High School Assignment - Effects of World Exploration

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

This particular homeschool assignment will allow you to examine the effects, both positive and negative, of world exploration covering roughly the past 3,500 years. The assignment is suitable for students who are currently in the 10th grade. Updated: 12/30/2020

World Exploration Assignment Explanation and Topic Overview

For thousands of years, human beings have satisfied their urges to explore new lands and sail uncharted waters.

Along the way, they have taken great risks and many lives were lost to the ravages of our oft-unforgiving planet.

As a result, what are some of the effects of world exploration, whether intended or unintended, whether positive or negative, that have arisen over the years?

For additional study materials, consult our online Homeschool Curriculum.

Key Terms

  • Age of Exploration: a period from roughly 1419 until 1602 dominated by European sailors
  • Caravel: an early sailing ship used by Prince Henry the Navigator
  • Cartographer: someone who made maps which were often used for exploration
  • Circumnavigating: refers to traveling completely around the Earth
  • Conquistador: a Spanish explorer from the 16th century
  • Moluccas: the Spice Islands, which were the site of the Spice War in the 1600s

Materials

  • Globe
  • Internet access
  • Maps
  • Paper for taking notes
  • Writing instruments

Time/Length

Five days to review this material/Two weeks to design your presentation

Assignment Instructions for Students

Step One

Analyze some of the earliest known world explorers, including:

  • Phoenicians
  • Carthaginians
  • Greeks
  • Romans
  • Vikings
  • Polynesians
  • Chinese

Step Two

  • Detail how Prince Henry the Navigator is often credited with initiating the Age of Exploration or the Age of Discovery in 1419.

Step Three

Discover why Christopher Columbus is usually credited with discovering America, but the country was named after Amerigo Vespucci instead.

Step Four

Compare and contrast the following explorers:

  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Of the above six countries, which do you think was the most honorable and which do you think was the least honorable in their respective methods of exploration? Justify your answers.

Step Five

Part A

Review some famous female explorers, including:

  • Amelia Earhart
  • Gertrude Bell
  • Nellie Bly

Part B

Review some famous African-American explorers, including:

  • Charles W. Gibbs, Jr.
  • John Francis
  • Mathew Henson

Step Six

Deep-Sea Exploration

  • Analyze some of the details of the HMS Challenger exploration beginning in 1872, which is often considered the beginning of the oceanography field.
  • Did Kathryn Sullivan and Vanessa O'Brien survive their bold attempt to make it to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in 2020?

Step Seven

Exploring the Poles

  • Review the different parties that ventured to both the North Pole and the South Pole, and what became of each of the expeditions.
    • Who reached the North Pole first?
    • Who reached the South Pole first?
      • Which group of explorers tragically died on their South Pole expedition?

Step Eight

Space Exploration

  • Compare and contrast the ''Space Race'' between the United States (U.S.) and the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R) between 1955 and 1975.
    • How has space exploration changed the world since the late 1950s, and how will it change the world in future years?

Step Nine

Learn of some of the various tools used by world explorers, including:

  • Astrolabe
  • Compass
  • Lodestone
  • Sextant
  • Traverse Board

Step Ten

The subject of world exploration has always been an incredibly controversial one, as some societies reap the benefits while other societies feel the detriments instead. Review the following positive and negative outcomes of world exploration:

Positives

  • Countries formed new alliances
  • Improvements in technology, including cartography
  • Increased understanding of the world
  • New foods and spices
  • Opened trade routes which benefited many countries

Negatives

  • Civilizations, such as Aztecs and Incas, were completely annihilated
  • Disease
  • Enslavement
  • Environmental damage
  • Forced religion upon other cultures

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