Age of Exploration Timeline

This exploration is for all ages, as the colored smilies show. In this activity your family will create a timeline of the major discoveries of the Age of Exploration. Explanations of the Age of Exploration timeline events are given, but we encourage you to do even more research.

1st thru 4th grades
5th thru 8th grades
9th thru 12th grades

Layers of Learning Unit 3-1
Unit 3-1: Age of Exploration, Argentina & Chile, Insects, Fairy Tales

The Age of Exploration timeline is a history exploration from Layers of Learning Unit 3-1 about the Age of Exploration. Layers of Learning has hands-on activities and printables in every unit of this family-friendly curriculum. Learn more about Layers of Learning.

The Age of Exploration was probably the most pivotal era in the world ever.  Europe discovered, colonized, traded with, and conquered nearly the whole world. Goods, money, food, animals, plants, and people moved all over the globe and helped create the modern world we know now.

Step 1: Library Research

Before you begin exploring, read a book or two about the Age of Exploration. Here are some suggestions, but if you can’t find these, look for books at your library about Age of Exploration, explorers, Columbus, Magellan, Vasco de Gama, and other explorers. The colored smilies above each book tell you what age level they’re recommended for.

Land Ho! Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration

by Nancy Winslow Parker

Tells the story of the Age of Exploration through biographies of some of the famous explorers. This book focuses on the exploration of the Americas.

Around the Wold in a Hundred Years

by Jean Fritz

Chapter by chapter, tells the story of the Age of Exploration, how it began, why people wanted to to explore, who did the exploring, when things went wrong. Very well written and thorough.

The World of Columbus and Sons

by Genevieve Foster

Excellent cross cut of world history at this time. It tells the story of Columbus and his sons, but also other major figures and event happening at the same time like the Reformation, Michelangelo, and Gutenberg’s printing press.

Step 2: Age of Exploration Timeline Activity

You will need colored pencils, glue, scissors, and the printable Age of Exploration timeline.

Click on the image to get the timeline.

Color the pictures on the timeline squares. Cut out the timeline and glue it end to end so the dates are in order. Cut out the timeline squares. Arrange the timeline squares on the timeline, then glue the timeline squares in place.

If you like you can glue this timeline into the Book of Years as a “pop-out” timeline. Just glue the tab onto the upper edge of the appropriate page in the Book of Years.

You can also glue this timeline into a notebook.

The printable also has short explanations of each of the events on the timeline to read aloud and discuss.

Step 3: Show What You Know

Choose one of the explorers on the timeline to research more about. Write a biography of the explorer you chose, focusing especially on his explorations. Share your biography with an audience, like your family.

Additional Layers

Additional Layers are extra activities you can do or tangents you can take off on. You will find them in the sidebars of each Layers of Learning unit. They are optional, so just choose what interests you.

Writer’s Notebook

Create an advertisement asking for crew to support your daring expedition into the unknown. How would you convince people to risk their lives?

Make it into a poster or pamphlet.

Additional Layer

The reason Europeans wanted to explore was to get rich. They believed in an economic philosophy called mercantilism.

This is a French port at the height of mercantilism.

Learn more about mercantilism and how that philosophy shaped the colonization policies of the Europeans over the next several hundred years.

Additional Layer

In 1580 the Russians began to explore and expand eastward. In 1639 they had reached the Pacific Ocean, building forts along the way.

Russians settled the land they explored and conquered.

Learn more about Russian explorations.

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3 thoughts on “Age of Exploration Timeline”

  1. I love this year-long activity. I am having my students create “baseball cards” for explorers and this would be a great place to place them so the wall will be filled with student-made work ALL YEAR!!
    Thanks for this idea.

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