"In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." We learn this rhyme in school, but who is Columbus and did he really discover America? Join us as we investigate this early explorer and seek the truth.
1st and 2nd grade webquest: Ahoy! Columbus
4th grade webqest: Christopher Columbus
Mapping the Adventure
Using Google Earth, we will retrace Columbus' maiden voyage to the New World. Join us on this adventure.
- Download Google Earth if it is not already installed on your computer.
- Download the Google Earth file, Columbus' First Adventure. This will be a .kmz file that you will save to your computer.
- Open the Google Earth application. From the "File" drop-down menu, select "open." From here, you will search for the .kmz file, Columbus' First Adventure. After selecting the file, it should automatically open.
Once you have opened the file, you can begin your adventure and follow Columbus and his crew as they explore the "Far East." Besides the Bahamian Islands, Columbus and his crew will visit Cuba and establish the first European colony, La Navidad, on Hispaniola. Finally, in the spring of 1493, Columbus returns home to Palos, Spain.
As with all Google Earth virtual field trips, you have the option to pause at each stop and explore the surrounding area. Take advantage of the measurement tool to calculate distances between cities and landmarks. You also can click on pictures others have uploaded to see recent snapshots of the area you are visiting. Finally, for this voyage, I have included information relevant to each stop. To view this information, click on the red "pushpin" and a pop-up window will appear.
I hope you enjoy sharing in this adventure and I welcome all feedback.
Columbus' Travel Logs
As a final exploration, I thought it would be fun to explore Columbus' travel logs. I imported data from his logs into a spreadsheet using Google Docs. These numbers highlight the daily travel on his westward voyage in 1492. From this, several questions can be discussed:
- What day(s) did Columbus cover the greatest distance?
- What day(s) did he cover the least distance?
- Compare his daily log and distance traveled to the Google Earth tour to approximate where he and his crew were each day of their journey.
Click on the graph below to view the actual spreadsheet and a larger graph.