Who "Discovered" America?

Show Description:

Students ponder the meaning of the word discover in this program. Can one "discover" a land where people are already living? Students learn the reasons and methods by which Columbus navigated to the "New World." The program dispels some myths about Columbus and addresses the impact European conquests had on the Americas. Students also learn about other explorers who "discovered" America long before Columbus's time. Classroom activities include determining the shape and size of the Earth, using quadrants to determine latitude, and making a timeline of explorers.

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This program is available in electronic format, with all images and movies included, from the following sources:

For questions regarding content,

e-mail Alan Gould.

Classroom Activities:

    • What Shape Is the Earth?

    • How Big Is the Earth?

      • See also Lāhainā Noon from Bishop Museum. "Twice a year, in May and July, the Sun passes directly overhead for locations on Earth in the tropics [from 23½° South to 23½° North latitudes]. On these two days, around local noon, the Sun will be exactly overhead, at a 90° angle, and an upright object such as a flagpole will have no shadow."

All activities copyright 1993 by the Regents of The University of California.