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Ponce de León: Florida's First Spanish Explorer


  1. The students will be able to identify Ponce De León's route and exploration of Florida and the surrounding areas.

Sunshine State Standards Benchmarks:

SS.A.1.2.1 - SS.A.3.2.4 - SS.A.4.2.1 - SS.A.6.2.3 - SS.B.1.2.1


conquistador voyage mythical encountered
currents colonize abandon  

Suggested Activities:

  1. Locate Spain on a globe. Discuss its geographical features.
  2. Using the map of North America, trace the route Ponce de León took to Florida. Mark the location of his landing.
  3. Have the students construct a timeline based on the life of Ponce de León and his explorations.
  4. Discuss the differences between how Ponce de León got to Florida and how people travel today. Figure out the time difference between traveling then and now using different modes of transportation.
  5. On student maps, locate and mark Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Bimini and Melbourne.
  6. Research to identify the types of turtles found in the Dry Tortugas.
  7. Look-up Ponce de León web sites on the Internet.
  8. Assign students to research what kind of clothes the conquistadors wore and the weapons they carried.
  9. Have the students write a short story imagining they were older and drinking from the Fountain of Youth. What happens to them?
  10. Complete and review FCAT questions.

(Note: Actual FCAT practice passages are wrtten at the students' independent reading level. These Florida History selections are written at the students' instructional reading level. Therefore, students should not be asked to complete the questions until after receiving class instruction on the vocabulary and content of the passage. Students should also read the Florida History selection independently before answering the FCAT questions and be permited to return to the selection for rereading as they answer.)

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Exploring Florida: A Social Studies Resource for Students and Teachers
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 2002.