Correcting Misinformation - Intermediate Lesson

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The student will be able to:


1. Think, Pair, Share

2. Give background information on Columbus and the events of 1492 by reading the book Columbus Day by Vicki Liestman. Give special attention to a discussion on the meaning of the words discovery and discover. The word discovers means to find something that is unknown. Discuss the fact that millions of indigenous people were living in the Americas when Columbus arrived; therefore he did not discover the Americas. A better word to describe the event might be the arrival of Columbus.

3. Discuss the process to be followed while evaluating books. (see process below)

4. Form groups of four. Number off 1,2,3,4.

5. Give each group a book. (See attached list for samples.)

6. Students read the book in their group.

7. Use the chart given to evaluate the assigned book.

8. Discuss each group's findings. Use the following questions to have a deeper discussion of the books evaluated.

  • What surprised you after you completed the checklist?
  • Was the information on the checklist the same story you were originally told?
  • Why weren't you told this before?
  • What do you think are the most important parts of the story?
  • What was left out of the book that should be included for a better understanding of the history of these events?
  • According to your books why did Columbus sail?
  • Why did the monarchy support him?
  • What are the illustrations of? What do they make you feel? What do you learn from them?
  • Does the book discuss more than Columbus' first voyage?
  • How many times does Columbus talk?
  • How many times do we get to know what he was thinking?
  • What were the indigenous people called? How many times were their names used? How are they referred to?
  • Are the thoughts and feelings of the indigenous people taken into account? stated?
  • How many times did the indigenous people talk?
  • What did you learn about Columbus' life?
  • What did you learn about the lives of indigenous people?
  • Does the book describe how the Spaniards treated the indigenous people? Explain.
  • Does the book describe how the indigenous people treated that Spaniards? Explain.
  • What does the book say about slavery?
  • Who does the book prompt you to cheer for? How is this done? Why do you think the book is written this way?

    9. Have a general class discussion using the following questions. (Add more as necessary and invite student questions and responses.)

    10. Use this discussion as a springboard for the following questions and activity:

    11. Go back to the original chart/overhead generated at the beginning of the lesson. What information needs to be changed? Removed? Added?


    American Indian -- a member of the various tribal groups of the Americas.

    Christopher Columbus -- Italian navigator who made four voyages for Spain. He believed that he could arrive at the Indies by going west.

    Indigenous -- living naturally in the area; native

    Taino/Arawak -- the indigenous farmers, hunters and gatherers that lived on several islands in the Caribbean.

    Guanahani -- one of the islands where the Taino lived. Upon his arrival there Columbus claimed it for Spain and renamed it San Salvador.

    The Indies -- China, Japan, India and some islands near China were all part of the Indies where there were jewels, gold, and spices.

    discover -- The word discover means to find something that is unknown. The Americas were already known to millions of indigenous people, so they were not discovered by Columbus.

    celebrate -- to observe a notable occasion with festivities; to honor by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business.

    Commemorate -- to call to remembrance; to mark by some ceremony or observation.

    monarchy -- a state or nation ruled by a king or queen

    yew -- any of the several evergreen trees or shrubs of the genus Taxus.


    Books to be evaluated:

    Brenner, B. If You Were There in 1492. Bradbury Press, 1991. [This book gives a look at everyday life and developments in Europe and life aboard Columbus' ship as well as the life of an Arawakan (Taino).]

    Columbus, Christopher. Selections by Steve Lowe. The Log of Christopher

    Columbus. Philomel Books, 1992.

    Fritz, Jean. Where do you think you're going, Christopher Columbus? Illustrated by Margot Tomes. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1980.

    Liestman, Vicki. Columbus Day. Carolrhonda Books, 1991. [This is one of the few books for young students that mentions the impact of Columbus Day on Native Peoples in an authentic way. Though this book has already been read to the students, give it to one group for the evaluation process.

    Maestro, Betsy. The Discovery of the Americas. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1991.

    Ortiz, Simon. The People Shall Continue. Children's Press, 1988. (This is a beautifully illustrated story about "the People" told by a tribal storyteller. Though this book does not deal directly with Columbus, it pro- vides a balance to the Columbus story from a European perspective. Highly recommended.)

    Ross, Stewart. Columbus and the Age of Exploration. The Bookwright Press, 1985.

    Sis, Peter. Follow the Dream. Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.

    Stone, Elaine Murray. Christopher Columbus. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1991.


    Students may write skits, children's books or poetry showing a relationship between the events of 1492 and a possible event today. (i.e. A new child in a classroom/neighborhood. How does the new child feel? How do the people who are already there feel? What can they learn from each other?) Students should be encouraged to share their plays or stories with younger students in the school.

    Students critique books in the school/public library for race, gender, age and class bias. They could evaluate other books about American Indians, Columbus and other voyagers.

    Students will discuss with parents/guardians on what they were taught about Columbus Day while in school.

    Students will discuss the picture on the Great Seal of the State of Minnesota


    Students tell story "Wampanoag Life in the 17th Century" to another class or parents.
    Students originate another way to promote the practice of saying "thanks" or "Miigwetch", perhaps "thank you notes" to previous teachers.
    Students begin writing in a weekly "thank-you" journal.

    LINKAGES - Human Relations, Communications

    Social Studies, Language Arts
    Adapted from plans by Laura Pezán, Robbinsdale Area Schools