06 July 2009

Christopher Columbus Theme Unit

Books to read:
Christopher Columbus
Columbus Day
Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus

Measure out the dimensions of Columbus's ships (smaller than you think!)

  • Nina (crew of 20) = 67 ft. x 21 ft.
  • Pinta (crew of 26)= 70 ft. x 22 ft.
  • Santa Maria (crew of 41) = 77 ft. 26 ft.

Count backwards on a calendar the days of Columbus' first journey (28 days) to get a feel of how long the journey was.

Language Arts:

Read the poem 1492 and use some or all as copywork or recitation.

Some of the Carib and Taino (Caribbean Native American) words have been adopted into the English language like potato, hammock, maize, guava, canoe, and barbecue. Introduce these vocabulary words.

Social Studies:

Trace Columbus journey on a map. Label important places like Italy (Columbus' home country), Spain (where the voyage began), and Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic), San Salvador, and Cuba.


Sailors used the stars to navigate. Look at the night sky and learn some constellations like the Big Dipper. Draw the constellation(s) you learned on black construction paper and decorate with glitter stars.

Columbus' boat had to float to make it across the ocean. Gather a bunch of household objects. Predict which will float and which will sink. Test your predictions. For an extra challenge, try creating a boat that floats with household objects (egg cartons, paper, toothpicks, straws, foil, etc.)

Fine Arts:

Have a dramatic reenactment of Columbus' journey. Include the long voyage, meeting the Native Americans, the trip back to Spain, and the report to the Spanish king and queen with new discoveries.

Draw the Spanish flag that Columbus most likely sailed under. The F and Y represent King Ferdinand and Queen Ysabel (Isabel).


Jonah had an ocean adventure, too. Read Jonah 1-3.

Memorize Psalm 93:4.

Extra Credit:

Lots of worksheets and minibooks are available through Enchanted Learning.

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