Exploration: Unit 5
Unit 5 is about Exploration. You will learn about the European exploration of North America and West Africa.

Click on the links or read the description to find your first information about this unit.

Forces for Exploration: Forces

Describe the motivations, obstacles, and accomplishments of the Spanish, French, Portuguese, and English explorations.

European Competition: Compete

  • Major European countries were in competition to extend their power into North America and claim the land as their own.

Competition and Conflict with American Indians: Conflict #1 Conflict #2

Describe the cultural and economic interactions between Europeans and American Indians that led to cooperation and conflict with emphasis on the American Indian concept of land.
The interactions between American Indians and Europeans sometimes led to cooperation and other times resulted in conflict.

West Africa

Identify the location of and describe the characteristics of West African societies (Ghana, Mali, and Songhai) and their interactions with traders.
  • Ghana, Mali, and Songhai each dominated West Africa in turn from 300 to l600 A.D.

  • African people and African goods played an important role in increasing European interest in world resources.

Read and copy the vocabulary and definitions for this unit.

Interactions: An activity involving two or more people

Societies: A structured community of people bound together by similar traditions or nationality

Manufactured Goods: Something that has been produced from raw materials

Sahara Desert: The world’s largest desert; found in Northern Africa

Niger River: A river in West Africa; 2,600 miles long

European: Relating to the people or the continent of Europe

Obstacles: Something that blocks a passage or somebody’s way

Resources: Something that can be used as a source of help

Competition: An activity in which people try to “win”

Culture: The beliefs, customs and practices of a group of people

Starvation: Not having enough food, sometimes resulting in death

Economic: Relating to money

Superiority: A sense of being better than other people

Empire: A group of territories ruled by a single person

Navigation: Plotting and following a course from one place to another

Trade: The activity of buying and selling or sometimes bartering goods

Crops: Any group of plants grown by people for food

The West African Kingdoms

Ghana, Mali, and Songhai were located in the western region of Africa, south of the Sahara Desert, near the Niger River. Ghana, Mali, and Songhai dominated West Africa one after another from 300 to 1600 A.D. Ghana, Mali, and Songhai became powerful by controlling trade in West Africa.

Study this map of the West African Kingdoms. Be sure that you understand their locations by reading the keys found directly above the map. Which color outlines the Kingdom of Ghana? Which color outlines Mali? Which color outlines Songhai?

The map key also tells you when each kingdom was powerful.

In which century was each kingdom the most powerful?

Which kingdom was powerful BEFORE Mali?

Which kingdom was powerful AFTER Mali?

Which kingdom was the OLDEST?

(Source: http://www.ucalgary.ca/HIST/tutor/imageislam/westAfrica.gif)

The location of the kingdoms can be described as western Africa, south of the Sahara Desert, near the Niger River. Here's a map of Africa that shows the Sahara Desert and the Niger River. You can use this map as a source for coloring a blank map of Africa for your notebook. Do you remember the Nile River from your study of Ancient Egypt in the third grade? The Niger River is many miles away from the Nile River.

(Source: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/school/Africa/Africamap.shtml)

Can you remember the correct location for the kingdoms? Use the map shown below. Tell which outline is for Ghana, which is for Mali, and which is for Songhai. Your teacher might give you a copy of this map to color and put into your notebook.

Or take turns using different pen colors on the Promethean Board to color in the kingdoms and the key on the interactive whiteboard in class.

(Source: http://www.nonags.org/members/dasaunders/activities/comcast/activities/unit1/africa/africamap.jpg)

If you color your map, it should look like this when it is finished. Remember to glue it into your notebook.


Trade in West African Kingdoms: A Notebook Activity

Read about the three kingdoms.

Title a page on the right side of your notebook "West African Kingdoms." Write the name of each kingdom in order on your page and then write notes about the kingdom as you read. First, read about Ghana. Write Ghana on your notebook page and write 3 important facts from the reading onto the page. Then, write Mali on your page under the notes about Ghana. Write 3 important facts about Mali. Last, write Songhai on your page and write 3 important facts about Songhai.

What did you learn from reading about the kingdoms? Write a short, 5 sentence paragraph about the kingdoms at the bottom of your page of notes. Use your notes to write the paragraph.

Three Kingdoms Reading:
African Kingdoms text.jpg

Portugal Explores Africa { Portuguese Link } A Notebook Activity

Click on this link to read about Portugal's explorations around Africa. Take notes about the explorers by writing five facts from these 3 sections onto a right side page in your notebook.

Number and write these section titles onto your paper before you read: 1.Prince Henry the Navigator;

2. Bartholomew Dias; 3. Vasco da Gama.

The Portuguese carried goods from Europe to West African empires, trading metals, cloth, and other manufactured goods for gold.

Exploration of North America

Click on the link to view a Google Map movie that describes the early explorers and the areas they explored. Remember to click on the arrows at the lower right side to expand to full screen view.

Explorers Movie

Explorers of North America Interactive Map Exploration Map A Notebook Activity
Click on the link to see the map. Click on the names of the explorers Coronado, Champlain, La Salle, and Cabot to see their exploration routes. The map shows an animated close up of each explorer's travels.
Write the title, Explorers, at the top of a right hand page in your notebook. Then copy and answer the three questions below the map. Read the paragraph titled "Learn More About It." Write three important facts from the paragraph on the same notebook page.
On the left hand notebook page facing your notes, glue a map of North America. On it trace the routes of Coronado, Champlain, La Salle, and Cabot in four different colors. Use the map and directions shown below as a guide. Put a key on your map that shows the names of the explorers and the color for each one.
(Source: http://www.nonags.org/members/dasaunders)

Cultural Interactions In North America: Flipbook


Create a flipbook of the Cultural Interactions between the Europeans and American Indians. Write the purple titles on the flaps of your book. Write the black print under the flap for each group. Draw and color the map of each country onto the flap next to the title. Draw the symbols shown for the American Indians, conflict, and cooperation or draw your own.

Glue the completed flipbook into your notebook.

Spain Spain_Flag.jpg

Conquered and enslaved American Indians

Brought Christianity to the New World

Brought European diseases to American Indians

France France_map.jpg

Established trading posts

Spread Christian religion

England England_flag.jpg

Established settlements and claimed ownership of land

Learned farming techniquesfrom American Indians

Traded with American Indians

American Indians Indian_canoe.jpeg

Taught farming techniques to European settlers

Believed that land was to be used and shared but not owned

Areas of cooperation in economic interactions outreach.gif

Europeans brought weapons and metal farm tools.



Areas of conflict redconflict-md.png

Land Competition for trade

Differences in cultures


Explorers Thinkquest: Here's a great Thinkquest that has information on the explorers of Portugal, Spain, England, and France. It asks the question, "Why did Europeans explore the world," and then helps you to find the answer. Click on the link to begin. Updated Why Explore

Review Games: Play the games to review what you've learned.

1. Matching Explorers Game Match

2. Early Explorers Matching Early

3. Explorers Short Quiz Quiz

4. John Cabot Pop-up Cabot

5. African Kingdoms Millionaire Game African Nations

6. Coronado and the Spanish Explorers Pop-up Coronado

7. Cabot Explores Pop-up Cabot Explores