Explorer’s Letter Project

Please make sure you include information from your Social Studies text as well.

Letter directions

  1. Cover: Nicely detailed title with explorer’s name, birth year and year of death, with explorer portrait to match. All work is traced in ultra-fine point Sharpie and colored. Erase pencil marks.

  1. Page 2: Letter: Minimum 5 paragraphs, told from the perspective of someone working on the explorer’s ship. Include all the information covered in the rubric as part of the entries. This letter should be handwritten and gone over in pen or ultra-fine point Sharpie. All work should be in the child’s own sentences... cut-and-paste work from the Internet will be graded as incomplete.

A sample letter:

  1. July 12, 1602

  2. Dear Mamá and Papá,

  3.     37 years ago, in 1565, my great Captain Cermeño sailed northeast out of Manila, under orders of our great Spanish King Phillip II. Because his ship was heavy with treasures, he needed to keep a weather eye out for British pirates, who wanted to steal all the goods we have aboard, take all the crew prisoners, or worse.

  4.     7 years ago in 1595, our ship called the San Augustin, sailed down this unexplored coast named after Queen Califa, a character from a novel. We were looking without success for a port that Captain Cermeño dared enter. He didn’t trust the rocky shores. Our ship finally rounded a large point of land and anchored in a large bay, but alas, it was beaten to pieces on the rocks. Our captain named this wild, cold bay after his favorite saint, Francisco. He claimed the land for Spain.

  5.     He salvaged a small boat from the wreckage of our galleon, and bravely sailed us south along the coast in this calm ocean called the Pacific until we made it all the way to New Spain.

  6.     A sad day came when we found out our captain died! Even now, there is great secrecy surrounding the cause of his death; no one will tell us.

  7.     I look forward to seeing you again, my dear family. All this sailing and eating stale food makes me long for the quiet comfort of our little Spanish cocina.

  8. Sincerely,

  9. Juan Carlos Montenegro Agustino Peralta

Your child’s letter will need to have enough information in them to cover all the grading points from the rubric.

For another handwritten sample we worked on in class on the board, click here.

Students have detailed notes what is required to complete this project, including a worksheet to fill in their notes. They should be behind their Social Studies section in their binders. Please contact me if you have questions.

Links for extra material

Make sure your portrait is large enough to fit your page. Include the explorer’s name in large letters, and your name in the right corner, top or bottom.

A neater letter will receive a higher grade. This is about a C or C-. Consider putting a sheet of notebook paper underneath while you’re writing to keep your sentences straight.