Lesson Plans -- Student
The Columbian Exchange and Reaction:
Cultural Contact and
The Age of Exploration
A Documents-Based Question by Casey Jakubowski
HIST 530a, Fall 2002
Directions: Using skills you have gained during the last unit,
following short-answer questions and create an essay that meets the
requirements of each
portion of the task. Regents essay writing standards apply: 5
paragraphs (introduction, conclusion, and three support/detail
Historical Background: In the late 1400s, European explorers fournd
the North American continent. Native
American peoples who were already living in North America had created a
system of government and society that
rivaled Europe's. The cultural exchange between the "New World" and the
"Old World" (North America and Europe, respectively) is often called the
Columbian Exchange in reference to Christopher Columbus.
Task: In a well-planned essay, identify and evaluate:
1. The reaction Native Americans had to the Europeans
2. The reaction Europeans had to the Native Americans
3. How the world changed because of the interaction between these
Document 1: Columbus's diary
Saturday, 13 October.  At daybreak great multitudes of men came to
the shore, all young and of fine shapes, very handsome; their hair not
curled but straight and coarse like horse-hair, and all with foreheads and
heads much broader than any people I had seen; They came loaded with
balls of cotton, parrots, javelins, and other things too numerous to
mention; these they exchanged for whatever we chose to give them.
1. What did Columbus observe about the Natives?
2. What did the Spanish and Native Americans do together?
Document 2: Description of Aztec reaction to Cortez
Cortez was coming. Montezuma [leader of the Aztecs] had already sent
wizards, magicians, and seers to cast spells that would destroy or at
deter the Spaniards from continuing towards the Capital. Their failure had
re-confirmed the [Aztec] emporer's opinion that these indeed, were the
gods of legend
1. What did Montezuma send to Cortez?
2. Why might the Aztecs believe the Spaniards were gods?
Document 3: Journal entry of Bartolome de Las Casas
The [the Americans] do not have weapons, nor do they know about them
because when we showed them a sword, they cut themselves from grabbing the
1. How did the Native Americans show that they did not know about
Document 4: Farming and Food calories
|Yams (Sweet Potato)
1. Which area had a higher calorie average?
2. Of the 4 European crops listed, which one was the most
Document 5: Columbian Exchange
||Native population falls
||Guns kill many Natives
8. What was one animal brought to America?
Document 6: " Loss of hand because gold quota not
Commissioned by B. De Las Casas
1. Based on the document, did the Spanish treat the Natives
2. According to the title of document 6, the penalty for
Gold quota was a loss of a hand. Why would the Spanish cut
Essay Question: In a well planned essay, discuss how
Europeans reacted to their encounters with each other.
least three specific examples to support your thesis.
Explanation of how documents are chosen: The
selected in order to provide students with a selection of
of the Columbian Exchange. I attempted to give students
unambiguous documents to facilitate their writing a clear
compare-and-contrast essay. In an effort to meet state
documents collected include primary sources from European
perspectives. I attempted to provide questions that created
a basis for
students to reenforce the exploration and discovery section
Grading plan: Based on the Regents requirement of a
0 Student fails to write anything on paper, no coherent
scribbling, curse words, statements of opposition
1 Student clearly makes an effort to answer question; major
errors; incoherent; lacking any connection with essay
2 Student clearly makes an effort to answer question;
contains one or two
quotes from documents; lacks coherence, structure and
3 Student uses all documents in a well-written essay;
student has an
introduction and conclusion; no outside information present.
4 Student uses all documents in a superbly written essay;
includes one or two facts based on outside information.
5 Student uses all documents in an excellent essay; clear
clearly demonstrates comprehension of question; at least
three facts based
on outside information
Document 1: Columbus' Diary
Document 2: Aztec Reaction to Cortez
Document 3: Journal of Bartolome de Las Casas
John E. Kicza, Resilient cultures : America's native peoples
confront European colonizaton, 1500-1800.Upper Saddle River, NJ :
Prentice Hall, 2003.
Document 4: Farming and Food Calories
Document 5: The Columbian Exchange
Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural
Consequences of 1492, Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1972.
Document 6: "Loss of a hand because gold quota not met"