Whether they were the world’s bravest explorers or the world barely noticed their bravery, this ultimate guide to great explorers, both great and small, will give you a starting point for in-depth learning about some of these fascinating explorers and their journeys.
Learning about great explorers and seeing events, places, and everyday life unfold through their eyes allows you and your children to go to places you may have never been. If nothing else, it will give you a glimpse of the determination, bravery, and fortitude explorers exhibited. Hopefully, you’ll come away with both a more adventurous spirit and a deeper respect for other parts of the world.
Ideas for Geography Inspiration
I’ve alphabetized the explorers by their last name to make it easier for you to locate each one. In cases when an explorer’s last name is not given or known, I’ve listed each by his only name or first name known.
Sometimes more than one explorer navigated the same region but presented their journeys from a different view. I think it’s easier to list them by name so that you get the full benefit of their individual perspectives, instead of breaking down this ultimate to great explorers by the region each explored.
General posts, downloads, printables and unit studies.
|The Great Age of Exploration (1400–1550) 48 page teacher guide on a variety of explorers.|
Curriculum Guide on Circumnavigation 12 pages.
Hispanic Exploration in America 9 page lesson plan using primary sources.
Those Who Have Come Before Me 7 page lesson plan about space exploration.
Mapping Skills for K-3.
European Explorers of North and South America 13 page lesson plan.
Free Continent Map.
Explore the Explorers Online
Spain and America: From Reconquest to Conquest
European Exploration & Trade 22 pages.
|Early Explorers 12 page teacher guide on a variety of explorers.|
European Exploration, Trade and Colonization 22 free unit guide.
The Age of Exploration 6 page helpful background information.
Exploring the World 12 page lesson with photos of landmarks.
Exploring the Moon Educators Guide – 158 page free download.
Hands-on Explorers Unit Study.
Da Gama, Vespucci, and Balboa Lesson
The Great Age of Exploration 48 pages.
Hands-on Ideas and Activities.
|Make a 3-dimensional globe.|
Learning longitude and latitude using an orange – 6 page download.
Free Explorers Lapbook.
Age of Exploration Ideas – Taste foods from different countries.
Free Writing prompts About Explorers.
First Explorers Flipbook Project
North American Explorers WebQuest
The Discovery of the Americas Play
|You’ll love the free timeline figures and coloring pages here for many of the explorers.|
Make a balloon globe.
European Explorers Word Search Puzzle.
Make Explorers Ships with Toilet Paper Tube Sail – for art.
Hands-on History Explorer 48 page free curriculum.
Postcards from the Explorers.
Early Explorer Journal Writing
Vasco Nunez de Balboa
|Free book at Gutenberg.|
Vasco Nunez de Balboa Biography
Vasco Nunez de Balboa Slideshow
Daniel Boone North American Explorer
|Free Lapbook and Unit Study.|
Read Boone’s own account of his “Adventures,” published in 1874.
Boone: Tennessee’s Western Frontier 16 page download.
|The Wilderness Road.|
Daniel Boone Picture Book Lesson
Daniel Boone Trailblazer 7 pages.
Daniel Boone and the American Frontier 21 pages.
Samuel de Champlain
|Samuel de Champlain Powerpoint.|
Samuel De Champlain New France Lesson Plan 20 pages.
|Champlain in America|
Champlain Reaches the Lake 32 pages.
|Columbus 10-page workbook.|
Activities 64-pages of coloring pages and activities.
Columbus: Hero or Villian.
|My first biography 8-page download.|
Voyages of Columbus timeline.
Who was Christopher Columbus? 6-page lesson plan.
Also for learning about Christopher Columbus, look at my series 5 Days of Learning Printables:The World of Columbus and Sons Day 5 For Middle and High School.
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
|Francisco Coronado Lesson Plan|
Coronado: Misfortune’s Explorer Lesson Plan
|Coronado Biography for Kids|
Coronado Historical Summary
|Hernando Cortes Poster Activity|
Cortes Compare and Contrast Lesson
|Conquistadors: Hernan Cortes Lesson Plan|
Cortes: Fact Vs. Fiction
-1500). 3 page download.
Sir Francis Drake
Vasco da Gama
|Reading Comprehension Quiz.|
Early Modern Britain 96 page teacher’s guide
Vasco da Gama PBS World Explorers
| Europe Discovers the Riches of India.|
Vasco de Gama Finds a Sea Route to India.
Vasco da Gama Lesson Plan
|The search for the Northwest Passage.|
Henry Hudson Free Games and Activities.
|On the Half Moon with Henry Hudson Free 70 page Guide.|
Free 56 page Unit Study & Lesson Plans.
Henry Hudson Lesson Plan 19 pages.
Juan Ponce de Leon
|How Magellan circumnavigated the globe.|
Colonization: for Gold, God, and Glory.
Ferdinand Magellan Voyages of Discovery YouTube
|Magellan’s voyage around the world.
|Conquistadors: Francisco Pizarro.|
Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas – 82 page free guide
Cortes & Pizarro Teacher’s Guide – 2 page.
|Free Unit Study, Lapbook and Hands-on Ideas.|
On the Road with Marco Polo
|Marco Polo and the Silk Road Lesson Plan|
Marco Polo Resource Guide 48 pages.
Sir Walter Raleigh
|4-page educator’s guide for Raleigh’s Page.|
Sir Walter Raleigh Biography
Walter Raleigh Video Lesson
| Birth of a Colony.|
Sir Walter Raleigh and South America
Early Virginia Exploration 21 pages.
Hernando de Soto
|Hernando De Soto: Explorers for Kids|
Conquest of America by Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto and Exploration of Florida
|De Soto’s Trip Through South Carolina|
De Soto in America
De Soto’s Discovery of the Mississippi
|Amerigo Vespucci Worksheet|
Amerigo Vespucci: Explorers for Kids
|Amerigo Vespucci 5th Grade Lesson Plan|
Amerigo Vespucci Biography
Are you interested in more of my Ultimate Guides? Of course you are.
Read Lewis and Clark Expedition – The Ultimate Guide, Ultimate Guide to Learning Activities in a Jar or Bottle, The Ultimate Guide for New Homeschoolers and The Unrivaled Guide to Civil War Activities for Kids.
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