The Columbian Exchange

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What did you have for dinner last night? Many scholars ask that question without considering the history behind the foods they eat. Using a simulation, scholars investigate how the foods they eat are the product of the Columbian Exchange. The simulation activity shows how both crops and diseases spread through the Columbian Exchange using trading cards. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Ask pupils to examine the Aztecs as a case study of the effects of the Columbian Exchange
  • Extend the simulation by engaging in a discussion that evaluates the uneven Columbian Exchange
Classroom Considerations

  • 20th installment of 23 Middle School World History lessons from the Council for Economic Education
Pros

  • Simulation is engaging and collaborative
  • Supplemental reading materials are age appropriate and adaptable to a variety of in-class activities
Cons

  • Background readings take a neutral approach to the enslavement of Africans, interchanging slave with worker
Common Core