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Session 4: The Columbian Exchange


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Session 4: The Columbian Exchange

  • Textbook and other instructional resources

  • Internet access

  • Colored pencils and/or markers

  • Web sites such as the following:

The Columbian Exchange. http://www.historynow.org/06_2007/historian2.html

The Middle Passage. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p277.html

Instructional Activities

1. Assign a reading on the Columbian Exchange, using a resource such as the Web site listed above.

2. Prompt student discussion with the following questions:

  • What items were exchanged?

  • What impact did colonial rule have on the labor force? (Possible responses: Natives died; slaves were imported.)

  • What impact did colonization have on culture?

3. Instruct students to map the triangular trade pattern that embraced the Atlantic Ocean. On each leg of the triangle, have them list the items traded. Discuss the relationship between “mother country” and “colony.” Based on the information on the map, have students decide what can be determined.

4. Have students explore resources on the Web, such as the Web site listed above, and printed materials to develop a project on the Middle Passage. Allow students sufficient time to read resources extensively. Projects may be electronic such as using presentation software or a Web site, or in a more conventional format, such as creating a poster or report.

5. Put students into groups of four or five, and direct students within each group to present their projects to each other. Small groups can work well for students to ask questions of each other and share discoveries.

6. Evaluate student projects in terms of the following factors:

  • Accurate and complete content, incorporating the following:

Explanation of the triangular trade, including the Middle Passage as a part of the triangular trade

Details of the ordeal, including plight of the slaves from capture to sale in the west

Appropriate illustrations

References to primary sources

  • Effective presentation and good writing skills, including the following:

Attractive format and appearance

Correct mechanics: grammar, spelling, and punctuation

Session 5: Review of Explorers


  • Teacher-made flash cards of the major sixteenth-century explorers (For each explorer, create four cards, each card containing one of the following: name, country for which he sailed, where he went, what he discovered. Make as many sets of four cards as needed so that each student may receive one card.)
Instructional Activities

1. Conduct a review of the explorers, using flash cards. Hand each student one card. Have students find their “matches” and gather together in groups of four to make complete four-card sets.

2. Once all four-card sets are formed, have groups share information about their explorer based on their flash cards.

NOTE: An alternate procedure for this activity is to place a card with each explorer’s name on the board. Then, hand each student a card (with either country, where, or what), and have students place their cards, one at a time, under the appropriate name. Once all cards have been placed, review them with the class to check whether all of them are in the correct places.

Session 6: Assessment

  • Attachment A: Sample Assessment Items

Instructional Activities

1. Distribute copies of Attachment A, and have students complete the assessment.

Attachment A: Sample Assessment Items

An asterisk (*) indicates the correct answer.

1. Which of the following factors contributed to the discovery of lands in the Western Hemisphere?

A Economic competition between European empires*

B Support for the spread of Islam

C Spanish desire for prison colonies

D Asian demand for tobacco

2. Which explorer was from Portugal?

A Jacques Cartier

B Vasco da Gama*

C Hernando Cortez

D Francis Drake

3. European migration to the Americas resulted in

A the demise of the Aztec, Maya, and Inca empires.*

B the establishment of democratic rule in Latin America.

C the diffusion of the American culture back to Europe.

D Asian trading posts along the Americas.

4. The impact of the Columbian Exchange included

A the death of many American Indians from smallpox.*

B the introduction of small farm animals from the Americas to Europe.

C the exchange of products such as porcelain and silk.

D an improvement in the environment in the Caribbean as a result of the plantation system.

5. Ferdinand Magellan explored for

A Portugal.

B Spain.*

C England.

D France.

6. Which explorer received credit for establishing the first permanent colonies in the Americas?

A Cortez

B Pizarro

C Columbus*

D Magellan

7. The second person to circumnavigate the globe was

A Cartier

B da Gama

C Cortez

D Drake*

8. Where were the majority of seventeenth-century African slaves sent in the New World?

A Caribbean Islands*

B Brazil

C Mexico

D Canada

9. The global transfer of plants, animals, disease, and food, between the Eastern and Western hemispheres during the colonization of the Americas is called the

A Middle Passage.

B Columbian Exchange.*

C Triangular Trade.

D Inter-hemisphere Exchange.

10. All of the following were reasons for exploration EXCEPT

A God.

B gold.

C glory.

D grain.*

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