Summary of Discoverers of America

Columbus was certainly not the first person to explore the Americas. There is a lot of evidence that many other people visited the land we call the Americas, long before Columbus. As we discuss these early visitors, think about “how” they discovered the Americas. What route did they take? Were they expecting to discover the […]

Columbus’ Navigating Tools

Europeans learned how to use the compass that was invented in China. The Chinese inventions of paper and gunpowder were also useful to Europeans. Before the time of Columbus, European traders made long and tortuous overland journeys over thousands of miles to get to the Far East — China, India, Japan and Southeast Asia. Europeans […]

Latitude and Longitude

VISUAL 22 (still): Box CompassColumbus used a compass like this one, which he adjusted by the North Star just as we did a little while ago in China. Columbus also used a device known as a quadrant to find his latitude from the North Star. VISUAL 20 (still): Modern World Map with Latitude and Longitude […]

The Compass

The North Star is good for telling navigators which way north is on clear nights. But to find your directions in the daytime or on cloudy nights, you need another device that was invented in China over a thousand years before Columbus made his famous voyages. Do you know what that device was?   [Compass.]Take responses. […]

The Kamal

Many ancient cultures devised ingenious ways to navigate and find their way, in their desire to explore and trade with other peoples in the world. In the process of trading, these navigation techniques were also traded. VISUAL 8 (still): African ShipArchaeological evidence suggests that around 2,800 years ago, African sea-roving traders may have sailed to present-day […]

Measuring Altitude with Your Hand

The North Star is an extremely valuable tool for explorers, because it is straight up from the north pole of Earth and always shows us where north is. IF this way is north, which way is south? East? West? [Point out those directions.]  If the North Star is directly over the North Pole, where in […]

Getting Sky Oriented

DIGITAL EFFECT: Go To EveningCreate a sunset with the first stars of evening and a full Moon visible: Fast forward to approximately 90 minutes past sunset over 30 seconds. Fade out the atmosphere and (if necessary) clouds. Ensure that the Milky Way is off and that the number of stars visible has been reduced by […]