expanded knowledge of the world and because of their journeys people on both sides of the Atlantic became aware of other cultures. Lands were discovered and mapped. The European explorers made it possible for other Europeans to follow with trade and settlement. The European Age of Exploration was motivated by a desire for wealth and trade. The monarchies who sponsored the expeditions started a powerful expansionist movement that changed the world forever.


  • What do you know now that you didn’t know before?
  • What was the biggest surprise about your explorer?
  • Compare your explorer to astronauts today. What characteristics do they share?
  • After listening to all the presentations, which explorer do you think had the greatest achievement?


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