Gunpowder Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson plan is rooted in a video lesson on the history of gunpowder and presents key vocabulary terms, objectives, and discussion questions. Take advantage of activities to solidify information and explore related concepts.

Learning Objectives

Once students have finished this lesson, they should be able to:

  • Explain where gunpowder developed and how it got to Europe
  • Discuss the importance of gunpowder to European conquests
  • Name some of the famous conquerors who relied on gunpowder to defeat indigenous tribes
  • Develop a brief outline of the development of handguns


30-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.2

Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.3

Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3

Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Key Vocabulary

  • Crusades
  • Marco Polo
  • Hundred Years' War
  • Ottoman Turks
  • Matchlock guns
  • Flash pan
  • Hernan Cortes
  • Conquistadors
  • Arquebus
  • Ponce de Leon
  • Coronado
  • Cabral
  • Henry Hudson


  • Before delving into the lesson, introduce the topic by asking the class if they know how guns work. Discuss as a class and explain, if necessary.
  • Write the key vocabulary terms on the board. Instruct students to take notes on key points in their notebooks as the video plays, paying special attention to key vocabulary terms.
  • Have students watch the lesson History of Gunpowder and its Effects on the New World.
  • After the video has concluded, explore as a class the development of guns from the most primitive ones to the more complex one. You might create a timeline on the board and have students replicate it in their notes.
  • Wrap up this portion of the lesson by having students take the lesson quiz, either at home or as an in-class quiz.

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