Ch 17: The Age of Exploration: AP World History Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The Age of Exploration chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach about European discoveries and conquests in your classroom. The video lessons, quizzes and transcripts can easily be adapted to provide your lesson plans with engaging and dynamic educational content. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.

Weekly Syllabus

Below is a sample breakdown of the Age of Exploration chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.

DayTopicsKey Terms and Concepts Covered
MondayOld World-New World Exchanges Purpose and benefits of European exploration, transfer of disease to the Americas and historical use of gunpowder
TuesdayGreat Explorers and MapsNames, goals and discoveries of major Portuguese and Spanish explorers; intercontinental commerce, piracy and use of Mercator map projections
WednesdayThe Italian Wars and MachiavelliEuropean involvement in Italy, further weakening of the pope's power and work of Niccolò Machiavelli
ThursdayArt during the Age of ExplorationLife and work of Michelangelo; architecture, art and culture of the Ottoman Empire, including an historical overview of Sultan Suleiman I
FridayConquering and Converting the New World Treatment of native peoples by the conquistadors, explanation of the encomienda system and the Valladolid debate over native souls

10 Lessons in Chapter 17: The Age of Exploration: AP World History Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Old World and New World: Why Europeans Sailed to the Americas

1. The Old World and New World: Why Europeans Sailed to the Americas

This lesson will focus on the Age of Exploration. It will explain the main reasons why Europeans explored the New World. It will highlight their spirit of adventure, the religious desire to see natives converted, and the chance to acquire wealth.

History of Gunpowder and its Effects on the New World

2. History of Gunpowder and its Effects on the New World

This lesson will discuss the history of gun powder and its effect on the New World. It will highlight the development of firearms, as well as the Europeans who used gunpowder to ravage the Americas.

Great Explorers of Spain and Portugal: Aims & Discoveries

3. Great Explorers of Spain and Portugal: Aims & Discoveries

This lesson will focus on the New World explorations of Spain and Portugal. It will list explorers from both of these countries while also highlighting the motivations behind European exploration.

The Italian Wars and Weakening of Papal Authority

4. The Italian Wars and Weakening of Papal Authority

This lesson will discuss the Italian Wars and their effects on the Papacy and the political landscape of Italy. It will also highlight the power struggle between France and Spain, which dominated much of 16th century Europe.

Machiavelli and Lessons of the Italian Wars

5. Machiavelli and Lessons of the Italian Wars

This lesson focuses on Machiavelli and his views on governing, specifically pertaining to the actions of rulers. It will also highlight the actions of several countries involved in the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Michelangelo: Biography and Works

6. Michelangelo: Biography and Works

This lesson will focus on the life and works of Michelangelo. It will discuss his life in Florence, his dealings with the Medici family, his sculpture 'David,' the Sistine Chapel and many other of his awe-inspiring works.

Suleiman and the Ottoman Empire: History, Culture & Exploits

7. Suleiman and the Ottoman Empire: History, Culture & Exploits

This lesson will focus on Suleiman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire. It will highlight his conquests of Eastern Europe and his wars with the Habsburg Dynasty. It will also discuss the cultural advancements of his rule.

Mapping the World, Seaborne Commerce & Piracy

8. Mapping the World, Seaborne Commerce & Piracy

This lesson will focus on the improvement of maps, the growth of seaborne commerce, and the piracy that occurred during the Age of Exploration. It will also highlight the famous Sea Dogs of England.

Conquistadors and Encomienda System: Definition & Savaging of the New World

9. Conquistadors and Encomienda System: Definition & Savaging of the New World

This lesson will discuss the conquistadors of the New World. It will highlight Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro. It will also explain the encomienda system and its impact on the native populations.

Las Casas, Valladolid Debate & Converting the New World

10. Las Casas, Valladolid Debate & Converting the New World

This lesson will focus on Las Casas, a Spanish priest who fought for the rights of the native inhabitants of the Americas. It will also highlight the New Laws of 1542 as well as the Valladolid debates.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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Other Chapters

Other chapters within the AP World History Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans course

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