Famous Explorers

Famous Explorers Lesson Plan:

This unit on Explorers is a part of the Social Studies curriculum in the eighth grade.


Eighth grade students can locate books and encyclopedia articles in the library and use the

catalog, and have been previously introduced to the use of indexes, contents, headings, graphics, charts and glossaries in nonfiction books to locate information.

Student Objectives

Have learned to use word processing software to produce documents and insert graphics.

Can use commands such as open, close, cut, copy, paste, save as, save, print, and spell check

Can use web browser and navigation buttons to locate materials on the internet.

Can move between windows, minimize and maximize windows, locate a personal folder on the network use it to store documents and assignments


Students need assistance in finding and logging in to databases, using the best search procedures to find needed information quickly, skimming, scanning and taking notes that will answer their research questions, organizing notes, citing sources, respecting copyright, and understanding what types of information can be found in different formats, i.e. print, encyclopedia and online database.

The lessons of the Library Media Specialist will assist students in obtaining materials and research notes (including citations) needed for a classroom timeline, a map project, a one page typed report on an explorer with citations and a video presentation. The finished products are to be displayed in the classroom and the students will show their video on their explorer to the rest of the class in groups (English, French, Spanish or Portuguese Explorers).

The students should exercise creative license in creating the video and may dress up as explorers or use other ideas. Their video should show what they have learned. They will then review and evaluate what they have learned about explorers in a class discussion.

Classroom Teacher introduces the topic and textbook-based lessons on the Age of Exploration. She assigns an explorer to each student, provides materials and work time and space for the timeline and map activities, gives guidelines on writing the report and proofreading, and arranges the presentation time and student evaluation. The Teacher evaluates student products and devises a student evaluation sheet.

Library Media Specialist plans activities and review on research skills using books and encyclopedias and online databases. She presents a model(s) of a bibliography, and assists students in preparing their bibliographies. The LMS provides a video camera/recorder for taping the presentations. She will help student’s record presentations if possible!


Technology Specialist, who cooperates with the Teacher and Library Media Specialist will assist students in assessing online research databases and also arranges a computer lab session for them to type a bibliography. Continued online research and a bibliography are to be completed in the computer lab.

Timeline: Two weeks including two 45 minute library periods and two 40 minute computer lab sessions.



Computer Lab with computer for each student

Word Processor

Web Browser

Flash Player, Shockwave Player, Media Player (i.e. Real Player), and Adobe Acrobat Reader

Video camera or Flip Video

Elmo projector

Computer projector or SMART board

Web Resource Materials Links:

Read Write Think: Research Building Blocks: Hints about Print


Read Write Think: Research Building Blocks: Skim, Scan and Scroll


Read Write Think: Exploring Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing


Read Write Think: Research Building Blocks: Cite Those Sources!


Fact Monster: œHow to Write a Research Paper: Write a Bibliography


Web Links with Information on Copyright and Plagiarism:




le=Book “ One or more Authors&source_mod=0^64&stylename=MLA


Searchable Multimedia Database:

The Mariner’s Museum: Exploration through the Ages


Read Write Think: Note Fact Fragment Frenzy: Finding Facts in what you Read

Web Demo and activity using Shockwave



Web Demo and activity

Read Write Think: Research Building Blocks: Hints About Print


PowerPoint Presentation from Read Write Think: Identifying Plagiarism Examples at https://www.readwritethink.org/lesson_images/lesson1062/plagiarismexamples.pdf

Suggested Online Subscription Databases for Students:

ABC CLIO Social Studies Databases. 2009. <https://www.socialstudies.abcclio.


œExplorers and Exploration. Marshal Cavendish Digital. 2009.


World Book Student. 2009. <https://www.worldbookonline.com/student/home>.


Explorer note taking sheet

Citation sheet

Shortcut to online databases and Mariner’s Museum site on computer desktop and

student folder on network for Electronic Resource information and final report

Classroom: Bulletin-board-paper cut in half horizontally for timeline, or commercially made display-sized timeline with space for student input.

Classroom: poster-sized blow-up of world map outline, one for each nationality: English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Student obtained: Picture of explorer from Mariner’s Museum website with copyright info added and map of explorer’s voyages from print or electronic source (print-out) with

citation included.

Pencils, rulers, scissors, markers

Non-fiction and biographies about explorers, Encyclopedias

Library Media Specialist Lesson Plans

Lesson One: Preparation for Research

Introduce the topic of explorers, locate, review the features of, and evaluate a non-fiction book to use in research

1. Introduce topic of explorers and ask who the explorers of today are (i.e., astronauts, ocean explorers, and astronomers). Why are they called explorers? We’re going to find out about more about explorers from the past.


2. Find a book from selections on cart for assigned explorer

3. View multimedia presentation from Read Write Think: œResearch Building Blocks: Hints about Print https://www.readwritethink.org/materials/hints-on-print/index.html

4. Compete œNon-fiction Book Review from Read Write Think at


5. Review the parts of nonfiction books and how each part can help find

information about the explorer.

6. Pass out note taking sheet, student name and explorer name are added at top

“ Discuss how to find and record answers to the first question, œwho?.

What does œcite your sources mean and why do you have to do it when you do research?

1. Refer to https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/printable/589/ on smartboard or Computer projector. Find information as a class by skimming and scanning the information.

2. Ask for volunteer to use their book to put information in the citation machine at

https://citationmachine.net/index2.php?reqstyleid=1&reqsrcid=12&mode=form&more=&source_title=Book “ One or more Authors&source_mod=0^64&stylename=MLA

3. Turn to Citation page in note taking worksheet. Fill in information for book used for œwho? notes. Note: Books and note taking sheets go back to class on cart for use in guided and paired reading of biography material and group work on the timeline notes and group maps.

Lesson Two: Note taking & Research using Encyclopedias and Books

1. Discuss œIdentifying Plagiarism PowerPoint from Read Write Think at:


2. Practice (whole class activity) note taking strategies (each table tries a different notes activity) with œFact Fragment Frenzy from Read Write Think while other students offer suggestions. https://www.readwritethink.org/materials/factfrenzy/opening.html also introduces the read, cover, put in your own words method.

3. Skim and scan an encyclopedia article on Columbus using Elmo to model finding information to answer the question œwhy?.

4. Review how to find information in Encyclopedias.

5. Students take notes using encyclopedias (and books on cart).


Technology Specialist Lesson Plan

Lesson Three: Computer Lab: Use and cite Electronic Databases and Web Graphics

1. Computer Lab Teacher helps students learn to Access Database and find Electronic Citation worksheet on desktop to move to their folder on the network and open.

2. Model use of search box in database and share your search strategies to find information on database. Look for questions not yet answered on note taking sheet of a student. Ask for classmates suggestions about search strategies.

3. Model how to get a citation from the database article to paste into Electronic Resources Worksheet.

4. (With 10 minutes left), Look for picture of explorer from Mariner’s Museum website using desktop shortcut (https://www.mariner.org/exploration/index.php?page=theexplorers).

5. Review copyright page of website with students.

6. Ask students to find and paste picture of explorer into document along with

copyright statement from worksheet.

7. Check to see if everyone has a map of the explorer’s voyages in a book source

8. If a map is needed from online database, help them locate and paste map and

citation information into worksheet.

9. Print worksheet to take to add to note taking sheet and use for pictures on

timeline or map.


Lesson Four: Computer Lab: Prepare Bibliography

1. Refer to Fact Monster at https://www.factmonster.com/homework/t8biblio.html

for examples of a bibliography.

2. Have students number their cited sources in alphabetical order on the note

taking sheet citation pages, including the Electronic Resources worksheet.

3. Ask them to open a new document, save it to their folder, type Bibliography and center it, double space, and type each source in order, pressing enter between each one.

4. Provide plenty of examples on the computer projector. Show students how to

select each source and right-click and choose paragraph and hanging indent.

5. Print Bibliography to take to class.


Technology / Research

Word processing, graphics, open, close, cut, copy, paste, save as, save, print. web browser, databases, web navigation, search techniques, citation, in text citation, search engine, plagiarism


Migrate, Culture, Environment, Natural Resources


Students will be working in groups. It will be up to each group to assign roles based on each other’s strengths. If a student in the group need extra support it will be up to the group to come up with a solution on how best to utilize that students skills and find a pragmatic way for them to contribute equally to the team project. This will require students to not only work problem solve together but to focus on each other strengths.


Students will receive continual support for their teacher, library media assistant and Technology Specialist. Each teacher will assist the students with answering their own questions and leave them feeling like they can do the next step in the assignment. Teachers will step if necessary when groups are dividing assignments to encourage and direct students to do the part of the group project they will be interested in and good at. This will hopefully motivate students by showing them they are supported and they are able to study the portion they are most interested in. Hopefully this interest will help them do the research and work required.

Evaluation & Revision

The unit on explorers is evaluated by Teacher appraisal of the reports and group presentations, the timelines and maps, and a student evaluation done in the classroom of how much they learned from the activity. The Library Media Specialist records in a project notebook student responses to research activities, observations about the contents of student note taking sheets and bibliographies, informal evaluations of student research sessions, and teacher and student feedback and ideas for improvement for the activity in the future.



Florida State Standards and Objectives

Using both print and electronic resources, eighth grade students will demonstrate an understanding of skimming and scanning for information, evaluating it for relevance, organizing it by topic and recording it in the form of notes, as evidenced by a project note taking sheet.

While using both print and electronic resources to do research, eighth grade students will first record information to be used to cite the source of materials they will use and then demonstrate an understanding of how to avoid plagiarism by summarizing or paraphrasing information in the form of notes instead of copying as evidenced by teacher observation, information recorded on a project note sheet and the bibliography included with student reports and products.

When using print and electronic resources to do research, eighth grade students will select and cite map and picture resources to be used to produce a classroom timeline and maps and a short report to be displayed in the classroom about an explorer from the Age of Exploration that will illustrate and explain the explorer and his motivations and discoveries in a way that classmates can understand to be evaluated by the finished products and reports and a student evaluation of the learning value of the project.

Common Core State Standards:

Key Ideas and Details

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Craft and Structure

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6 Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.8 Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9 Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.

Text Types and Purposes

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.1a Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.1b Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.2b Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.


Production and Distribution of Writing

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas clearly and efficiently.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.