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Paths of Exploration: Columbus Unit 1 (3rd Ed) Teacher's Guide
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Paths of Exploration: Columbus Unit 1 (3rd Ed) Teacher's Guide

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The Paths of Exploration: Columbus Teacher's Guide is Unit 1 in a series of 6 sold-separately volumes that make up the 'Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Exploration' series (Grades 3-5). This unit study teaches science, history, language skills, and the arts as students follow in the steps of famous explorers and pioneers across America. Students will be taught to think by asking, answering, and investigating questions about our great country's beginning and growth. The paths of the explorers are seen through multidisciplinary eyes, but always with the same goals: to make learning enjoyable, memorable, and motivating.

Columbus is the first unit of six in the Pathways to Exploration series. Lessons cover the basics of geography such as maps, the compass rose, globe skills, oceans and continents, as well as early navigation, the sun, stars, planets and constellations, and the skills of observation and recording. The literature choices study the hopes, dreams and struggles of Columbus and the importance of staying with what you do best. The wildlife handbook is used to study animals and wildlife that Columbus and his crew observed.

This unit study features an integrated approach to learning where topics flow from one to the next as students focus on one main concept. Units cover language skills (including vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and writing), copywork and dictation, science, art, reading, history, geography, and hands-on activities. All core subjects are covered with the exception of math.

This teacher's guide is laid out for parents to simply 'pick up and go,' with lessons organized around the corresponding student notebook pages (required and sold-separately). 'Steps for Thinking' at the beginning of each lesson present the main ideas about the main topics for that section. A list of materials needed for the lesson makes lesson-prep simple. Little animal-prints for the respective grade levels make it easy to see which information should be given to which student in a multi-grade environment. Lessons are semi-scripted with information to read aloud to students next to a set-apart margin that includes notes to the teacher. This guide also includes a variety of additional lesson helps and resources for use within the unit.

This book covers 6 weeks; the 6 volumes in the Paths of Exploration series together cover 1 year of instruction for grades 3-5; a 'junior extension' is available for purchase separately which covers grades K-2. Families can expect to spend 2-3 hours per day for younger grade levels and 3-4 hours per day for older students.

Paths of Exploration(6 units; Grades 3-5) is the first step in the 'Trail Guide to Learning' series from Geography Matters; the six units in this series are: Columbus, Jamestown, Pilgrims, Daniel Boone, Lewis & Clark, and Trails West. Paths of Exploration is followed by the Paths of Settlement series (6 units; Grades 4-6), the Paths of Progress (2 volume curriculum; Grades 5-7), and finally the Journeys through the Ancient World series (4 units; Grades 6-8).

Please note that additional books are required to use this curriculum. For a list of the required resources for each unit, please see the Book List PDF link above.

Books required for 'Columbus' (not-included and sold-separately) are:

  • Meet Christopher Columbus by James T. deKay
  • Christopher Columbus by Bennie Rhodes
  • RealEarth GlobeMap
  • Columbus Student Notebook pages in the appropriate grade level


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