As I mentioned at the start of this Explorers unit, my freshman history teacher gave us the assignment of defending whether or not Columbus Day should be a national holiday. Now, my kids aren’t in high school, and won’t be for a few years, but I’m looking forward to giving this Christopher Columbus high school writing assignment to them to see how they’re thinking. It’ll be a fun cross-curricular activity combining history lessons and homeschool writing. Two subjects I enjoy teaching.
A quick side note to give you my view on Christopher Columbus
I think now it’s wildly popular to look at him through 21st-century eyes and see a truly terrible man. But after reading the lessons in our Mystery of History 3 book last year and seeing how it treated Columbus, and from my independent readings of the man, I’d say he started out with a good heart but ended poorly.
We see a man who was definitely ambitious. He knew what he wanted, and he went after it. He kept pursuing his goal even after being refused several times.
But, something must have happened to him between his trips back to the New World. On his return from the first trip he talked of the wonders of the Natives, and how fascinated he was by them. By his second and third trips, he was quite willing to enslave them and take advantage of them. It’s like his greed got the better of him.
He’s one of those tragic figures in history.
Christopher Columbus high school writing assignment
This is going to be your general five paragraph essay at it’s simplest, but it obviously can be made more difficult depending on the writing skill of your student. My high school teachers always set a minimum length for your papers. As a Senior I also had a teacher who set a maximum length, something to do with grading 100 papers x 3 pages each, and no she would not read past 3 pages. I don’t envy the grading required of high school English teachers.
They are also writing a persuasive paper. You are persuading people of your viewpoint.
Was Christopher Columbus a hero or a villain?
For the purposes of this essay, you can only take one side or the other. This is not the place for a nuanced view of him. You are taking the strongest arguments for the side you’ve picked and arguing them.
What you’re looking for in this essay:
- Strong introduction
- At least 3 supports for your argument
- Each support should have examples or supporting details
- Strong conclusion
If you’re like me and love to use rubrics to grade your writing assignments, then I’ve just made your day as here’s a Christopher Columbus high school writing assignment rubric (on the Subscriber page, join my newsletter). Super simple, but I like simple, it doesn’t confuse me.