Globe Makers: Science and the Great Age of Exploration

National Curriculum Science Area: History and Science

Key Stage: 3 and 4

Length of session: 1–2 hours

Maximum group size: 25–50 students

This session introduces students to the invention and history of the terrestrial globe as a scientific instrument, and how it inspired the Great Age of Exploration.

Students will discover how the most famous cosmographer of the 16th century, Gerard Mercator, created the most accurate maps of the time using scientific methods.

They will discover the original method of globe-making, and make a model of a terrestrial or celestial globe.

Students will gain insight into the development of new scientific concepts from a historical perspective and how science works.

This session can be linked with a session at the University Museum of Natural History, the Pitt Rivers Museum, or the Ashmolean.



The Renaissance Globe Project provides additional resources for exploring globes in the collection, instructions on how to make a model globe, and a video about one of the oldest printed celestial globes.