Video Writing Prompt: The Voyage of Columbus

Christine Wojdyla, TeachHUB

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Christopher Columbus is considered one of the first explorers to discover America. As a result, we celebrate and honor him with a national holiday every October.  While there may be controversy in regards to the acknowledgement and celebration of this famous (or infamous) historical explorer, schools across the country spend some time educating their students on the history of Columbus.

This short video gives a brief overview of Columbus and his coming to America. You can use it to precede a short writing assignment, as outlined below.


K-2: Long Trip to a New Land

Columbus was an explorer who traveled with 3 ships full of people from Spain to America. If you were going on a long trip across the ocean for many months to a new land, what 5 items would you bring with you?

3-5:  The Best Gifts

Columbus never made it to India, where he was planning to go, but he did bring back many new things to his country. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were very pleased with the gifts that Columbus brought back from his journey, including potatoes, corn, pineapples, and chocolate. What is the best gift that you ever gave to someone?

6-8: Tomato, Tomato, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

The tomato was one of the new food items discovered in the Americas when Columbus sailed to the New World. At one time, though, the tomato was thought of as a poisonous fruit, called a love apple. Scorned men and women would threaten to eat a love apple when their significant other would break up with them.  How do you think the world came to discover that the tomato was not, in fact, poisonous? Explain your answer.

9-12: American Hero or Conquering Villain?

While Columbus is recognized as a national hero who found America and brought civilization to our unchartered part of the world, some say that he was a disgrace who kidnapped and slaughtered the indigenous people of the Caribbean Islands that he landed on. Choose one side to support and defend your argument.  


Having trouble viewing the video? Click below to watch it on The History Channel.