Conquistador Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson plan uses activities, an extension activity, quizzes, and discussion questions to help your students learn about various Conquistadors and their accomplishments.

Learning Objectives

Once your students have completed this lesson plan's activities, extension, and discussion, they will be able to:

  • Identify and name various conquistadors
  • Describe each conquistador's major accomplishments
  • Explain the impact the conquistadors had on the New World


60-120 minutes without the activity


  • Handouts of various excerpts of firsthand accounts and/or memoirs related to the conquistadors and their life.

Curriculum Standards


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.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


Warm Up Activity

  • Briefly define 'conquistador' for the class.
  • Place the following names up on the board:
    • Christopher Columbus
    • Juan Ponce de Leon
    • Hernando de Soto
    • Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
    • Alejandro Sanz
    • Enrique Iglesias
    • Benicio del Toro
    • Xavi Hernandez
    • Hernan Cortes
    • Franciso Pizarro
    • Montezuma
  • Students should vote as a class on which names they think correspond to famous conquistadors
  • After everyone has voted, reveal who the real conquistadors were and who the other people are.


  • Once you've finished watching it, proceed to the class discussion:
    • Who were the Moors?
    • How did the conquistadors come to be?
    • Where did the conquistadors exercise their military conquests?
    • What did Vasco de Balboa accomplish?
    • What did Hernando Cortes do?
    • How was Pedro de Alvarado connected to Hernando Cortes?
    • What famous indigenous empire did Pizarro subdue?
  • Pass out a handout of the following lesson's text for each student:
  • Each student should read the lesson on their own and:
    • Summarize what they learned in a few sentences (they should hand this in)
    • Define all bold terms and any terms that are, overall, new to them
  • Once everyone has finished reading, move on to the class discussion on the lesson:
    • Mini-activity: pass out excerpts from firsthand accounts and memoirs pertaining to the conquistadors, their life, and actions. Read them together as a class.
    • Ask each student to name a famous conquistador they just read about and describe their accomplishments or actions.

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