Amerigo Vespucci Activities

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school in several states around the country.

When teaching the Age of Exploration, you are bound to cover the travels of Amerigo Vespucci. This resource contains activity ideas for middle and high school students who are studying this famous explorer.

Amerigo Vespucci

The Age of Exploration--sparked by the desire to increase trade, discover a fast route to Asia and scientific advances--is known for the many famous men who explored the world. Among the most widely studied is Amerigo Vespucci. The following activities (two of which are designed for individuals and the third for group work) are intended to help teach high school students about this famed Italian and his journeys to the Americas. They may also be adapted for other explorers from this time period.

  • Note - Amerigo Vespucci took four journeys during the course of his life. The first and final journey are sometimes questioned by scholars. This resource assumes that Vespucci did make all four journeys. If your curriculum says otherwise, adjust accordingly.

Timeline (Individual Activity)

For this activity, students will be creating a timeline with the important details of Vespucci's personal and professional life. Students should chose the ten most important events, beginning with his birth and ending with his death. For each event, students should include the following:

  • Event date
  • Event title
  • 2-3-sentence description of event's importance
  • Image (five hand-drawn and five historic images)

Students should also create a title for their timeline.

As an add-on, students can pick the event that they think is most significant to Vespucci's legacy. For this event, they should write two paragraphs on the event. The first paragraph should describe the event in more detail. The second paragraph should be a reflection that explains why they believe this was the most important event in Vespucci's life.

  • Materials Needed: Poster board, coloring materials

Voyages (Group Activity)

For this activity, you will divide your class into four groups. Each group will be given one of Vespucci's voyages to focus on. The groups will be creating a slide presentation that goes into the details of that voyage. Use the following as an example structure of the slide show, but adjust the requirements based on your students' ability levels.

  • Title slide: group members, voyage number
  • Voyage details: name of vessel, years, crew, who funded it, interesting facts, etc (3-4 slides)
  • Primary sources (image or text) with explanation (2-4 slides)
  • What was discovered (1-2 slides)
  • Reflection: what was the most important thing about this voyage?
  • Works cited

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