Columbus Day and navigating into the infinite-looking ocean

nina-picThe Niña

Columbus Day is a bit of an enigma that used to be celebrated throughout all of the Americas.  Columbus's mission and arrival are now thought to have not been as noble an endeavor in the way that indigenous people were treated by the European colonization that began with Columbus's voyage. Now, many states no longer celebrate Columbus Day.

This post is about imagining sailing off into the West, into an empty-looking ocean, to find what your captain believes is a good route to the Indian subcontinent.  Sailing West was a huge navigational feat.  Fortunately Columbus's ships experienced good weather but they landed in the Caribbean ... not southern Asia.

Use some of what we know now about navigation to examine this trek and do some reasoning and experimentation with the data.  For younger students you might consider using only the first part of the activity.

The activity: 1492.pdf

CCSS: 5.G, 6.RP, 7.RP, 8.G.B, HSG.SRT.C.8

For members we have an editable Word doc and solutions.

1492.doc       1492-solutions.pdf

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