Where in the world did this come from?

Author: Sara Patricia Chavarria

Time: 6 class periods
Photocopy Handout 1 for each student
Prepare Overhead 1
Materials: Handout 1 (Kit Instructions)
Overhead 1 (Part 2)
Teacher Aide 1: Notes
Shoebox per group
Construction paper/colored paper/index cards
Old Magazines
Computer Room
Library visit
Historical Atlases
Old National Geographic Maps


In this Explain lesson, students will create artifact and information kits for a specific continent or region. They will be assigned a period in time to explain and address the area’s trade and trading technology and products. Students will then be assessed as to how extensive their research analysis is by having them use their own materials to answer questions.

Students will be able to:
i. Research a specific region and its trade history to develop information materials to share with other members of the class.
ii. Creatively represent physical elements of their research using objects, art, drawings, images, and maps to more effectively communicate the diversity of their region or continent.
iii. Successfully answer exploratory questions using their own Kits for information.
iv. Answer questions and provide explanations about their kits during a museum walk.

National Council for History in the Schools:
Historical Thinking Standards

  • Standard 2E: draw upon data in historical maps.
  • Standard 2G: Draw upon visual data, literary, and musical sources.
  • Standard 3C: Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behaviors, and institutions.
  • Standard 3E: Analyze cause-and-effect relationships and multiple causations.
  • Standard 3J: Hypothesize the influence of the past.
  • Standard 4A: Formulate historical questions.
  • Standard 4B: Obtain historical data.
  • Standard 4C: Interrogate historical data.
  • Standard 4D: Identify the gaps in the available records, marshal contextual knowledge and perspectives of the time and place, and construct a sound historical interpretation.
  • Standard 5A: Identify issues and problems in the past.

World History Standards

  • Era 2, Standard 4A: The student understands major trends in Eurasia and Africa from 4000 to 1000 BCE.
  • Era 3, Standard 5A: The student understands major global trends from 1000 BCE to 300 CE. (Identify patterns of social and cultural continuity in various societies and analyze ways in which peoples maintained traditions and resisted external challenges in the context of increasing interregional contacts. [Draw comparisons across eras and regions] )
  • Era 5, Standard 7A: The student understands major global trends from 1000 to 1500 CE.
  • Era 6, Standard 1: How the transoceanic interlinking of all major regions of the world from 1450-1600 led to global transformations
  • Era 6, Standard 4: Economic, political, and cultural interrelations among peoples of Africa, Europe, and the Americas, 1500-1750

Teacher Background



Day One
1. Put students into groups of 4-5. They are each to be given a copy of Handout 1 (Instructions for kits) listing Part 1 of the activity.

2. Go over instructions and make sure they all understand their objectives. They can begin by using text books to begin research as well as discussing among themselves what objects they can bring to class.

3. Assign the continent/region and time period.

a. Europe – 11th to 15th century (late middle ages)
b. Europe – post 15th century
c. Africa – 13th to 16th century
d. China – 11th to 15th century (late middle ages)
e. Americas – post 15th century
f. Middle East – 12th to 14th century

Days Two - Four
4. They will have 1 day of library research time to find information about their region/place.

5. They will have 1 day of computer research time to locate maps for printing if the library searches are unsuccessful.

6. They will have 1 day to decorate their box and finalize information for their kits.

Day Five
7. 25 minutes to finish kits.

8. When done putting kits together, they will be assessed on their ability to use their kits to answer any questions.

9. Students must sit with their groups. Once seated, display Overhead 1 (Part 2)

10. Allow students 20-30 minutes to answer the questions.

Day Six
Part 3 will be a Museum Walk in which the kits will be opened and displayed. Students from each group must take turns standing by their kits explaining their region/continent to visiting guests.

Students can do additional research. Collect objects from home: spices, animal toys, vehicles, building materials (ex. wood, metal, glass), etc. Allow for some creative license.

Embedded Assessment
Student research materials, objects collected, maps designed, and finished assembled kits can be assessed.
Effective communication skills during Museum Walk can be assessed
by the number of successful answers to testing questions posed to the students and the use of their kits to answer them.

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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