To begin my hands-on American History class at my homeschool co-op, I decided to introduce the world explorers by playing our Guess Who?-inspired game: Guess the World Explorer! Not all of the kids knew details about the various world explorers, so we revisited the information cards to learn as we played.

Setting up the World Explorers Game

I cut out the twenty world explorers cards and I print the cards with tabs, which will go on the board. I use a cardboard side from a diaper box as some boards. I use the cereal box cardboard for some others.

Using the process of elimination and asking Yes/No questions about what your partner's explorer did and where he explored, can you figure out the identity of the explorer before your partner figures out who you are? Fun game for reviewing 20 different explorers.

Here are the 20 world explorers included in the set:

  • Leif Erikson
  • Marco Polo
  • Bartolomeu Dias
  • Christopher Columbus
  • John Cabot
  • Amerigo Vespucci
  • Vasco Nuñez de Balboa
  • Ferdinand Magellan
  • Juan de Ponce de León
  • Hernando de Soto
  • Francisco Coronado
  • Jacques Cartier
  • Giovanni de Verrazzano
  • Robert de La Salle
  • Henry Hudson
  • Francisco Pizarro
  • Samuel de Champlain
  • Hernando de Cortez
  • Vasco de Gama
  • James Cook

When my son was younger, we kept it more simple. We just used 12 of the explorers, focusing on new world explorers since we were doing American history. In my co-op class, a few of the kids used the simplified boards. The rest of us (and my son, who is older now) played with the larger boards.

I also cut out the world explorer cards with a tab at the bottom. I bent back the tab to prop up the images. I only attached the bottom tab of those cards on to the board, painting over the board with ModPodge to make sure those tabs all adhered well. It took a day for all that ModPodge to dry.

Playing the World Explorers Game

Let me walk you through a sample game, using the simplified board. I have twelve explorers to prop up on our game board.

explorer game2


I got my card. Don’t tell my son who I am!

We ask yes or no questions to eliminate options. I know Raisin has an Italian. Now I just need to eliminate two more explorers to find out which he is! When I eliminate a person, I push the card down on to the board so I cannot see the world explorer’s face anymore.

explorer game3

Raisin has been asking me quite specific questions, so he has not limited down the possibilities very much yet. I try to prompt him to ask more general questions. Some great questions would be these:

  • Did your explorer travel by land? or Did your explorer travel by sea?
  • Did your explorer seek a Northwest Passage? or Did your explorer seek for gold?
  • Did your explorer ever see Asia? or Did your explorer ever see North America?
  • Did your explorer stay in North America?
  • Is your explorer Spanish? or Is your explorer Portuguese?

Oooo! I’ve got it!

explorer game4

And I my guess was right! Raisin shows me his Amerigo Vespucci card. Then he finds me (Francisco Coronado) on his board. He begs to play again. I am happy to oblige. Who will I be next time?

Get the Updated World Explorer Game

Guess the explorers COVER

Guess the Explorer! makes learning and reviewing the world explorers a lot of fun.  Included with the game cards and set up instructions is a set of pages describing the explorers, to be used as learning or review posters. There’s also a blank page for students to research a world explorer of their choice.

The Guess the Explorer info pages and game is available at my Shop as well as at Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher’s Notebook.

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