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Columbus Day, Grades K-5

Lessons, Activities, and Other Resources Present a Range Of Opinions on Christopher Columbus

Found in: Social Studies, Language Arts, Science, Grades PreK-2, Grades 3-5

Lesson Plans

Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue ( PDF, 1.18 MB, 39 pgs.)
In this five lesson unit, kindergarten students use reading, writing, math, and geography skills studying the voyage of Columbus in 1492.

Christopher Columbus ( PDF, 94 KB, 23 pgs.)
Students in first grade learn about the Christopher Columbus, good and bad, through the reading of Jean Fritz’s book, Where do you think you’re going, Christopher Columbus?

The Indians’ Discovery of Columbus
Students in grade 3 depart from the traditional Euro-centric view and consider the New World explorations and conquests from the perspective of Native Americans.

What Was Columbus Thinking?
Students in grades 3-5 read excerpts from Columbus's letters and journals, as well as recent considerations of his achievements and then reflect on the consequences, intended and unintended, of his endeavor.

Cyberspace Explorer: Getting to Know Christopher Columbus
Students in grades 3-5 use the Internet to gather information about Christopher Columbus and use their notes to prepare a timeline and summary report.

Celebrate Columbus Day!
Students in grades 3-8 learn about Columbus's Book of Privileges and then create a class or individual "Book of Privileges."


Background Resources

Tools of Navigation
(Grades 5-12) Learn about the tools used by early navigators.

Biographical Information

Contact with Indigenous Peoples

  • 1492: An Ongoing Voyage
  • The exhibition from the Library of Congress examines the first sustained contacts between American people and European explorers, conquerors and settlers from 1492 to 1600.


last updated: September 13, 2015



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