As the poem goes, in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Now, 525 years later, students are still learning the story of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas.

On Monday, second graders at Paddock Lane Elementary in Beatrice spent part of the morning reading books, watching videos and coloring ships in honor of the man who discovered a path to the “New World.”

Of course, Columbus was looking for a route from Europe to Asia, wound up in the Bahamas and declared it to be Indonesia. But still, he came across what would appear to Europeans to be a brand new world, filled with unique spices, plants, animals and people—who Columbus declared “Indians”—in the western hemisphere.

Students in Connie Leech’s second grade class at Paddock Lane sat on the floor as Leech read them a storybook about Columbus’ voyage. The son of a wool merchant, Columbus developed a love of the sea when he was a teenager and developed a theory that traveling west to Asia would be faster than traveling down the length of Africa and around the treacherous Cape of Good Hope.

Columbus, and most Europeans at the time, knew that the earth was round, and were looking for easier ways to reach Asia.

Leech explained that Columbus went to the queen and king of Spain and was able to convince them that his theory was sound. He set sale on the vessels the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria and arrived in the Bahamas on Oct. 12, 1492.

In Kristin Hoffman’s class, second graders answered questions on papers shaped like Columbus’ three ships. It was a lot of work, according to second grader Tayvin Shumate.

“’Who was Christopher Columbus’,” Tayvin read off the paper, sighing at the work that lay ahead of him. “And then we've got a whole other book to do.”

Kadence Clark worked on her boat papers at the same table as Tayvin and they tried to work out exactly what Columbus would need on his journey.

“They started with three ships," Kadence said.

One table over, McKinley Cooper, Maya Mierau and Ryan Moppin excitedly recounted what they had learned on Monday.

“He sailed in a boat,” McKinley said.

“To America,” Mya added.

“And they met Americans,” Ryan said.


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