Why Trade? The Positive and Negative Effects of Trade

Author: Sara Patricia Chavarria

Time: 1.5 – 2 class periods
Prepare Overhead 1
Prepare Overhead 2
Materials: Overhead 1 (Note-taking hints)
Overhead 2 (Trade & Trading Word Bank)


In this Explore lesson, students further dissect the issue of trade and trading. Students will explore what social, political, and economic factors constitute reasons for trade and which of these reasons can have positive versus negative consequences.

Students will be able to:
i. Compose notes using trade related terms.
ii. Distinguish between negative and positive effects of trade through small group discussions.
iii. Generate class list of negative and positive effects of trade with supporting materials/facts as examples.

National Council for History in the Schools:
Historical Thinking Standards

  • Standard 3E: Analyze cause-and-effect relationships and multiple causations.
  • Standard 3J: Hypothesize the influence of the past.
  • Standard 4A: Formulate historical questions.
  • Standard 5A: Identify issues and problems in the past.

World History Standards

  • World History across the Eras, Standard 1: Long-term changes and recurring patterns in world history.


1. Put students into groups of 3 or 4.

2. Display overhead 1 (templates for notes).

3. Have students take out three sheets of paper to be prepared as seen on Overhead 1. (5 minutes)

4. When done, display Overhead 2 (Trading and Trade Word Bank)

5. Go over the list with the class to make sure that all terms are understood. (5 minutes)

6. Give students the following note-taking instructions:

a. They are to choose 4 to 5 words from the list for each sheet that they feel represents a positive benefit, a negative benefit, or shared positive/negative benefits.
b. Each word is to be discussed among the group and notes supporting their choices are to be recorded on their note-sheets. Examples illustrating their decisions are necessary.
c. This should take 15-20 minutes

7. When the time is up the class will then create a separate joint list for their individual notes on blank overhead notes. The teacher can take the notes.

8. On a sheet of paper, students will volunteer (each group should volunteer at least once) their opinion on a word while the teacher takes notes on overhead sheets. (50 minutes max)

9. Begin by starting with Positive Benefits. When a group representative is done ask the class if they have additional supporting notes for that word. As a word is called out, mark it on Overhead 2.

10. When done with Positive Benefits, go to Negative Benefits. Repeat the process.

11. Finally repeat the process for items that can have both positive AND negative benefits.

12. If there were any words that appeared in both the Positive Benefits list and the Negative Benefits list, they need to be moved to the Positive/Negative category.

13. Finally, if there were any words that were not used address them in class and generate class notes for those words.

14. Students can then use these class notes to write a paragraph response for the reasons for trade.


Embedded Assessment
Students’ notes can be assessed for depth of explanation. The generated class list of trade effects can also be assessed as well as student participation in class discussion and list formulation.

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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