Medieval Maps and Monsters

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Grade Levels: 3-5

Time Allotment: 50 to 60 minutes

Maine Social Studies Standards: C1, D1, E1

This lesson uses maps made during the Middle Ages and Renaissance to show the sea monsters and monstrous peoples that explorers expected to find in distant parts of the earth. The presentation is followed by the Sea Monster Handbook, an activity booklet featuring an image search and space for students to create their own sea monsters. An additional activity, The Dangers of Exploration, uses a historic map of the known world as the base for a maze in which students must find a path to the Far East while avoiding entities that seafarers during the Middle Ages feared.

Click on the links below to download resources:


DownloadItem Files

This folder contains images of all items used in this lesson. To view the available items in zoomify, click on the links below:

7335 Image  238 Image  236 Image  262 Image  7348 Image


DownloadPresentation Files

This folder contains a powerpoint (.ppt) file of the completed presentation, as well as a suggested script in both .pdf and .doc formats.

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PPT Presentation

PDF Suggested Script w/ Images

DOC Editable Script


DownloadActivity Files

This folder contains a .pdf file of the activity accompanying this lesson and any necessary documents and answer keys.

Trouble Downloading?  Click on the thumbnails below to try downloading each file individually:

PDF Sea Monsters Handbook

PDF Answer Sheet

PDF Dangers of Sea Exploration Game-board

PDF Dangers of Sea Exploration Game-cards

PDF Dangers of Exploration Maze

PDF Finished Maze


Suggested Reading

Harwood, Jeremy. To the Ends of the Earth. 2007.

Van Duzar, Chet. Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. 2013.

Explore Other Lessons

Intro to Maps  Travel and Transportation  Maps of Portland  Travel and Tourism  Medieval Maps  Maine State History

Projections and Globemaking  Cartography & the Renaissance  Colonization of New England  Colonial South America  Colonial Worldview  Grim Side of Thematic Mapping

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