Columbus Day Newspaper Activities

Here are some Columbus Day activities from KRP’s “The Ultimate Holiday Activity Guide”.

Christopher Columbus is one of the most famous names in history. When he voyaged across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, his discoveries changed the world forever.  In honor of Columbus’ landfall in the “New World” on Oct. 12, 1492, Americans celebrate the second Monday in October as Columbus Day. It was first celebrated in 1792 but didn’t become a legal federal holiday until 1971.

•Have students assume the role of a reporter at the site of Columbus’ famous landing on the island of San Salvador. Have them write a short story about the landing and Columbus’ first meeting with the natives using the five W’s of newspaper writing: who, what, when, where, and why.

•When Columbus lived during the 15th century, people had no way of knowing about other countries and the people who lived there. They waited for months to hear about Columbus’ voyage. Today, of course, newspapers and other media keep us up to date about what’s happening in the world. A dateline, which appears at the beginning of a news story, tells us where a story comes from. Have students look in today’s newspaper for stories from countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and other faraway lands. Allow them to share one story with the class.

•Was Columbus a hero or a villain? That’s the subject of much debate, even today. He was a brave and able seaman whose discoveries led to the world we know. But his treatment of the Native Americans he encountered along the way has been criticized. Allow discussion on this topic, as well as additional research. Then have the students write a newspaper editorial titled:  Columbus: Hero or Villain.

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