Lesson Plan

Age of Exploration ...OR....Age of Invasion?

In this unit, students will understand how European contact changed the cultural landscape of Latin America. While the early civilizations were destroyed there remains some continuity seen through existing societies. Conflict & change are furthered thr
Marla L.
Classroom teacher
World Language Academy
Flowery Branch, United States
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My Grades 6
My Subjects Social Studies

Students will be able to...

SS6H1 The student will describe the impact of European contact on Latin America. 
a. Describe the encounter and consequences of the conflict between the Spanish and the 
Aztecs and Incas and the roles of Cortes, Montezuma, Pizarro, and Atahualpa. 
b. Explain the impact of the Colombian Exchange on Latin America and Europe in terms of 
the decline of the indigenous population, agricultural change, and the introduction of the 

Supports CCGPS_ELA

ELACC6RL1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as 
well as inferences drawn from the text. 

ELACC6RL2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed 
through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal 
opinions or judgments. 

ELACC6W1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. 


Lesson 1- Age of Invasion?

Lesson 2- When Two Worlds Collide

Lesson 3- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...What did Columbus start? 

Lesson 4- Before and... then After

Social Studies
Grades 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Comic Life
Free to try, Paid
Free to try, Paid

Age of Invasion? Now that you have learned about Who, What, When, Why and How the European explorers began...in search for 1.Asia-Spices (routes/market for goods) 2.Spread Christianity 3. Gold treasure/economy 4. Glory/Imperialism..think colonies

WHAT HAPPENED???  when the explorers landed in...

West coast of Africa?

Latin America?

North America?

TO DO: Create a comic (choose from list on chart) and PREDICT what you think may have happened....Please choose one of the following comics apps and create a comic that predicts, describes or defends what the explorers or indigenous people thought/ said/ reaction.
Use your reasoning.....what do you think happened?
Use your evidence..graphic organizer with motives
Can you predict the outcome..?
What would happen if...?
What conclusions can you draw...?

Student will evaluate concepts of interaction between European explorers in quest for colonization.

EQ:How were the Europeans able to conquer the Aztecs and Incas?

2 Direct Instruction

Free to try, Paid
Free to try, Paid


EQ:What roles did Cortez, Montezuma, Pizarro, and Atahualpa play in the Spanish 
encounter and conquest of the Aztecs and Incas?

The student will construct a cause and effect of the conquest of Azteca and Inca leaders.

  • Step 1- listen to song



user:[email protected]

pass: wlatoros

  • Step 2- Investigate notes bottom of page "History Speaks" on Flocabulary (complete 5Ws graphic organizer)
  • Step 3- read additional information

Francisco Pizarro: 

Francisco Pizarro grew up in Trujillo, Spain. His father, Gonzalo Pizarro, was a colonel in the Spanish army and his mother, Francisca, was a poor woman living in Trujillo. Francisco grew up with little education and never learned how to read or write. Growing up was tough for Francisco. He was raised by his grandparents because his parents never got married. He worked as a pig herder for many years. Francisco was an ambitious man, however, and wanted to improve his lot in life. He heard stories of the riches of the New World and wanted to travel there and find his own fortune. He set sail for the New World and lived on the island of Hispaniola for several years as a colonist.

Pizarro eventually became friends with explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa. In 1513, he joined Balboa on his expeditions. He was even a member of Balboa's famous expedition that crossed the Isthmus of Panama to reach the Pacific Ocean. When Balboa was replaced as the local governor by Pedrarias Davila, Pizarro became friends with Davila. When Davila and Balboa became enemies, Pizarro turned on Balboa and arrested him. Balboa was executed and Pizarro was rewarded for his loyalty to the governor.

Pizarro had heard rumors of a land in South America that was full of gold and other treasures. He wanted to explore the land. He made two initial expeditions into the land. On the second trip, he reached the Tumbez people on the borders of the Inca Empire. He now knew for sure that the gold he had heard tales of was more than just rumors. However, he eventually had to turn back before reaching the Inca.

In 1532 Pizarro landed on the coast of South America. He established the first Spanish settlement in Peru called San Miguel de Piura. Meanwhile the Inca had just fought a civil war between two brothers, Atahualpa and Huascar. Their father the emperor had died and both wanted his throne. Atahualpa won the war, but the country was weakened from the internal battles. Many Inca were also sick from diseases brought by the Spanish such as smallpox.

Pizarro and his men set out to meet with Atahualpa. Atahualpa felt he had nothing to worry about. Pizarro only had a few hundred men while he had tens of thousands. However, Pizarro set a trap for Atahualpa and took him prisoner. He held him ransom for a room full of gold and silver. The Inca delivered the gold and silver, but Pizarro executed Atahualpa anyway.

Pizarro then marched to Cuzco and took over the city in 1533. He looted the city of its treasure. In 1535 he established the city of Lima as the new capital of Peru. He would rule as governor for the next ten years.

In 1538 Pizarro had a dispute with his long time expedition partner and fellow conquistador Diego Almagro. He had Almagro killed. However, on June 26, 1541 some of Almagro's supporters led by his son stormed Pizarro's home in Lima and assassinated him.



[Portrait of Hernan Cortez] Hernan Cortés: 

Hernan Cortés was born in Medellin, Spain in 1485. He came from a fairly famous family and his father was a captain in the Spanish army. His parents wanted him to become a lawyer and sent him to school to study law when he was fourteen. Cortés wasn't interested in becoming a lawyer and returned home when he was sixteen. Cortés heard of Christopher Columbus' discoveries in the new world. He wanted to travel and see new lands. He also wanted to make his fortune and fame.

In 1518, Cortés was put in charge of an expedition to the mainland of Mexico. This was something that he had wanted to do for many years. Cortés and his men landed at the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico in April of 1519. He had 11 ships, around 500 men, some horses, and some cannon. Cortés heard of the gold and treasures of the Aztecs. He soon met a native woman named Dona Marina. Dona Marina spoke the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs and could help to interpret for Cortés. He wanted to conquer them and take their treasure for Spain. He requested a meeting with the Aztec Emperor, Montezuma II, but was repeatedly turned down. He then decided to march to the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan.

Gathering his small force of 500 men, Cortés began to march to Tenochtitlan, the heart of the Aztec Empire. Along the way he met with other cities and peoples. He found out that a number of other tribes didn't like their Aztec rulers. He made alliances with them, including the powerful Tlaxcala people. When Cortés arrived at Tenochtitlan on November 8, 1519 he was welcomed by the Aztec Emperor Montezuma II. Although Montezuma did not trust Cortés, he thought that Cortés might be the god Quetzalcoatl in human form. Montezuma gave Cortés and his men gifts of gold. He thought that these gifts would keep Cortés from taking over the city, but they just made Cortés want more. Cortés took Montezuma captive within his own city. Cortes’ men killed King Montezuma. The Aztecs fought back but Cortes was still successful in conquering the city and with it the Aztec Empire.

After conquering the Aztecs, Cortés renamed the city of Tenochtitlan to Mexico City. The city became the Spanish capital of the territory which was called New Spain. Cortés was named governor of the land by King Charles I of Spain. Later in life Cortés fell out of favor with the King of Spain. He was forced to return to Spain to defend himself. In 1541, he participated in an unsuccessful expedition to Algiers where he nearly drowned when his ship was sunk. He died on December 2, 1547 in Spain.

3 Guided Practice

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY....What did Columbus start?

EQ:What were the consequences of Spain‘s conquest of the Aztecs and the Incas? 

The student will devise a platform on how Colombian Exchange impacts our global village.

  • Step 1-LAUNCH this interactive reading guide, answer questions and take vocabulary test



user: [email protected]

pass: wlatoros2014

  • Step 2- this may begin on next lesson
  • In this lesson, you have learned about the Columbian Exchange and its impact on the world. 
    You will now write an essay that shares what you have learned and what you think about it. 
    Use your resources, graphic organizers, extra resources on Edmodo

Essay Topics
1. The Atlantic Ocean once kept the Americas separated from the rest of the world. After 
Columbus, the ocean was like a highway connecting the Americas to Europe, Asia, and 
Africa. What was exchanged? How did the Columbian Exchange change life for people 
on these continents? Use at least three examples to support your ideas
2. Describe some of the long-term effects of the Columbian Exchange. Explain which 
effects you consider positive and which you consider negative, and why. Use at least 
three examples to support your ideas 



4 Independent Practice

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ....part 2

EQ: What new technology, ideas, and things did the Europeans introduce to Latin 
America in the Columbian Exchange? 
 How did the Columbian Exchange lead to the decline of the indigenous population, 
change agriculture and introduce the horse? 

The student will critique the impact of the Columbian exchange.

  • Step 1 complete essay
  • Step 2- blog essay on Storify, insert a video or photo that supports your opinion. OR create a video journal of your points in essay

Essay Topics
1. The Atlantic Ocean once kept the Americas separated from the rest of the world. After 
Columbus, the ocean was like a highway connecting the Americas to Europe, Asia, and 
Africa. What was exchanged? How did the Columbian Exchange change life for people 
on these continents? Use at least three examples to support your ideas
2. Describe some of the long-term effects of the Columbian Exchange. Explain which 
effects you consider positive and which you consider negative, and why. Use at least 
three examples to support your ideas 



5 Wrap-Up

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Before and then After.

The student will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the European impact on Latin America.  Through a wrap up activity with accuracy to person and location.

Choose one option-post on Edmodo

1. After... to first predicting comic-create dialogue to explain impact of European explorers in Latin America.

2. Create a timeline, timetoast.com 

3. Create trading cards of key people

4. Create a Voki, avatar with dialogue explaining the impact