Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Age of Exploration:::Explorer Simulation Project

Hello all!! It's been awhile since my last post...seems to be a trend of mine. :)

We are finishing up our "Age of Exploration" unit and I wanted to share a fun activity that my students love! All they talk about is when they can get into their explorer groups. I love making learning fun for them!

Last year I came across this great book by scholastic: Easy Simulation: Explorers, By Tim Bailey.
This simulation is a teacher directed, student driven activity that provides life-like problem solving experiences through role playing and reenacting. It allows the kids to "relive" and "experience" a critical period in history by becoming one of the brave explorers in search of the "new world" during the 15th century.

I must say that last year, it was a learning experience and the simulation was a bit confusing (you will definitely have to read ahead and prep a few things ahead of time). This year the simulation went so much smoother. One nice thing is how fast the students catch on.

I started off with allowing the kids to get into groups of 5-6 explorers. Once they were in their groups, they were to discuss a name for their ship and construct a flag for their ship. I allowed them to go online in order to get ideas.

Discussing a design for their ship flag.

Working as a team!

Once they had their flags completed, they made their Explorer Journal (this is to be used throughout the week long simulation). This year I used the materials I had on hand...yellow and brown construction paper and yellow yarn.  The simulation book comes with blackline masters for the journal pages. I had the kids decorate their journal and then weave yarn through it.

Once this is done, you are ready for action! Their are 5 episodes (It is supposed to take a week to get through. I finished in 7 days, you know how it is :)

I also like how the book incorporates some primary documents (Christopher Columbus journal entries). Of course his entries can be confusing because the language was different during that time. Allowed for another great discussion.

The students really get into the storyline and have some great discussions and possible solutions to any problems that may arise during their adventure to the new world.

Discussing what their next step will be.


Time for a spin!

Scholastic has a few more simulation books. I have the Revolutionary War one and didn't get the opportunity to use it last year. I am planning on doing it this year so stay tuned for how that went!  Check out Fifth in the Middle for more awesome ideas!

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  1. I would have LOVED to be in your room for this! Thank you so much for sharing!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. This sounds fascinating! I will have to check out the book. Thanks for linking it up!

  3. I am about to embark on this simulation game...your pics answered one question already--whether its better to have larger groups (5-6) than smaller (3-4)...can you share any other tips or potential pitfalls? thank you very much...


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