The Spanish Armada Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson plan will give you important discussion questions, topics, a quiz, and an activity that will help students understand the Spanish Armada and its place in history.

Learning Objectives

After completion of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • explain what the Spanish Armada was
  • identify the various important figures involved in the naval conflicts between the England and Spain at this time
  • discuss the importance of the outcome of the Spanish Armada's voyage to English shores


60-90 minutes


  • A diagram of a Spanish Armada ship
  • Construction paper
  • Bits of cloth
  • Toothpicks
  • Tongue depressors/ice-cream sticks
  • Glue
  • Paint
  • Markers
  • Play-doh

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7

Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person's life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

Key Vocabulary

  • Armada
  • Elizabeth I
  • Sir Francis Drake
  • Philip II
  • Duke of Medina Sidonia
  • Gravelines


To start the class, ask the students the following questions allowing 3-5 minutes for discussion:

  • Do you know what an armada is?
  • Have you ever heard of the Spanish Armada?

Instructions & Discussion Questions

Then, watch the lesson The Spanish Armada: History and Major Battles as a class. Take some time to stop at the instances below for further discussion questions and topics that will help students solidify their knowledge of the Spanish Armada.

  • Pause at 0:30.
    • Discuss the importance of the crescent formation.
    • Ask the students to explain what the Armada was.
  • Pause at 1:33.
    • Who was Elizabeth I and Sir Francis Drake? Explain to student's exactly what Elizabeth allowed Drake to do.
    • Discuss with students the connection between the Spanish, Dutch, and English at the time.
    • Why did Philip II resent Elizabeth I so much?
  • Pause at 2:38.
    • Discuss the various difficulties the preparation of the Armada had.
    • Why was the choice of Duke of Medina Sidonia such a poor one?
  • Pause at 5:35.
    • How many ships were in the Armada?
    • What were the beacon flashes the English recognized?
    • How did the crescent formation finally break?
    • Why did the Spanish sail to Ireland? Discuss why the Irish weren't supportive of the Spanish despite close religious ties.
  • After you've completed the discussion, test the student's knowledge with the provided lesson quiz. Don't forget to go over the questions and answers so students can understand what they got right, wrong, and why.


  • Assemble the materials mentioned in the materials section of this lesson plan. Depending on your class size, you may want to limit this activity to having the entire class build one (relatively) large replica Armada ship. If your class is quite large, then you may want to split the class up into groups to build more than one ship.

1. Hand out diagrams of what the Spanish Armada ships looked like.

2. Each student should choose a part they would like to work on:

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