Today’s class focused on the Columbian Exchange – the exchange of goods, animals, plants and people between the New World and Old World. When the kids arrived I had papers spread out over the table from the Big History Project Columbian Exchange Snap Judgement (Unit 8) activity. Each sheet of paper had one word one it and the kids had to decide if they thought it originated in the New World (Americas) or the Old World (Eurasia/Africa). Some of the items, like llamas, turkeys and cocoa were pretty easy to identify as New World, but many of the students hadn’t heard of rubber trees so they weren’t sure where they were from (New World), and cinnamon (Old World) and vanilla (New World) stumped most of them.
Then the students did another activity , the Columbian Exchange Trade Route Activity by Michele Luck that I bought off Teachers Pay Teachers. It was almost $7 but it saved me a lot of work and I liked that it combined regular history type questions with some geography. Bascially three stations are set up, Americas, Europe and Africa. There are cards at each location showing plants, animals, diseases, etc that originate in that location. The kid have one sheet where they write down a few items for each trade route. They also have a sheet of questions at each station. To help them answer the questions there is a one page article for each location that contains most of the answers. To answer the geography questions they used an atlas or iPads to look up ocean names, etc.
After everybody had done all three stations we watched these two videos on the Columbian Exchange.
Not too much ‘science’ in today’s class but I managed to sneak in some more geography and since we talked about plants and animals taking over an ecosystem, not to mention diseases brought to the New World, I suppose we did some biology/ecology. Next week we move on to Unit 9 of the Big History Project.