Adventure on the High Seas ~ Explorers & Pirates

Our year in the Middle Ages is coming to a close (only  5 weeks left!).  To culminate our study, we will take to the seas and learn about explorers and pirates.

We will briefly cover some of the big names from the Age of Discovery:
  • Marco Polo
  • da Gama
  • Vespucci
  • Balboa
  • Magellan
  • Ponce de Leon
  • Cook
  • (Columbus will have to wait until we study Early American History)

Our Spine Books for this portion of our study :

Product Details
Explorers of the New World: Discover the Golden Age of Exploration with 22 Projects (Build It Yourself series)

Explorer Notebooking Activities:
  • mapping 
  • timeline
  • sketching explorer clothing & ships' banners
  • sea-faring poetry copy work (resources here & here)
  • a biography page each explorer

We will also be studying the history of pirates, both fact and fiction, and how their presence on the seas affected the explorers and other travelers.

Our approach to Pirate Study will be based on location.  We will look at pirate activity in the following:

  • The Spanish Main (Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea)
  • The Mediterranean
  • The Indian Ocean
  • The Eastern Seas (Sea of Japan, Yellow Sea, East & South China Seas)

Our Spine Book for pirate study:

I like this book, because it presents an accurate, unbiased history of pirates without in any way glamorizing them.  While all images are hand drawn, please be aware that, due to the violent nature of piracy (slavery, torture, etc.), there are some things here that are too much for little ones.  I would recommend this book for older elementary and up.

The book is organized into the above sections covering for each the highlights, main players, ship & weapons designs, and strategy & tactics. 

Also included are short sections on Vikings & Modern Pirates.  On the last two pages are a glossary of Nautical & Practical Terms and a Pirate Timeline.

Our copy came from the library, but you can pick up a used paperback copy at Amazon for 1cent + shipping (they currently have 27 available).

We will study each pirate area for a few days.  Notebooking activities will include:

  • mapping 
  • sketching weapons & ships
  • sea-faring poetry copy work (resources here & here)
  • a biography page on a famous pirate for each section

And because I am a BIG fan of good historical fiction, we will also read this book during our study:


Lawson's books tend to be rather wordy, so I recommend them as read-alouds.  They are very funny and give an uncommon, albeit fanciful, perspective on familiar events.

All hands on deck & set sail!


Part 2 ~ Explorers
Part 3 ~ Pirates

No comments:

Post a Comment