Junior Scholastic Teaching Kits

Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine.

Featured Teaching Kits

Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets for teaching map skills in your classroom, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine

The Historic Voyage of Christopher Columbus

The explorer’s journey to the New World transformed the globe, but many Americans are taking a hard look at his legacy. Learn about the debate over whether Columbus should be celebrated—then plot his 1492 voyage on a map using lines of latitude and longitude.

Read the Story
Use Primary Sources
An excerpt from Columbus's letter to King Ferdinand
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Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
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What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart?

In 1937, Amelia Earhart flew into history—and off the map. Learn how modern-day mystery hunters are using dogs to hunt for clues about the famed pilot’s fate. Then use a map to analyze the direction and distance of Earhart’s fateful journey.

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Direction and Distance
Use the map to answer the questions.
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Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
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Alone in Antarctica

Antarctica is a frigid, unforgiving landscape full of ice and danger. That’s what makes adventurer Colin O’Brady’s recent accomplishment so amazing. He became the first person to cross Antarctica by himself, without any assistance. Study his historic route using a polar map.

Read the Story
Crossing Antarctica
Use the map to answer the questions.
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Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
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The World's Biggest Time Zone

China is about as big as the United States but operates on just a single time zone. How do 1.4 billion Chinese keep up with the odd hours? Read the article to find out, then analyze a map of the world’s 24 time zones.

U.S. Time Zones
Use the map to answer the questions.
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U.S. Time Zones
Use the map to answer the questions.
Get Worksheet
Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
Get Lesson Plan
Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
Get Lesson Plan

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Quotes
 

Famous quotes about exploration

“The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore.”

— Ferdinand Magellan

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

— Henry Miller

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

— Mark Twain

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Key Figures
 

World travelers who made an impact

The Vikings

Seafaring explorers from Scandinavia, the Vikings traveled to Africa and Asia during the Middle Ages, and around the year 1000 they were the first Europeans to discover North America—though they didn’t establish a permanent colony. The Vikings relied on the position of the sun and the stars to guide them across the seas. They even learned how to determine their points of latitude.

Christopher Columbus

While sailing west from Spain in 1492 in search of a faster route to Asia, Christopher Columbus reached San Salvador, an island in the Bahamas. The Italian explorer was credited with discovering the New World and launching Europe’s settlement of the Americas, though many people today condemn the impact his discovery had on the millions of Native Americans already living in North America.

Vasco Núñez de Balboa

In September 1513, after trudging through the jungle of what is now Panama, this Spanish explorer became the first European to spot the Pacific Ocean. Claiming the ocean and the land it touched for Spain, Balboa helped open up present-day Central and South America for conquest.

Sacagawea

In 1805, this Native American woman served as a guide and interpreter for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, explorers sent by President Thomas Jefferson to explore what is now the northwest United States. Together they crossed the uncharted wilderness from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, and Lewis and Clark later said they probably couldn’t have completed their mission without Sacagawea’s help.

Glossary

Terms and definitions that pertain to map skills

 

equator

noun

the imaginary line that circles Earth halfway between the North and South poles

latitude

noun

the measurement in degrees north and south of the equator

longitude

noun

the measurement in degrees east and west of the prime meridian, an imaginary line that passes through Greenwich, England

physical map

noun

a map that shows information about a region’s terrain, including major landforms and bodies of water

political map

noun

a map that shows government-defined information about places, including country and state boundaries, capitals, and other major cities

polar map

noun

a map that shows a flattened view of the world from directly above a polar region

Explore Other Topics

Discover other free social studies topics and middle school teaching resources from Junior Scholastic magazine.

Gary Woodard/Shutterstock (globe); Ho/Naval Museum/AFP/Getty Images (painting); Underwood Archives/Getty Images (Earhart); Courtesy of Colin O’Brady (Antarctica); Jim McMahon/Mapman® (time zone map); Fotokvadrat/Shutterstock (viking); IanDagnall Computing /Alamy (Columbus); Album/Alamy (Núñez de Balboa); Shutterstock (Sacagawea)