Teaching Christopher Columbus at KS1

Christopher Columbus provides an excellent opportunity to link to other famous people on the theme of explorers, a requirement of the KS1 National Curriculum for history.

Contrasting the world of the later 15th century with space travel of the 20th century has obvious parallels and certainly helps pupils to strengthen their ideas of similarity and difference between time frames within and beyond living memory. Columbus himself provides rich opportunities for pupils to develop important historical skills and concepts. They start by sequencing before moving on to look at motivation and the significance of his achievements, both for the time and for today. Because he is an increasingly controversial figure, not least in terms of his apparent lack of respect for indigenous cultures, this study has exploited the considerable scope to look at different interpretations of the man. As a window into changing attitudes to diversity, this topic is highly relevant to pupils today.

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