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 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.
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.
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.
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
World travelers who made an impact
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.
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.
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.
Supplemental resources that pertain to map skills
Terms and definitions that pertain to map skills
the imaginary line that circles Earth halfway between the North and South poles
the measurement in degrees north and south of the equator
the measurement in degrees east and west of the prime meridian, an imaginary line that passes through Greenwich, England
a map that shows information about a region’s terrain, including major landforms and bodies of water
a map that shows government-defined information about places, including country and state boundaries, capitals, and other major cities
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)