The topic of exploration has always fascinated me. The idea of experiencing the unknown kind of makes my toes tingle in the same way that being in high places does. Just think about it. An explorer takes all kinds of risks! An explorer needs to be resourceful, brave, prepared, and maybe even a little bit crazy. It must be hard to be prepared when you’re not sure what you’re getting into or what you’ll find. A successful explorer no doubt needs to be able to think on his or her feet, meaning he or she must be able to solve problems. A successful explorer won’t be the kind of person who gets stuck on an escalator and then stands there yelling for help!
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t.”
– Henry Ford
We are all explorers of sorts. We might not all be climbing mountains, flying off into space, or digging up dinosaurs. Many of us are exploring our own abilities. I remember that when my son was taking karate classes, I decided to give it a try myself. I was exploring karate and myself at the same time. I learned about the self defense aspect and the discipline required to focus on the various forms. I learned that I became very nervous each time I tested for a new belt. I learned that I loved the feeling of passing the test and earning the next rank. I made it all the way to brown belt! I’m still proud of that accomplishment. I’ve always tried to find new things to learn and new goals to accomplish. Last year I ran a 7k race and came in third in my division! Running wasn’t anything I ever did. But I became determined to set myself a running goal. My first goal was to run a 5k. Once I accomplished that, I raised my goal and ran a 7k. I can’t even clearly explain how amazing I felt when I crossed the finish line.
Thinking of my own experience with learning and trying new things, I can only imagine the emotions that an explorer feels. There must be moments of uncertainty, fear, and discouragement. There are so many things that could go wrong! An explorer must have a drive to keep going and not give up.
“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.”
– Chinese Proverbs
And if the feeling of accomplishment that an explorer feels is anything like the feeling of accomplishment each of us feels when we succeed at something that was not easy to complete, then I understand why there is still exploration in the world. As I see it, the difference between an explorer and someone like myself is the level of risk and the level of commitment. I explore new skills and new learning, but I don’t take myself to remote areas of the earth for months at a time or put myself in dangerous situations in order to accomplish my goals.
Each student in the class is currently researching an explorer. What are each of you finding out about what it takes to explore the unknown? What kind of person was (or is) your explorer? Do you think that today’s explorers are different from the explorers that left Europe in the 1500’s? Are the reasons for exploring today different than the reasons for exploring back then?
An Assignment for my Students:
A few days ago I read aloud an article about an explorer named John Goddard. He is a remarkable man. When he was 15 years old, he made a list of things he wanted to accomplish in his lifetime. Click on this link (John Goddard ) and watch the video there. The video was made in either 1998 or 1999, but it is worthwhile. Then click on John Goddard’s list of goals. As you are glancing through the list, think of a connection between your explorer and John Goddard. Then make a comment to this post. Explain your connection and tell a bit about your explorer. Please keep in mind the comment guidelines and our new goal of a 3-4 sentence minimum.
My grandpa was in World War 2 too. Were any of your family members in the Vietnam War? I think my great great grandpa was in the Vietnam War. Do you like learning about wars? I love learning about wars.
My explorer, Sue Hendrickson, is like John Goddard because they are both very outgoing. They both accomplished a lot of things. You couln’t stop them from doing what they wanted to try. I think that they would make a perfect team.
John Goddard went on a church mission, and so did Brigham Young. Now you know.
James Cook travelled to the Red Sea to capture an unknown pirate who stabbed James Cook in the chest and killed him.
When or if John Goddard climbs Mt. Everest, he should have a lot of first aid kits. He should have a lot of partners too. He should also try to climb The Andies. I wish we had all our explorers on the web.
My explorer is Ernest Shackleton. He sailed around the world on a boat. John Goddard wanted to sail around the world like Ernest Shackleton did.
John Goddard had a lot of goals! My explorer, John Glenn, had some of John Goddard’s goals. John Glenn wanted to fly a plane, and visit many countries in the world. My explorer wanted to accomplish many things in his life, and he did! Look at how famous John Goddard got. Same thing with our explorers. Amazing! -Tyler
I agree, Saphire. This is a good learning project too! John Goddard did a lot of cool stuff. My explorer got around in a boat, and so did John Goddard.
On John Goddard’s bucket list, one of the things he wanted to do, and he did,was go to the Eiffel Tower. When I am thirteen, I get to go anywhere in the world. I am thinking of going to Paris.
I would LOVE to be an explorer. Does anyone else want to be a explorer? I want to do every thing John Goddard did and wants to do in his life.
It would be so cool to actually meet John Goddard. I wonder what he would be like? I did make a connection to John Goddard and my explorer (Amerigo Vespucci). It said on John Goddard’s list that he visited the Amazon River, and Amerigo sailed to the mouth of the Amazon River.
I would love do some of the things John Goddard did. It really is amazing that he accomplished almost all of the 127 things he wanted to do in his life time. I would love to jump 5 ft. high like he did. I would always get to tip the ball in basketball if I could do that. 🙂
I would really like to go to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower. I also have a connection with going to Paris. Well, I didn’t go to Paris, Ian did. He went on the Eiffel Tower because that was on his bucket list. He was scared to death going up there. John Goddard got to see the Eiffel Tower too, I think.
I also loved this project. It was fun to find out about people who died so long ago. It seemed like it would be a bit scary at times, but it would be cool to explore. I would love to be an expert frontiersman like William Clark.
That is a cool link. I saw his list, and I would like to climb Mt. Everest. He is pretty awesome.
I really enjoyed John Goddard’s list. He has done some amazing things. I made a connection with my explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, because they have both visited the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island. Do you think we could have more time to work on the lists that we started?
My explorer is Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr. He was the first to fly from the North Pole to the South Pole. He also was in World War 1 and World War 2. As I said already, so was my great grandpa, Neil. I love this project so much.
I think it is really fun. I got stuck on looking for information about Louis Joliet, but I liked it.
I wouldn’t want to be as close to death as he was either, Fritz. I would be scared to death (haha!). Now nobody would want that, right? So it would be cool to do the things Sally Ride or John Goddard did (but it would be really scary to be bit by a Diamond Back rattle snake!!!!) -Saphire:)
Ya, but it might be fun to milk a snake. I did not know you could. Did anyone know that? I never want to die.
Do you? Sally Ride might be like John Goddard because they both did a lot of new stuff.
It would be really cool to do a report about John Goddard because he seems so cool and fun. The list would be a cool part of a story. I am not sure if John is like Sally Ride, but they both are fun to study. It might be really cool to be him and do what he did, but I would not want to be that close to death like he was.
Me too! I would like to do some of the things that he did, like go to the Fiji Islands. One of the things I don`t want to do is get bit by a Diamondback Rattlesnake. That would not be one of my favorites to do on my list. I would also like to travel up and down the Nile river.
I think it would be really cool thing to add because everybody could wonder…. ” Did they know each other?”…….. because nobody knows, not even his son.
I think that they have a lot in common, but I have a question for you. Do you think that at the end of my report, I could write a little note about that connection? -Saphire:)
I think that would be a great idea, Saphire! I look forward to reading your report and to finding out more about how Richard Byrd and John Goddard have a connection.
Saphire, that’s a great connection. I bet it helps you see Richard Byrd as a real person. Does your explorer have any connection to anything John Goddard has done? Take another look at the list of things Mr. Goddard did. Great comment!
This project is really fun. I like it because it is kind of a good connection thing. My explorer, Richard Evelyn Byrd, was in World War 2. So was my great grandpa, Neil. See? A good connecting project!