on the number of students in your class, divide the class
into groups of two or three. The lesson contains information
for eleven groups. Each group will be given a copy of
the Trade Routes Matrix II to fill out and will choose
(or be assigned) a location. The eleven locations for
the families are:
Seville or Granada
Each group must look at their city and imagine what the
life of a wealthy family would be like in
the Middle Ages. What foods/spices, clothing/cloth, and
items might a wealthy family buy from traders?
The students must choose an item from each of the three
that come from different places in the world.
will be able to do this by using the list of
from different regions of the medieval world
that was used in the Explore Lesson.
3. Then using the map of medieval world trade routes
and the topographical map of the world (also
from the Explore Lesson), the students will trace the
that each item took while also identifying
two intermediary places that the item would have gone
through in transit.
This is important not just in understanding
how complicated trade routes were or could have been,
but also in seeing
that with each port or stop in a land journey,
would be encountered and possibly picked up
by the traders, the sailors, and/or the members of a
on what the item of trade was, it could have
also picked up a vector of disease, such as fleas in
bolts of cloth.
Finally the students need to identify which port of entry
the traders used when they arrived
of the wealthy family. This should help the
students appreciate just how many opportunities
had to interact with the items of trade a
wealthy family would take into their home and their
As the students trace the routes that the various items
of trade took ask the class
point out whenever
that route had a Mediterranean city as
a port of entry. This will help to highlight
being made in the
social studies lessons.
The activities described above should probably take the
period to complete.
These activities build on the work that
was done in the Explore Lesson. Now students
detail how actual individuals would be
to a variety of diseases present, and
running rampant, in
world. The next two classes are for each
group of students to make a presentation
to the class
as a whole about
the information that they found about
trade and the connections to the spread of infectious
with the students how the pivotal activity of international
trade created life in the medieval world both in terms of the
availability of material goods and how successfully infectious
diseases traveled the globe. These infectious diseases became
a part of everyday reality for people living far from the initial
areas of outbreak. Ask the students to begin to think about
how a scientist and a historian would look at this same aspect
of medieval life- trade- in very different lights.