Culture Clash: Three Views of Columbus

Students will analyze three images of Columbus’s landing in the New World. Using these images and selected textual resources, they will determine how the clash of cultures has been depicted over time . Learners will use Primary Source Analysis Tool, Investigative Questions, and a Venn Diagram to record information.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

The learner will:

  • Analyze three images to determine how Old and New World cultural interaction has been depicted.
  • Read primary source excerpts and interpret information.
  • Consider long-term consequences, both positive and negative, of the culture clash that resulted from European exploration.
Essential and guiding questions: 

What differences in the primary sources reflect the clash of cultures? How did the initial encounters between European explorers and settlers on the one hand and Native American tribes on the other influence future relations between the two groups? 

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

This approach to cultural encounters can be applied to the topic of space exploration. Compare modern astronauts to Columbus. Imagine meetings between humans and other civilizations. How do you think humans will react?

Helpful Hints


  • Computer access or print-outs of primary sources
  • Primary Source Analysis Tool
  • Information Worksheet (see p. 4)
  • Venn Diagram Worksheet