Henry Hudson Lesson Plans

There are so many wonderful directions you can go with a study on Henry Hudson!  Our top recommendations are to study his life, his voyages, maritime history, boat building, or explorers.  Here are a few ideas to get you started in those areas!

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For All Ages

Prevent Scurvy!

Scurvy was a diseased caused by a Vitamin C deficiency that killed many sailors until the 18th century when Captain James Cook managed to prevent it almost completely on all three of his expeditions by procuring fresh food at his stops.  He also had his crew members eat sauerkraut every day.  Your kids may not want to eat sauerkraut, but they would love to snack on fresh oranges and other fruits while they learn about Henry Hudson! 

Make Hardtack

Ship's crew members were given rations of hardtack, a dry biscuit-like bread that kept almost indefinitely.  Make your own hardtack and learn more about it at Skilled Survival's website.  And why not eat it with some orange marmalade jam to help prevent scurvy!

Sing a Sailing Song

Sailors passed the time on board ships by singing sea shanties. Learn one of these old time sailing songs:

Learn Nautical Terms

Use our free download of 12 vocabulary terms and their definitions to create a memory or matching game to help you learn nautical terms and their meanings.






    Henry Hudson by Kristen Petrie
    Young readers can chart a course for adventure when they read about the journeys of famous explorers in this series that includes timelines, maps, colorful images, and discussion questions to promote further reading.

    Trailblazers: Poems of Exploration by Bobbi Katz
    From the Vikings to Lewis and Clark to Sally Ride, discover the spirit of exploration in sixty-two fascinating, vibrant, moving poems.




    Henry Hudson: Seeking the Northwest Passage (In the Footsteps of Explorers) by Carrie Gleason
    This fascinating new book describes Hudson's exciting voyages and the many hardships he encountered, from becoming frozen in ice to the eventual mutiny of his crew. Its features include: map of Hudson's routes; the Muscovy Company; the customs and cultures of the Penebscot, Lenape, and Mahican tribes; the ships and their cargo; the duties and pastimes of the crew while at sea; early navigational equipment; Hudson's discoveries of Hudson's Bay, Greenland, and the Hudson River; the Hudson's Bay Company and the fur trade; a recipe from the period; and how England benefited from Hudson's expeditions.

    Beyond the Sea of Ice: The Voyages of Henry Hudson (Great Explorers) by Joan Goodman
    Beyond the Sea of Ice is the story of Henry Hudson's four harrowing voyages of discovery. Bringing the skills of an experienced novelist, Goodman creates an epic narrative of Henry Hudson's passionate quest. Fernando Rangel's paintings capture the icy beauty of the North Atlantic, the lushness of the new world and the cruelty and death that accompanied a doomed voyage of discovery.

    Hudson by Janice Weaver
    Whatever his personal shortcomings, to sail through dangerous, ice-filled waters with only a small crew in a rickety old boat, he must have been someone of rare courage and vision. In Hudson, Janice Weaver has created a compelling portrait of a man who should be remembered not for his tragic end, but for the way he advanced our understanding of the world.

    Henry Hudson: Explorer of the Hudson River and Bay (Spotlight on Explorers and Colonization) by Henrietta Toth
    The river in New York State and the Canadian bay both bear Henry Hudson's name. During the 16th century, this English mariner sailed one important voyage after another. This guide covers his quest for the Northwest Passage, his time in the Arctic, his voyage down the East Coast of North America into present-day New York, and his exploration of Canada's Hudson Bay.

    Lives of the Explorers: Discoveries, Disasters (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull
    With plenty of maps and juicy tidbits about everything from favorite foods to first loves, Lives of the Explorers takes readers on a journey across oceans, continents, and beyond, celebrating the wanderlust that has shaped our understanding of the globe.


    Middle School


    Henry Hudson: Discoverer of the Hudson River (Great Explorers of the World) by Jeff Young
    Examines the life of explorer Henry Hudson, including his quest for the elusive Northeast passage, his discovery of the Hudson River, and his mysterious death.

      Windcatcher by Avi
      Tony can hardly believe it. He's sailing with the wind, maneuvering through the narrow channels between the offshore islands with amazing skill. And he'sjust learned to sail! But suddenly Tony is confused. Which way had he come? Which way is he headed? And who are the mysterious couple with the high powered motor boat who are to busy searching beneath the water to answer his call for help?


      • Using maps of Hudson's voyages, see if you can come up with a rough calculation of how many miles he traveled during each of his voyages.

      • Use Google Earth to trace one of Hudson's voyages...explore the Hudson River,, enter the Hudson Bay through the Hudson Strait, or see if you can find a passageway through the Arctic to China!

      • Design and label your own compass rose.

      High School


      Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage that Redrew the Map of the New World by Douglas Hunter
      Half Moon offers a rich narrative of adventure and exploration, filled with international intrigue, backstage business drama, and Hudson's own unstoppable urge to discover. This brisk tale re-creates the espionage, economics, and politics that drove men to the edge of the known world and beyond.

      Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson by Peter C. Mancall
      The English explorer Henry Hudson devoted his life to the search for a water route through America, becoming the first European to navigate the Hudson River in the process. In Fatal Journey, acclaimed historian and biographer Peter C. Mancall narrates Hudson's final expedition.


      Read Robert Juet's Journal recording Hudson's 3rd voyage

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