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Who Really Discovered America?

Looking for a high-interest, fun study? Here’s a great geography lesson masquerading as a history lesson … with a little high seas adventure thrown in.

Before beginning on the activities below, check out the following websites for differing views. More than one of these sites are titled “Who Really Discovered America?” And each one of these has a different answer to the question. Read them and draw your own conclusions.

Who Really Discovered America? (1)
Columbus Discovered America Earlier
Who Really Discovered America? (2)
Who Really Discovered America? (3)
From a Mormon Point of View
Who Really Discovered America? (4)
Where Did America Get Its Name?
The Discoverer of America
Were Pre-Columbian Indians Actually Hindu?
Who Really Discovered America? (5)
Who Really Discovered America First?

Now that you’ve had a chance to see the vast array of opinions on the question “Who Discovered America?”, you can try your hand at the following activities.

1. Check out the meanings of these vocabulary words:

2. Near Kensington, Minnesota there is a stone marker with ancient Viking writing on it. Read about the Kensington Runestone and write a one-page report on it. (If the linked site doesn’t give you enough information or you would like to explore the history of this item further, go to the Google Search Engine and type in “Kensington Runestone” in the search feature. Several URLs will come up.) With your page, include a hand-drawn picture of the runestone.

3. Using an encyclopedia, or other resources such as the interent, make a chart of the earliest Indians in North and South America. Include the tribal names and the locations of the tribal islands.

4. On a world map, mark the trail taken by ancient Asians across the Bering Strait and down the Americas.

5. The Vikings didn’t share their explorations with the rest of Europe. Why do you think this is so?

6. Leif Ericson Day is celebrated in the United States on October 9th. Find out about why Leif Ericson was considered an import person to American history.

More sites and online lessons to add interest and fun:

Nordic Sagas: Viking Ships
Nova: Vikings in America
Gander Academy’s Theme Page on Vikings (really good)
Webquest: On The Viking Trail
Lotta links for Christopher Columbus
Early American History from an Archaeological View Via the Internet
More Columbus lesson ideas
Early Explorers of America
Core Knowledge Viking Lessons can be found on this page, you just have to look for them
Viking Clickable Worksheet
Vikings 2000 (student sites)
Online Game: Viking Voyage 1000
KidsClick! Vikings
Yahooligans! Vikings


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