Topic or Issue: Christopher Columbus – Hero or Villain?
Compiled by: Crystal Merrifield & Susan Stewart
Standard 1 — History
Students will describe the historical movements that influenced the development of the
United States from pre-Columbian times up to 1800 with an emphasis on the American
Revolution and the founding of the United States.
Historical Knowledge 5.1.1 – Give examples of early cultures and settlements that
existed in North America prior to contact with Europeans
Historical Knowledge 5.1.2 – Examine accounts of early European explorations of North
Historical Knowledge 5.1.3 – Identify and compare historic Indian groups at the
beginning of the European exploration in the late 15th and 16th centuries.
Historical Knowledge 5.1.4 – Trace the major land and water routes of European
explorers and examine their individual stories and reasons for exploration.
Research Capabilities 5.1.22 Identify and interpret primary source and secondary source
materials that pertain to a problem confronting people during the founding period of the
READING: Comprehension and Analysis of Nonfiction and
Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. The selections in the
Indiana Reading List (www.doe.state.in.us/standards/readinglist.html) illustrate the
quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students. At Grade 5, in addition to
regular classroom reading, students read a variety of nonfiction, such as biographies,
books in many different subject areas, magazines and periodicals, reference and
technical materials, and online information.
Structural Features of Informational and Technical Materials
5.2.1 Use the features of informational texts, such as formats, graphics, diagrams,
illustrations, charts, maps, and organization, to find information and support
Example: Locate specific information in a social studies textbook by using its
organization, sections on different world regions, and textual features, such as
headers, maps, and charts.
5.2.4 Draw inferences, conclusions, or generalizations about text and support them
with textual evidence and prior knowledge.
Example: Use a guidebook, such as Discovering Fossils: How to Find and
Identify Remains of the Prehistoric Past (Fossils & Dinosaurs) by Frank A.
Garcia, to gain information and make predictions about the identification of
fossils found in everyday surroundings.
5.2.6 Follow multiple-step instructions in a basic technical manual.
Expository (Informational) Critique
5.2.5 Distinguish among facts, supported inferences, evidence, and opinions in text.
Example: Identify facts and opinions in a newspaper editorial or editorial page
Students compute with whole numbers*, decimals, and fractions and understand the
relationship among decimals, fractions, and percents. They understand the relative
magnitudes of numbers. They understand prime* and composite* numbers.
5.1.4 Interpret percents as a part of a hundred. Find decimal and percent equivalents
for common fractions and explain why they represent the same value.
Example: Shade a 100-square grid to show 30%. What fraction is this?
Identify: How can I personalize this activity for my students?
Have you ever heard someone say to you, “I am doing this for your own good, or this
hurts me more than it hurts you?”
Have you ever been doing something like organizing a kickball game and everyone
having fun and then another person comes along and tries to change everything?
Define: What activity can I use to ignite student interest?
Myth or Fact Survey and Cartoon
Investigate: What resources will I use to provide background information and
Social Studies Textbook
People’s History of the United States 1492 – Present by Howard Zinn, 1999
Primary Source Readers/Teacher Created Materials– Christopher Columbus by Wendy
Discover the Life of an Explorer Christopher Columbus by Trish Kline, 1992
Columbus Day by Paul Showers, 1965
What Came to be Called America http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/1492/america.html
IMA Hero: Christopher Columbus
Lesson Plan – Columbus Day/Reader’s Theatre
Native Americans-American Indians-The First People of Native America
Putting Columbus in His Place http://www.csmonitor.com/1992/0311/11191/html
Native Americans Plan Program to Counter Columbus Festivities
On the High Seas with Columbus http://www.csmonitor.com/1992/1009/09161.html
Christopher Columbus http://indians.org/welker/columbu1.htm
Alphabet Soup – Columbus Day http://www.alphabet-soup.net/columbus/columbus.html
Daily Lesson Plan
Despite Protests, Denver’s Columbus Day Parade Resumes
Columbus: Was he a hero or a Villain?
Columbus Mythbusters by Joseph M. Laufer http://muweb.millersville.edu/
The Columbus Landfall Homepage http://www.columbusnavigation.com/cclandfl.shtml
Timeline: How long will this unit take? When will I use it? (Note: In differentiated
activities, red denotes intervention group; yellow denotes on level; and green
denotes advanced group.)
Day 1 – Values Sort
Lesson Objective – Students will rank their values.
Value sheet (Appendix A)
Day 2 – Background information / Pretest Day
Lesson Objective: Students will assess their current knowledge on Columbus and gather
background information on Columbus.
The teacher gives a myth or fact quiz to the students (Appendix B). The teacher presents
background information taken from the article, book, and website, respectively, of
Honoring Christopher Columbus by Warren H. Carroll (Appendix C) , Lies My Teacher
Told Me by James Loewen, New York: The New Press, 1995, and Columbus Day
(Native American Perspective) http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlresources/units/Byrnes-
celebrations/columbus.html (Appendix D). Last, the teacher assigns one of the two
Readers Theatre scripts based on reading levels.
Red Group with lower Yellow – Columbus Day (13 + parts) found at
Green Group with higher Yellow– Christopher Columbus Searching for the
Indies (13+ parts) by Frank Caropreso (Organizing School, Evan Moor
Corporation, 1989) (Appendix F)
Day 3 – Readers’ Theatre Day
Lesson Objective: Students will perform skits based on Columbus.
After sufficient practice time, students perform the readers’ theater skits distributed the
previous day. NOTE: Students main focus is reading the skit fluently, not acting.
Day 4 – Computer Investigation Day
Lesson Objective: Students will conduct individual investigations of one of three
Teacher guides students to one of the three following websites and provides the question
sheet for the respective website.
Red Group – Go to
s. Complete the “Learn.” Then take the “Quiz.”
o Website in print Appendix G
o Red group website questions Appendix H
o Red group answer key Appendix I
Yellow Group – Go to http://www.brownielocks.com/columbusday.html. Answer
the following questions as you read through the website.
o Website in print Appendix J
o Yellow group website questions Appendix K
o Yellow group answer key Appendix L
Green Group - Go to http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/1492/columbus.html. Answer
the following questions as you read through the website.
o Website in print Appendix M
o Green group website questions Appendix N
o Green group answer key Appendix O
Day 5 – Small group / Carousel Day
Lesson Objective: Students will teach other students using the information gathered
during their computer investigations. In addition, students will be introduced to the
deliberation process in a smaller group.
Place students into groups, with a red, yellow, and green in each group, as best as
possible. Ask students to share the information they gathered during their computer
Then combine some of the groups for larger group sizes, and post the following questions
on separate pieces of large poster paper.
* What did Columbus find when he reached his destination?
* What happened to Columbus before he reached land?
* What do you think the Native Americans thought when they saw Columbus and
* What happened to the Native Americans after the arrival of Columbus?
Assign each group a station and a certain color of marker. After 3 minutes at the first
station have the groups move to the next station. Explain to them that they need to add to
the list, but they can't write anything that is already on the list. Rotate the groups, so that
each group has a chance to contribute to each station. Have one person from each group
be the spokesman to tell the class the five most important things on their list.
Day 6 – Preparation for Deliberation Day
Lesson Objective: Students will analyze position, including pros and cons, and prepare
for audience’s questions; create an illustration which symbolizes their position; and
present their position.
Assign one of the two perspectives Columbus – The Hero (Appendix P) or Columbus –
The Villain (Appendix Q). Students analyze information as well as the pros and cons.
Students create a visual of their perspective and prepare to present their position and to
take questions and defend their view.
Day 7 – Deliberation Day
Lesson Objective: Students will present their position.
Each side will present their position, explain their illustration, and take questions from
the audience. They will defend their position throughout the presentation as needed.
Day 8 – Fishbowl Day
Fishbowl Prompt: Should Columbus Day be a holiday?
Lesson Objective: Based on what they have heard during deliberation, students form
their own opinions and participate in a dialogue with 6-8 of their peers.
Day 9 – Civic Outcome Day
Lesson Objective – Students will involve themselves in civic outcomes.
Students chose one of the choices from Columbus deliberation reflection options
Possible Learning Stations Activities (Appendix S)
Math – Fact vs. Myth Pre-test Math (Appendix T)--- Have students fill out a sheet
of paper listing fact or myth using the questions. Tally and record the responses.
Write as fractions. Reduce to lowest terms. Convert to percentages.
Language Arts – (Primary and Secondary Resource Analysis) Activities from
TCM packet with 6 copies of Christopher Columbus readers
1. Cartooning with Columbus p. 6
2. Columbus’ Journeys p. 7
3. Columbus’ Journal and Columbus’ Secrets pp. 8 and 9 (This activity
allows for differentiation. Teacher assigns or allows choice in number
and kind of question answered)
>>Red Group – Choose 1
>>Yellow Group – Choose 1 question from Application, Analysis,
Synthesis, or Evaluation
>>Green Group – Choose 1 question from Analysis, Synthesis, or
Language Arts – Read Christopher Columbus (Primary Resource Readers) by
Wendy Conklin and complete the quiz on p. 10 (Appendix U)
Social Studies – Mapping and Directions Activity - Columbus’ First Voyage
(Guided Report Writing, 1989, Evan –Moor Corp.) (Appendix V)
Math and Social Studies - Create a timeline – using the dates and summaries from
p. 22 – Differentiation
o Red & Yellow timeline activity (Appendix W)
o Green timeline activity (Appendix X)
Language Arts - Interpretations of Columbus Day Poems - Read the poems
provided (Appendix Y). One provides a Native American perspective. The other
poem is written from the perspective that Columbus was a hero. After reading the
poems, write a poem of your own regarding Columbus. You may use one of the
following formats: haiku, acrostic, cinquain, or free verse (Free verse poems may
or may not rhyme.) (Poetic Forms – Appendix Z)
Social Studies - Impact of Columbian Exchange (Appendix AA)- Read the
article. Then you may choose the questions that you would like to answer.
o Red Group – Select one question.
o Yellow Group – Select two questions.
o Green Group – Select three questions.
Brownielocks cartoon (Appendix BB)
Let’s hear it for modesty by Garrison Keillor, article from local newspaper
Stories from the Native American perspective will be assessed.
Character sketches will be assessed by including three characteristics required for
Observations during reader's theater.
Letters will be assessed making sure the editing is correct: grammar, spelling,
Time lines of Columbus' life and voyage will be assessed with students meeting
The students understanding of how Columbus changed the Native American way
of life will be assessed with a discussion.
Caribbean n-n part of the Atlantic Ocean, east of Central America and north of South
Deliberation - a discussion and consideration of the reasons for and against something
Democracy - government by the people with rule of the majority
Justice – the quality of being fair or just
Hero – a person admired for achievements and qualities
Navigate – to steer a ship the way you want to go
Self-reliance - trust in one's own efforts and abilities
Settlement – people from another country living in a new place
Stability - the condition of being stable, without change
Villain - an evil person
Voyages – trips to places far away
A. Value sheet
B. Myth or fact sheet
C. Honoring Christopher Columbus by Warren H. Carroll
D. Columbus Day (Native American Perspective)
E. Columbus Day (13 + parts) found at
F. Christopher Columbus Searching for the Indies (13+ parts) by Frank Caropreso
G. Red group website in print
H. Red group website questions
I. Red group website answer key
J. Yellow group website in print
K. Yellow group website questions
L. Yellow group website answer key
M. Green group website in print
N. Green group website questions
O. Green group website answer key
P. Columbus – The Hero
Q. Columbus – The Villain
R. Columbus deliberation reflection options (Civic Outcomes)
S. Possible Learning Stations Activities
T. Fact vs. Myth Tally Sheet/Frequency Table
U. Quiz based on Christopher Columbus (Primary Resource Readers) by Wendy
V. Columbus’ First Voyage
W. Red & yellow timeline activity
X. Green timeline activity
Z. Poetic Forms
AA. Impact of the Columbian Exchange
BB. Brownielocks cartoon
CC. Newspaper article