Digital Mysteries: Spanish Exploration and Conquest (History)
By Reflective Thinking
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This is a unique app for 11-14 year olds which allows pairs to work simultaneously on one iPad. Students learn about voyages of exploration to the New World which led eventually to the control by Spain of most of South America.
Pupils are given snippets of illustrated information on the topic. Many of these are about a young, fictional Spaniard called Pablo Abrantes, as well as pieces on the general period of time and motivations/causes of the expeditions. Users move through an easy-to-follow, three stage process – they must first read all the slips, then organise them into groups, then move to the final stage where they lay out the slips in a chain and use sticky tapes and notes to help make sense of everything. Once done, they must answer the main question, “Why did young Spaniards like Pablo Abrantes join voyages of exploration to the New World, which led eventually to the control by Spain of most of South America?”
This resource is intended to help students investigate the conquest of the South American continent by Spain, and does so by considering the experience of a Spanish sailor. Once the ‘narrative’ of the young man’s journey has been established, this focus could help students to imagine the various reasons why someone could be attracted to such a risky venture. This can then be used as a backdrop to the wider issue of the actions and intentions of the European nations and rulers as a whole.
As well as the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors which motivated the Spanish to explore, it is hoped that the students will reflect upon the ways that the conquered peoples came to embrace the settlers, and whether or not they could be deemed to have been complicit in their own fate.
When students have completed the mystery session, they type in their answer then have two options – they can either print or share a colourful PDF of the session with screenshots or even go through the Reflection Stage, which allows them to play back their activity and discuss it with each other/their teacher.
To help suit the task to different levels of knowledge and abilities, there are three difficulty levels to pick from. On easy level, students are given 20 slips of information, on medium, 26, and on hard, 28. As students move through the stages, they are also given different hints (if needed) depending on what difficulty level they are on.
These events provide an important ‘backdrop’ for studies into the various power struggles and political and religious tensions that characterise European History throughout the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. The social, racial and religious factors are also interesting, and the more able students may be able to relate these to other historical scenarios, and perhaps to more contemporary issues and areas for discussion.
Teachers also have the option of asking students additional questions. These are suggested in the description area of the app and are different for each difficulty level set. Examples are:
- Why was the New World a desirable place to emigrate to, for Pablo and the many Spaniards?
- What military advantages did the Spanish explorers have over the native people?
- What were the main factors which pushed young adventurers such as Pablo to travel to South America?
Some suggested learning goals for the app include:
- Discuss reasons why someone like main character, Pablo, would be attracted to this venture
- Explore the wider issues of actions/intentions of European nations and rulers as a whole
How can I try other mysteries?
At the bottom of the app details tab, tap ‘Developer Apps’ to view our current range. At the moment, there are apps for various subjects including computing, geography, history, mathematics, citizenship and Shakespeare plays Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth’s Influences. Many more are coming soon (see www.reflectivethinking.com/mysteries for future tasks - contact us to request a specific mystery).
What's New in Version 3.5
Minor bug fixes
- Category: Education
- Updated: 27 July 2015
- Version: 3.5
- Size: 17.4 MB
- Language: English
- Developer: Modular Software Ltd
- © 2015 Reflective Thinking
Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.