Columbus Day, Grades K-5
Lessons, Activities, and Other Resources Present a Range Of Opinions on Christopher Columbus
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?
Christopher Columbus’ Voyages to America ( PDF, 142 KB, 4 pgs.)
In this unit, students in grade 2 learn about Christopher Columbus’ voyages to the Americas, explain the difference between cardinal and intermediate directions, and explore the effects of wind on different shaped sails.
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."
- Columbus Day Activity Set (Grades 3-5)
- Columbus Day Reader’s Theater (Grades 3-5)
- BBC - Famous People - Christopher Columbus (Grades 3-5)
- Christopher's Crossing (Grades 3-5)
- Find Your Longitude (Grades 3-6)
- Activities for Students and Teachers Mariner’s Museum (Grades 5-12)
Create a compass, astrolabe, quadrant, and nine more activities.
- Christopher Columbus Mariners' Museum
- The Columbus Navigation Homepage
- Christopher Columbus Primary Source Documents
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.
- When Worlds Collide
Companion website for the PBS program has a timeline, essays, and lessons.
- Columbus Day Themed Coloring Pages
- Christopher Columbus Activity Book: A Printable Book for Early Readers
- Columbus Day Coloring Pages
When Worlds Collide: The Untold Story of the Americas after Columbus (1:26:36)
This PBS documentary presents a vivid exploration of the first century after the Old World encountered the New World.
Christopher Columbus (9:54)
This excerpt from 500 Nations, The Discovery and Arrival of Christopher Columbus explores the clash of cultures between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of America.
- Columbus Day
Eleven short videos from History.com.
- Mel-O-Toons: Christopher Columbus (5:30)
A 1960 production. Compare this 50 year old educational video with today’s.