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Which Explorer Would You Choose?


Decision Making Lesson Plan


Social Studies


2 Class Periods (45 Minutes Each)


LaShawna McCoy

Instructional Unit Content

Standard(s) / Element(s)
Content Area Standard

SS4H2 The student will describe European exploration in North

a. Describe the reasons for, obstacles to, and accomplishments of the
Spanish, French, and English explorations of John Cabot, Vasco Nez de
Balboa, Juan Ponce de Len, Christopher Columbus, Henry Hudson, and
Jacques Cartier.
TAG Standard(s)
Higher Order Thinking Skills
4. The student makes and evaluates decisions using criteria.
11. The student draws conclusions based upon relevant information while
discarding irrelevant information.
Creative Thinking &Creative Problem Solving Skills
5. The student develops original ideas, presentations, or products through
synthesis and evaluation
Summary/ Overview:
The focus of this lesson is for students to describe and analyze exploration in
North America. Through making a decision about which explorer would they like
to travel with, students will learn about the details of exploration in North
Enduring Understanding:

The student will understand that what people, groups, and institutions say and do can help or
harm others whether they mean to or not.
Essential Questions:

Why were Europeans interested in world exploration?

What were some of the opportunity costs involved in European exploration?
What were the reasons for, obstacles to, and achievements of the French, English, and
Spanish explorations?
What influence did the Europeans and Native Americans have on each other?
How did European exploration impact the Native Americans?
What impact did the Native Americans have on European explorers?
What were the strengths and weaknesses of the relationships between Native Americans
and Europeans?
Evidence of Learning:
Students should know how the Native American and European explorers affected each other and the
development of culture and economy in North America. They should be able to Develop the criteria,
evaluate decisions, using the criteria, draw conclusions based upon relevant information, and write a
paragraph that states and justifies a decision using evidence.
Suggested Vocabulary:
1. Hook: Students will begin by conducting a Comparative Decision Making Matrix.
The teacher will tell them about a time she went to her family reunion in New York.
The students would have to decide the best mode of transportation to take. The
teacher will help the students to fill out the matrix and use it to develop the
Modification/ Extension: Students will have a choice on how they will work on
developing the criteria: individually, in small groups, or with the teacher
Phase 1: Examine the Content
2. Set the Scene: Pose the following questions? Have you ever had to decide what
outfit to put on for school? What criteria did you use in deciding what to wear?
Have your parents ever told you that the outfit you chose was not appropriate?
What reasons did they give?
3. Pose the Essential Questions: What were some of the opportunity costs involved
in European exploration? What were the reasons for, obstacles to, and
achievements of the French, English, and Spanish explorations?
4. Introduce the Task: You are learning about the 6 explorers of the New World in
your social studies class. Imagine if you were alive during that time, and you had
the opportunity to choose one of the voyagers to travel with. How would you make
that decision?
5. Hand out the information/artifacts about each explorer.
Modifications/ Extension:
Students can utilize sources outside of the information provided to them
(individually or with a partner). Struggling students can work with the teacher or a
small group using an online version of the book with audio.
6. Students will read the content individually and then share.
7. Handout the decision making steps/ or online text with audio.
8. Students will identify decision that needs to be made and record the information on
their organizer.
Phase 2: Decision Making
10. Pose a question: How do you know when you have made the best decision? What
criteria did use as your mode of transportation for your trip to New York?