Teacher: Barbara Korn
Subject: Social Studies
Grade Level: 5th Grade
Lesson Plan on Ponce de Leon
I. Content: I want my students to understand that the discoveries of Ponce de Leon were important both in and of themselves and to the destinies of Europeans and Native Americans because of the economic philosophy of Mercantilism.
II. Prerequisites: The student will need to have a general knowledge of the ending of the Crusades, the power and influence of the Catholic Church, the power of monarchies, and the rule of primogeniture at the end of the 15th Century.
III. Instructional Objective: The student will, upon request, describe Ponce de Leon's discoveries and their impact. The description will include at least two important discoveries attributed to Ponce de Leon and at least three important factors that influenced his actions.
IV. Instructional Procedures:
Lesson Initiating Activities: (Day One) The lesson begins with the teacher reviewing the political, economic and religious forces at play in Spain at the end of the 15th Century. Teacher will define the economic philosophy of mercantilism. The teacher will also tell students about the development of maritime technology in the 15th century and show students sketches and crosscuts of ships used by Columbus and Ponce de Leon. Using a world map teacher will review location of Spain, Florida, the Bahamas, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Gulf Stream. While doing this, the teacher will explain that unknown to the natives of Florida and the Caribbean, their destiny was being determined by the political and economic forces in Europe, in particular Spain. With the discovery of this hemisphere and its possible riches in 1492, the need to travel west to the Americas became the primary focus of mercantilism. Thousands of daring adventurers would be crossing the Atlantic Ocean to conquer very rapidly the land that had been the home of the Native peoples for thousands of years.
Core Activities: (Day Two) Following a review of the prior days discussion, the teacher will distribute a vocabulary sheet and review the terms and definitions with the students before breaking them into five groups. Each group will read the information they are given, discuss what the important points are with each other and prepare to present it to the rest of the class. Ideally there will be four to five members in each group and each member will be assigned a specific role, such as presenter, recorder, illustrator, organizer, etc. Teacher will give each group an outline that specifies the type of information they will be responsible for and can be used when examining the life of any explorer.
Closure Activities: (Day Three) Groups will present their reports to the class. Teacher will review and summarize all of the reports and reinforce the relationship between Ponce de Leon's actions and mercantilism. The class will be asked to name Ponce de Leon's most important accomplishments, failures, and what were some of the reasons he chose to behave as he did and the teacher will write them on the board for all students. Teacher will review and summarize, again helping to connect Ponce de Leon's actions and motivations to the spirit of mercantilism.
ESOL Considerations: The teacher will provide written and pictorial descriptions of all key terms. Visual aides, maps and sketches will be used throughout all teacher discussion. Teacher will also use hand gestures to illustrate key points and write them on the board as well. A significant amount of vocabulary that the students will encounter in this lesson is Spanish in origin and teacher will highlight this as well. ESOL students will also be provided with an alternative assessment option allowing them to draw and explain their essay to teacher individually when questioned.
V. Materials and Equipment
Chalk board/white board, chalk or markers
Blank Paper, crayons
Lined Paper, pens
Ship sketches from: http://sailfish.neworleans.gulf.net/archeologyinc/ships.html
5 - 6 copies each:
"Who was Ponce de Leon" from:
"Florida of the Conquistador" from:
"Florida's Fountain of Youth" from:
"Ponce de Leon" from:
Exploring Florida: A Social Studies Resource for Students and Teachers
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida (c) 2001
"Juan Ponce de Leon" from:
VI. Assessment: The students will describe Ponce de Leon's discoveries and their impact by writing an essay, making reference to at least two of his important discoveries and three important factors that influenced his actions.
VII. Follow-up Activities: The students will construct timelines based upon the life of
Ponce de Leon or write a creative short story about Ponce de Leon from the viewpoint of either a Native Puerto Rican or a Native Floridian. Students will share their stories and/or timelines.
VIII. Self-Assessment: The teacher will review the student's essays to determine if the actual outcome differed, either positively or negatively, from the intended outcome.
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