Tag Archives: explorer




Fifth grade students learn about the early explorers as part of their CA Social Studies curriculum. To tie into the unit on exploration, I had the students paint caravels. Caravels were smaller than a galleon, had a different sail configuration and could be maneuvered easier.

I showed the students pictures of caravels and they looked at information about these ships. They were allowed to paint the ships with different sail configurations and could choose the time of day. It was a good lesson to introduce sgraffito and how to use a dry brush to make foam.

Because I am not a ship historian, I found this resource to answer student questions that were not in the social studies book: http://www.iro.umontreal.ca/~vaucher/History/Ships_Discovery/


Explorer Portraits



The Social Studies books come with decks of cards. The teachers use them for all sorts of things. I like to use them for portraits. For fourth grade, we looked at the early CAlifornia Explorers. For fifth grade, they look at the explorers of the world. I have had the students use chalk pastel, colored pencil or marker for this lesson.

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They frame their portraits in interesting borders and use a name ribbon across the picture so that viewers know who the explorer is.


Student used the social studies cards for reference or they could find other images of their explorer.

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