Students love to hear about Cook's adventures and discoveries and also his untimely death. Captain James Cook has gone down in history as one of the greatest explorers who ever lived and for navigating and mapping more places than anyone else during his time. Here you will find helpful teaching ideas, background information and links to relevant sites to help you explore Captain Cook with your class.
His first trip in 1768 as Captain of the ship Endeavour was to Tahiti in the South Pacific to measure the distance of the earth from the sun by observing the movement of the planet Venus. While on this voyage he also explored the Society Islands, New Zealand and Australia of which he drew very detailed and accurate maps. He found Australia to be most interesting as there he discovered many new kinds of plants and animals
His second trip began in 1772 with two ships, Adventure and Resolution, His aim was to find out if there was a Southern continent in that region. He never found this continent, but during his expedition discovered South Georgia Island and the South Sandwich Islands, along with other places.
On his third trip in 1776, Captain Cook went in search of a passage that many believed joined the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. His ships were Resolution and Discovery. He sailed halfway around the world he did not find the passage. He eventually ended up discovering Hawaii and its islands where he and his men became the first Europeans to set foot there.
Captain Cook met an unfortunate death in 1779 when a quarrel turned deadly after Captain Cook tried to take the Hawaiian leader captive and the people came to his defense. They killed the Cook before he could get back to his ship.
Australian Curriculum Links:
Year 4 HASS curriculum content descriptor requires that students investigate the journey(s) "of AT LEAST ONE world navigator, explorer or trader up to the late eighteenth century, including their contacts with other societies and any impacts ACHASSK084" Captain Cook is an ideal topic to meet the curriculum while keeping students engaged with his interesting experiences and adventures.
Lesson Hook Ideas
Setting the scene is a great way to inspire students and quickly grab their attention. Check out your local op shops and thrift stores to collect items that might look like they belong on a ship.
Dress ups can also be a great fun way to engage students and let them get in to character while they explore Captain Cook and his story.
Present your students with 'what if' scenarios to discuss what Australia might look like if Captain Cook hadn't discovered Australia. We have a free set of 'what if' scenarios in our Introduction to Austalian Explorers pack which you can get here.
Resource Round Up
We've put together some links to places, videos and sites that might help you with your exploration of Captain James Cook.
If you're looking for something to make your life easier and ease your workload. We have created a great range of teaching resources dedicated to Captain cook that can be incorporated in to your Geography, Maths and English lessons. They are available to purchase separately or can be bought as a bundle saving your 30%.