Age of Exploration

by  The Mariners' Museum

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This popular program takes students on an imaginative journey through time. They will explore an era when cartographers were still mapping the world and mariners were discovering new landmasses, thus fueling the desire for knowledge and riches. Museum educators will lead discussions on economic and cultural life of the Old World, the lucrative spice trade, European efforts to chart a sea route to Asia, and other factors that accelerated European interest in exploration. Teachers will be sent spice packets prior to the program so students can handle the spices as the museum educator discusses them. Students will also examine early European exploration of North and South America and the navigational instruments used during the golden age of sail.

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About This Program


Point to Point: $125.00
By Request: $125.00


45 minutes - 1 hour

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Minimum participants:

no minimum

Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)

Booking Information

Please book at least two weeks in advance.

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Please cancel your program as soon as you know that you must. A week's notice is preferable.

About This Provider

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The Mariners' Museum

Newport News, VA
United States

The Mariners’ Museum is located in Newport News, Virginia, but our educational reach extends far beyond our physical doors. Just as Man has used the sea to journey around the world for thousands of years, The Mariners’ now uses Interactive Videoconferencing to offer programming to schools across the country and around the globe.
The Mariners' Museum, one of the largest and most comprehensive maritime history museums in the world, houses a treasure trove of more than 35,000 items inspired by human experiences with the sea.

Harriet Smith

Program Details


1. Students will learn why spices, silk, and other products were important enough to make explorers begin to search for new routes to Asia.
2. They will hear the stories of several different explorers, and about the routes they took.
3. They will learn about the impact of Christopher Columbus' voyages, including new products introduced to the Old World that only grew in America.
4. They will learn about the lives of the explorers and sailors who went on these voyages of exploration, including the tools they used to navigate the seas. They will be able to see how some of these navigation tools worked.

*This entire program will be a very interactive conversation with a Museum Educator, who will ask questions and offer the students the opportunity to do the same.


1. The student will be able to describe why the European voyages of discovery began in the 15th & 16th centuries.
2. The student will define latitude and longitude; describe how they are depicted on maps and how to measure them at sea.
3. The student will be able to identify the continents.
4. The student will identify European explorers of the 15th & 16th century.
5. The student will be able to identify navigation instruments used during the voyages
of discovery.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

NS.K-4.5 Economics
Voluntary exchange occurs only when all participating parties expect to gain. This is true for trade among individuals or organizations within a nation, and usually among individuals or organizations in different nations.

Exchange is trading goods and services with people for other goods and services or for money.
The oldest form of exchange is barter the direct trading of goods and services between people.
People voluntarily exchange goods and services because they expect to be better off after the exchange.

NSS-EC.K-4.6 Economics

When individuals, regions, and nations specialize in what they can produce at the lowest cost and then trade with others, both production and consumption increase.

Economic specialization occurs when people concentrate their production on fewer kinds of goods and services than they consume.
Division of labor occurs when the production of a good is broken down into numerous separate tasks, with different workers performing each task.
Specialization and division of labor usually increase the productivity of workers.
Greater specialization leads to increasing interdependence among producers and consumers.

NSS-EC.K-4.7 Economics
Markets exist when buyers and sellers interact. This interaction determines market prices and thereby allocates scarce goods and services.

A price is what people pay when they buy a good or service, and what they receive when they sell a good or service.
A market exists whenever buyers and sellers exchange goods and services.
Most people produce and consume. As producers they make goods and services; as consumers they use goods and services.

NSS-G.K-12.1 Geography

Understand how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
Understand how to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context.
Understand how to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth's surface.

NSS-G.K-12.4 Geography

Understand the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface.
Understand the characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics.
Understand the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface.
Understand the processes,patterns, and functions of human settlement.
Understand how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface.


Understands comparative characteristics of societies in the Americas, Western Europe, and Western Africa that increasingly interacted after 1450
Understands how early European exploration and colonization resulted in cultural and ecological interactions among previously unconnected peoples


Understands why the Americas attracted Europeans, why they brought enslaved Africans to their colonies, and how Europeans struggled for control of North America and the Caribbean
Understands how political, religious, and social institutions emerged in the English colonies
Understands how the values and institutions of European economic life took root in the colonies, and how slavery reshaped European and African life in the Americas


how the transoceanic interlinking of all major regions of the world from 1450 to 1600 led to global transformations.
how European society experienced political, economic, and cultural transformations in an age of global intercommunication, 1450-1750.
how large territorial empires dominated much of Eurasia between the 16th and 18th centuries.
economic, political, and cultural interrelations among peoples of Africa, Europe, and the Americas,1500-1750.
transformations in Asian societies in the era of European expansion.
major global trends from 1450 to 1770.

State Standards

Virginia Standards of Learning

History and Social Science:
1.3 The student will discuss the lives of people associated with Presidents? Day, Columbus Day, and the events of Independence Day (Fourth of July).
1.7 The student will explain the difference between goods and services and will describe how people are both buyers and sellers of goods and services.
2.1 The student will explain how the contributions of ancient China and Egypt have influenced the present world in terms of architecture, inventions, the calendar, and written language.
2.4.a The student will develop map skills by
locating China and Egypt on world maps
2.5.a The student will develop map skills by
locating the equator, the seven continents, and the four oceans on maps and globes
2.9 The student will explain that scarcity (limited resources) requires people to make choices about producing and consuming goods and services.
3.3 The student will study the exploration of the Americas by
a)describing the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus, Juan Ponce de Léon, Jacques Cartier, and Christopher Newport;
b)identifying reasons for exploring, the information gained, and the results from the travels.
3.4 The student will develop map skills by
a)locating Greece, Rome, and West Africa;
b)describing the physical and human characteristics of Greece, Rome, and West Africa;
c)explaining how the people of Greece, Rome, and West Africa adapted to and/or changed their environment to meet their needs.
3.5 The student will develop map skills by
a)positioning and labeling the seven continents and four oceans to create a world map;
b)using the equator and prime meridian to identify the four hemispheres;
c)locating the countries of Spain, England, and France;
d)locating the regions in the Americas explored by Christopher Columbus (San Salvador in the Bahamas), Juan Ponce de Léon (near St. Augustine, Florida), Jacques Cartier (near Quebec, Canada), and Christopher Newport (Jamestown, Virginia);
e)locating specific places on a simple letter-number grid system.
WG.1 The student will use maps, globes, photographs, and pictures in order to
a)obtain geographical information and apply the concepts of location, scale, and orientation;
b)develop and refine his or her mental maps of world regions;
c)create and compare political, physical, and thematic maps;
d)analyze and explain how different cultures develop different perspectives on the world and its problems;
e)recognize different map projections and explain the concept of distortion.
WG.12 The student will apply geography to interpret the past, understand the present, and plan for the future by
a)using geographic knowledge, skills, and perspectives to analyze problems and make decisions;
b)relating current events to the physical and human characteristics of places and regions.

WHII.4 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the impact of the European Age of Discovery and expansion into the Americas, Africa, and Asia by
a)explaining the roles of explorers and conquistadors;
b)describing the influence of religion;
c)explaining migration, settlement patterns, cultural diffusion, and social classes in the colonized areas;
d)defining the Columbian Exchange;
e)explaining the triangular trade;
f)describing the impact of precious metal exports from the Americas.