Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.

Kindergarten- American Civilization - Overview

The American Civilization lessons for September center around Columbus's voyage to the "New World." Several lessons ask the children to recall facts learned about maps and globes; therefore it is imperative that the geography lessons be taught prior to the following American Civilization lessons.

Below are suggested books to read about Columbus's voyage. If you have one that works well and is not listed here, please use it!

Suggested Books

Adler, David. A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus. New York: Holiday House, 1991.

D'Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar. Columbus. Garden City: Doubleday, 1991.

Fritz, Jean. Where Do You Think You're Going Christopher Columbus? New York: Putnam, 1980.

Greene, Carol. Christopher Columbus: A Great Explorer. Chicago: Children's Press, 1989.

Goss, Ruth Belov. A Book About Christopher Columbus. New York: Scholastic, 1974.

Liestman, Vicki. Columbus Day. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 1991.

Sis, Peter. Follow the Dream. New York: Knopf, 1991.

Core Knowledge Resources




A. A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus by David Adler (Holiday House)

B. The First Thanksgiving by Linda Hayward (Random House)

The Pilgirms of Plimoth by Marcia Sewall (Atheneum)

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh

The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern

C. The 4th of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh (Charles Scribner)

D. Slavery

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David Adler


Ten Little Rabbits by Virginia Grossman & Sylvia Long (Chronicle Books)

How the Seasons Came by Joanna Troughton (Bedrick/Blackie)

Powwow by George Ancona (HBJ)

Totem Pole by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith

Powwow by June Behrens

Tapenum's Day by Kate Waters


A. A Picture Book of George Washington by David Adler

George Washington Father of Our Country by David Adler

B. Thomas Jefferson A Picture Book Biography by James Cross Giblin (Scholastic)

C. A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David Adler

Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire


E. Current President


The Star-Spangled Banner by Peter Spier (Doubleday)

The Statue of Liberty by

Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags by James Cross Giblin (Clarion) - Teacher Resource

Our National Symbols by Linda Carlson Johnson

Our Flag by Eleanor Ayer

America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates



Kindergarten - American Civilization - Lesson 1


Review map and globe skills.

Gather background to the story of Christopher Columbus' voyage.



Orange, cut in half horizontally


Using the globe, begin with a brief review of materials covered in Geography Lessons 1-4 as a background for the voyage of Columbus. Some questions might be:

Who remembers the shape of the Earth?

Why is some of the globe colored green and some colored blue?

Does it look as though there is more water or land on the Earth?

Next, remind the children of the map made of their classroom, review what maps are for and what they do. Tell them that people make maps in order to tell others where they live, where they have been, and where they want to go.Tell them that long, long ago when people made the first maps, they knew only three continents. Keep showing the children the area of Europe, Africa, and Asia on the globe and encourage them to name the three continents (Europe, Africa, and Asia).

Say: I want you to guess who were the first mapmakers. Remind the children that there were no airplanes, no cars, and no trains long ago. Try to elicit the idea that the first mapmakers must have been explorers who were sailors, since traveling by boat was the best way to explore the Earth. Tell the children that the people who were the explorers (navigators) and mapmakers wanted to get from Europe (indicating on the globe the area of Italy, Spain, Portugal, and England) to Asia, especially this part (indicating India), because the people there knew how to make silk and grow all kinds of spices that the people from Europe wanted.

Tell the children you want them to pretend they are navigators 500 years ago and you want them to show you by pointing on the globe how you would get from this part of Europe (again indicating western Europe) to this part of Asia (indicating India), which is called India.

Have a few people come up and show by pointing, first suggesting through the Mediterranean area, so they can see that the Near East would prevent that route. (Talk about where the blue color stops and is not continuous.) See if someone can find another way (around Africa) and then ask what is in the way? (the continent of Africa). Try to have them see what a long long journey that was and how much water they would need to sail around.

Ask: Has anyone ever been on a trip over the water where you were so far out that you

couldn't even see any land at all? If not, ask them to imagine it. Say: Lots of the sailors were

really scared. Can you imagine why they were so scared? (unknown place, nobody knows where

they are, what to expect, etc.) Show them the orange you have cut in half and tell them that many

people didn't even know what the children have already learned--that the Earth is a round ball.

Instead, they thought it was flat. Ask: What might happen to navigators and sailors and ships if

the world was flat and shaped like this half orange? (Might fall off)


Kindergarten - American Civilization - Lesson 1

Tell them that in the next lesson you are going to read them a story about someone who

really proved that the Earth was round. Ask whether anyone can guess his name. If so, tell them you will be anxious to hear anything they can tell you about Christopher Columbus, the famous navigator who proved that the Earth was round.

Optional Activity: Papier maché globes

Materials for the Activity (to be made now or in extra time, then used in a subsequent lesson)

Balloons for each child, at least 6" when inflated

Flour and water

Bowls or empty margarine tubs

Large pieces of white tissue paper

Newspaper and magazines, torn into 4" strips

blue tempera paint and paintbrushes for each child

A measuring cup or container that can function as a measure

Teacher Note

The children's balloons should be inflated and tied with a knot prior to the Activity and stored out of sight until needed. Have the students work in pairs.


1. Mix 2 measures of flour to 1 measure of water in very large container and distribute for use to the pairs of children in empty margarine tubs.

2. Layer One: Cover balloons with paste and torn tissue paper. Let dry.

Layer Two: Cover balloons with paste-soaked magazine strips. Let dry.

Layer Three: Cover balloons with pasted dipped newspaper strips. Let dry completely.

3. Paint the entire surface with blue tempera and let dry.

4. Save for Lesson 3.


Kindergarten - American Civilization - Lesson 2


Discuss the story of Christopher Columbus's voyage to the New World.


A storybook about Christopher Columbus, suggestions listed in overview


Classroom map of the world

Words to song: "Over the Ocean Blue," given below

KWL chart, to include What We Know/What We Want to Know/What We Learned


Show the map of the world to the class, and ask: Where did explorers from western Europe want to go to get spices and silk? (Asia, India in Asia) Point out the route all around Africa, reviewing a bit from Lesson 1 including the fact that they sailed in an easterly direction. Then show the children the globe. Say: If this is really the shape of the world, how else could sailors get to India in Asia? (Keep turning the globe to give them a hint.) Tell them: Now I am going to read you a story about a man who lived nearly 500 years ago who believed absolutely that the Earth was round, in the shape of this globe, and who understood that with this shape, you could travel in either direction to get to the same point. Ask the children if anyone knows any facts about the famous navigator, Christopher Columbus. If so, let them brainstorm briefly with you, and write any relevant facts on the KWL chart. Ask: What do you want to know about Christopher Columbus? Record responses on the KWL chart.

Read the storybook to the children, taking plenty of time to show the illustrations, so they have a good idea of what the three ships of Columbus looked like, why Columbus went to the Spanish king and queen for help, and how lengthy and difficult the voyage was.

After the children have listened to the storybook, ask some questions, such as: Why did Columbus like to sail? What are the names of Columbus's three ships? Who gave the ships to Columbus? Where did Columbus think he had landed? What did Columbus call the people on the island where he landed? Why?

When you feel the children are firm about these basic facts and you have added them to the KWL chart, tell them you will teach them a song about Columbus's voyage.


Kindergarten - American Civilization - Lesson 2


Song to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"

"Over the Ocean Blue"

(adapted in a Core Knowledge lesson by Pamela Barksdale and Karen Anderson; original song from Holiday Piggyback Songs, 1988.)

Columbus sailed over the ocean,

Columbus sailed over the sea.

Columbus discovered America,

But Columbus didn't see me!

Nina, Pinta,

The Santa Maria, too.

They all sailed

Over the ocean blue.

Columbus was looking for India,

But Columbus missed it, you see.

Columbus discovered America,

But Columbus didn't see me!

Nina, Pinta,

The Santa Maria, too.

They all sailed

Over the ocean blue.


Kindergarten - American Civilization - Lesson 3


Understand why Native Americans were called Indians.

Understand why North and South America were referred to as a New World.



Worksheet (attached)

Red, green and blue crayons for each child


Briefly review Columbus's journey. Try to have the children imagine what a frightening journey it was for the sailors who went with Columbus. If anyone in the group has ever been on the water completely out of sight of land, ask her or him to tell about it. If not, have them think about how familiar they feel in their own neighborhood, their own school, etc. Say: If you have ever had a visit to someone in your family who lives far away, or even to a hospital or event far from your home, you may have felt a little strange, not knowing the people, not recognizing the buildings or trees. Think about how good you felt on the way back, when you began to recognize things and people you knew. When we talk about landmarks, we mean those things we see that help us see that we are in a familiar place. One of the most frightening things for those sailors--in addition to their mistaken worries about falling off the edge of a flat Earth--was having no landmarks for so long when they spent all those days and days seeing nothing but water.

Next ask: Where did Columbus want to go? (India, India in Asia) Where did he really land in 1492? (an island near North America) Why didn't his idea work out the way he thought it would? If no one can answer the question, show the children the globe and turn it to the side with North and South America. Point out that if he sailed in a straight line from Europe he would run into what? (North and South America) Remind them that at the time nobody in Europe knew that North and South America existed. Explain that the European explorers who made the maps had not yet crossed the Atlantic until Columbus did.

You may at this point want to read either the Jean Fritz or Vicky Liestman books suggested in the list from Lesson 2. They both present especially well what it was that Columbus really found in San Salvador. If you don't have access to them, be sure the children are clear about the facts that:

1. Since Columbus thought he was in the Indies, he called the Native Americans that he met on the island Indians. Even today Native Americans are sometimes still called Indians, all because of the mistake Columbus made how long ago? (nearly 500 years)

2. North and South America are sometimes called the New World, because explorers from Europe had never heard of these continents before. Actually, it was a new world only to whom?

(people from Europe) Who had been living on these two continents and the islands around them for a long, long time? (Native Americans)


Pass out worksheets and a set of red, green, and blue crayons to each child. Ask what kind of a map it is (a world map). Tell them they are going to color in the map so it will show BCP DRAFT HIST 7

Kindergarten - American Civilization - Lesson 3

where the Old World and the New World are located. Ask: Which continents did people call the New World? (North and South America) So which continents did people call the Old World? (Europe, Africa, and Asia) Tell them to color the New World red; the Old World, green; and the oceans, blue. Ask what two continents remain? (Australia and Antarctica) Tell them to leave Australia and Antarctica blank, since no one in Europe knew about them at that time.

As the children are coloring, you may want to talk to them about the fact that Columbus's voyage was important because he went someplace that no other Europeans had been before. Many explorers and navigators followed where Columbus had gone, and some found more land and more people that were new to them. Tell them to remember that Columbus's arrival wasn't all good, and ask if anyone can guess why? Say: It was a very sad time for Native Americans. Many of them died from strange diseases that the sailors brought or from fighting with the people from Europe who wanted their land.