Geography KS2 & KS3: Expedition to Guyana - navigating an ocean journey

In 1595, Elizabethan explorer Sir Walter Raleigh set sail for South America, hoping to discover El Dorado, the legendary city of gold.

The epic voyage took nearly two months.

Now the Serious Explorers, a team of children from the UK, are following in the footsteps of Sir Walter Raleigh to find out about the challenges he faced, and the amazing landscapes he discovered.

The children learn that four hundred years ago, navigating across the oceans took great skill using special tools like an astrolabe.

For the Serious Explorers, using the latest satellite navigation tools makes navigation easier.

Life on board a ship in Raleigh's day was hard and dangerous.

The sailors spent many weeks at sea, lived in incredibly cramped conditions and risked dying from diseases such as scurvy.

The Serious Explorers spent just four days at sea but spotting land is a welcome sight for them too.

This clip is from the series Seriously Raleigh.

Teacher Notes

Before watching the clip, children could be shown images of ships from the 16th century.

They could be asked to compare and contrast the difference between ships, from Sir Walter Raleigh’s time to ships of the present.

They could think of the dangers and hazards that the crew of the ships from hundreds of years ago may have faced.

Children could look at the route that Sir Walter Raleigh travelled and then plan a modern day expedition.

They could decide on how they would get there, taking into account the mode of transport.

The children could then compare and contrast the comfort of the journey in addition to the time taken to complete it.

They could create a modern day explorer’s pack of equipment and then compare this to the equipment that was available to Sir Walter Raleigh.

As a Literacy link, the children could write a diary entry, describing what it was like to be part of the voyage in the 16th century.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is suitable for teaching Geography at KS2 and KS3 Level in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and at 2nd and 3rd Level in Scotland.

More from Seriously Raleigh:

Expedition safety
Expedition to Guyana - endangered animals in the rainforest
Expedition to Guyana - exploring Mount Roraima
Expedition to Guyana - life in the rainforest
Expedition to Guyana - Mount Roraima (no narration)
Expedition to Guyana - planning an expedition
Expedition to Guyana - recreating Sir Walter Raleigh's search for El Dorado
Expedition to Guyana - rivers and waterfalls (no narration)
Expedition to Guyana - spending a night in the rainforest
Expedition to Guyana - the Makushi tribespeople
Expedition to Guyana - transportation for local tribespeople