Exploration Math

Reading maps is much like looking at coordinate grids.  The latitude and longitude lines resemble the x and y axises so much, that it is easy to make the comparison.  So when studying about the early European Explorers, it seemed natural to combine math with a geography lesson.

Now, I would LOVE to say that I thought of this idea on my own....but I didn't.  It was a worksheet in my ELD book...I just adapted it to fit my needs..and add a bit more rigor.

I gave my students a blank map of the world (that I found here).  They then were given a set of blank coordinates.  We reviewed how to find latitude and longitude spots on the globe (keeping in mind that the longitude lines CURVE)  and the kids were off.  The kids needed to find the first coordinate and then connect it to the second set of coordinates.  In some cases, there was a third stop on the voyage.

Kids learned very quickly that some voyages took them around South America or Africa, as if you drew a straight line you would have to sail your boat across land...a feat they knew was impossible.

After all of the routes were set, the students were then given an information sheet with data and facts from the various explorer's journeys.  Using this information, they decided which set of coordinates belonged to which sailor.  It was really neat to hear them reasoning things out and deciding upon which person did which route.

For the final piece, I had the students write a little summary paragraph of the voyage, taking all the data they had and putting it into their own words.

And there you have it....a social studies/math connection :)

20 comments

  1. ...and an ELA connection! I love this! What a cute idea!

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  2. Oh - such a GREAT idea!!! I must remember to align my explorer unit to more fitting math strands next year. Thanks!!!

    Jen
    Runde's Room

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  3. I just love this! I'll definitely be doing this!

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  4. This is great - another great opportunity is map scales. That's such a challenging idea for my little guys!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

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  5. Thanks everyone! I really think it caused the kids to *think* which is always a plus when teaching a lesson ;)

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  6. Thank you for all the great ideas you share! You're awesome :)

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    1. Thank you! That is sweet of you to say :)

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  7. I love this idea. I really miss teaching social studies. Do you ever use Google Earth? It would be fun to have a couple tell their story on the computer too. I am going to share your project with my other teachers at my school. Thanks for sharing!
    Mrs. Esswein

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  8. I loved the explorer lesson plan! I would love to do it in my class. Where did you get the coordinates for each of the explorers' routes?

    Regards,
    Rebecca

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  9. I love this idea! Where did you get the coordinates for the routes?

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  10. I'd also like to know where you found the coordinates? Was it in the ELD book?

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    1. Yes, they came out of the ELD book. Sorry I don't have a set for you.

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  11. Hi..I absolutely love this idea. I am always looking for more things to do with social studies because we do not have any real direction about social studies. Where did you get the coordinates? Do you mind if I pick your brain about this because I would love to do this with my class and give you all the credit for it. Thanks!
    Lindsay

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  12. Hello! I'm interested in trying this with my class. Where did you get the routes? Which ELD book did you use to get the coordinates?

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  13. I tried this lesson this year with my kiddos and was BLOWN AWAY by the focused, independent learning that it fostered. Thank you a thousand times for sharing this great lesson. I posted about our journey and give you all credit for this lesson inspiration!

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  14. This looks great! Does anyone know where to get explorers coordinates??

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  15. This sounds wonderful! My class is currently studying explorers. Can I please have a copy of your coordinate worksheet? My e-mail is noelledoan@hotmail.com . What is the measuring tool hanging above the picture?

    Thank you,
    Noelle

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  16. I would love to get a copy of those coordinates as well. Any chance you can email or post them? Thank you so much for this wonderfully amazing idea.

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