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What kinds of people chose a life of exploration, challenge and discovery? Learn the answer to that question as you read about the adventures of explorers from Christopher Columbus to Neil Armstrong.


Explorers of the Millenium
Do you know the name of the first woman in space? The first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean? The first European to sail around Africa to India and back? If not, this ThinkQuest Junior site will provide the answers. Created by fourth and fifth graders at Sherwood School in Highland Park, Illinois, the site's Explorers' Hall of Fame identifies the pioneers who helped us reach this point in human history and invites visitors to nominate their own candidates as well. Check out the timeline and interactive quiz, then explore the links and additional resources. You might discover a favorite explorer of your own.

Discoverer's Web
Discoverer's Web provides an exhaustive compilation of Web resources on every aspect of the history of exploration and discovery. Text-based and easy to load, the site covers pre-history through modern times, including non-western explorers. What is most striking about this site is the sheer number and variety of resources, which include primary resources, a list of explorers who died during their explorations, an alphabetical list of explorers, and much more.

European Voyages of Exploration
The University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, presents this intensive examination of European exploration during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This tutorial discusses the geography, politics, and culture of Portugal and Spain and examines the actions and motivation of those countries as they pioneered the explorations that began the process of world globalization. The site is easily navigable and contains lots of solid information in a user-friendly environment.

Antarctic Philately
This comprehensive site, best suited for middle- and high school students, provides an awesome combination of stamp collecting and the history of the exploration of the South Pole. The site includes maps, biographies, and lots of fascinating information. Did you know, for example, that the original South Pole station -- built in the 1950s -- is now buried beneath thirty feet of ice?

Subtitled the Art and Science of Fifteenth Century Navigation, this site walks students through the science of map making and map reading. A lot of interesting information is packed into discussions of such technical topics as sailing, oceanography, astronomy, geology, and cartography. Did you know that the factors that made the Julian calendar inaccurate until the 1500s are the same ones that threatened to cause Y2K problems this past January 1? Visit the site to find out why.

Ships of Discovery
Ships of Discovery is the online presence of an institute formed expressly to study shipwrecks and the stories behind them. Here, visitors can see not only the ancient practices of the mariner, but current excavations on Molasses Reef Wreck, Baha Mujeres Wreck, Highborn Cay Wreck, Baha Isabela, Santa Mara, and Gallega as well. The site provides a wonderful vantage point for looking at explorers through the eyes of archaeologists.

History of Space Exploration
Not all explorers lived in the distant past! Space is a frontier we will continue to explore far into the new millennium. At this site, which includes educator's resources on both robotic and shuttle spacecraft, students can learn about the history of space exploration and find information about a number of United States, Russian, Japanese, and European missions.

Just Where Was Columbus?
The Information Please Almanac presents this engaging feature on each of Columbus' four voyages -- explaining where he actually landed as well as where he thought he landed. Imagine how surprised students will be to learn about all the stops Columbus actually made between the Bahamas and Panama! Lots of maps, a quiz, and links to sites about other explorers help round out this visually attractive site.

Article by Walter McKenzie
Education World®
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Updated 06/02/2011