Field Trips

Age of Exploration

Explorers at Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.
Explorers at Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.

NPS/Francis Back

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There are many different ways to look at history ranging from a broad view of major events on a global scale to a small scale looking at specific local events. We start out with the big picture: how, when and why did the Europeans cross the Atlantic to a land that had been inhabited for thousands of years then look at an example of the cultural interface close to home.

During the Age of Exploration map-making was very important.Why?It helped with navigation, exploration, and claiming land. The ranger shows a globe to explain latitude, longitude and hemispheres. Working in pairs with a worksheet, students identify places on a map from the timeline of exploration using latitude and longitude. Three different historic maps of the same era are compared: a map of Wabanaki ancestral lands, a map that was drawn by Samuel Champlain of "Nouvelle France" and a map drawn by John Smith of "New England."

Maine is abundant with natural resources. The class brainstorms what resources the Wabanaki, French and British were using and what they were fighting over before the Revolutionary War.The class is then divided into 3 groups. One group represents the French; the 2nd group, the English; and the 3rd group, the Wabanaki. As the presenter shares the 1613 story of St. Sauveur, students imagine what Maine might have looked like at that time and think about the story from the point of view of their particular group.

Maps of each group's territory are handed out and each group develops a "press release" about what happened at St. Sauveur.Opinions may differ between people in the same cultural groups and perspectives might change based on age, gender, status, occupation, and lived experience. A volunteer from each team represent their group's leader to be interviewed by the park ranger to find out what really happened at St. Sauveur in 1613.

After the interview activity, the presenter connects each cultural group to the present day.



Acadia Education Office
207-288-8822 or 8823


American Indian History and Culture, Geography, Government, History, Leadership, Revolutionary War, Social Studies
National/State Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.6, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4a, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4b, D1b, D2b, E1b, E2b
Wabanaki, Explorers, latitude, longitude, globe, saint sauveur, europeans
Field Trips