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• Triangular trade

• Two (2)-90 minute blocks

• Lesson based on a class of 30 students.

• Virginia SOLs WHII.1b, e, and f and WHII.4e

o WHII.1: The student will improve skills in historical research and geographical

analysis by

b) using maps, globes, artifacts, and pictures to analyze the physical and cultural

landscapes of the world and to interpret the past since 1500 A.D. (C.E.);

e) analyzing trends in human migration and cultural interaction from 1500 A.D.

(C.E.) to the resent;

f) analyzing the impact of economic forces, including taxation, government

spending, trade, resources, and monetary systems, on events from 1500 A.D.


o WHII.4: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the impact of the European

Age of Discovery and expansion into the Americas, Africa, and Asia by

e) mapping and explaining the triangular trade.

Cognitive Objectives

Students will:

• research specific locations involved in the triangular trade in order to understand the trade

on a more local level.

• share their research with group members in order to develop a potential trade route

between three locations.


• collaborate to create a visual representation of the triangular trade using Google Earth in

order to understand the route and interrelationships between the locations involved in the


Materials/Technology and Advanced Preparation


• commodity cards

• computers with Internet access and Google Earth

• digital projector with a screen or whiteboard

Advanced Preparation:

• Copy and cut-up the commodity cards.

• Plan sample points and pictures to use while instructing the students on how to use

Google Earth.

• Post the project requirements on the class website.

Teaching and Learning Sequence

• Introduction/Anticipatory Set

o Teacher will display Google Earth using the digital projector. The focus of the

frame will be the Atlantic Ocean with Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and

America visual.

o Teacher will ask the students what they know about the triangular trade route to

check for prior knowledge. (Topic should have been introduced in U.S. History


! Teacher will ask questions to see if the students know what goods were

traded and where they were exported.


! Teacher will zoom-in or point-out areas on Google Earth as they are


o Teacher will explain that today’s lesson and activity will involve learning about

certain goods exchanged in the triangular trade and some of the specific locations

where these commodities were exported, not just the continents.

• Lesson Development

o Teacher will give a brief lecture on the triangular trade covering the following

topics: Europe, Africa, West Indies (Caribbean), American colonies, the middle

passage, symbiotic relationship, globalization, profit, change in tastes and habits,

and long term effects. Teacher will explain that the triangular trade did not

always follow the same path or invovle the same countries or even continents.

o Teacher will explain that the students are going to work in groups of three to

create a Google Earth tour of a specific triangular trade route.

o Teacher will demonstrate how to create points with pictures and text, draw lines,

create a tour, and add narration in Google Earth while the students practice doing

the same.

o Teacher will display the project details on the screen/board.

o Teacher will walk around the room and allow each student to select a commodity

card from the cup/bag without looking.

! Teacher will instruct the students not to tell anyone what group they


o Teacher will review the assignment details and requirements.


o Students will research their commodities individually and find a specific location

where the commodity was made/traded. Each student will research the location

he/she selected and that location’s involvement in the triangular trade route

through his/her assigned commodity. Example: If a student has “American

colonies exported rice,” then he/she might find Charleston, SC, was a major rice

producer in colonial America and then research Charleston and rice exports in

more depth.

! Students will take notes from their research.

! The specific location can be a small country like those in the Caribbean,

but the student must obtain approval from the teacher prior to using a

country instead of a more specific city or town. Example: The students

cannot use England, because they can use Liverpool, Bristol, London, etc.

! Teacher will walk around the room and assist the students with finding

resources and production/trade locations.

! Teacher will advise the students not to concentrate on specific people and

their contributions but more on the larger activities over the centuries of

the transatlantic trade.

! If the student receives Africa exporting slaves, then he/she must research a

brief description of the Middle Passage as well.

o After each student has found a location and conducted some research, the students

will find the other two members of their group based on the numbers on their

commodity cards.

! Students will discuss their research with their groups and how their

commodities and locations interrelate. Did their individual research

mention either of the other two commodities?

! Students will decide on the triangular path for their group with a

beginning, middle, and end.

o Each group will create one Google Earth tour with the three researched locations

as stopping points on the tour, making a triangular trade route.

! Each stopping point must contain at least two pictures and a brief

description of the location’s involvement in the triangular trade with the

assigned commodity.

! Students will work together in their groups to write a script of their tour.

The script should contain similar information to the text at each point but

in more detail.

! Students will record their scripts and tours, and each group will email one

complete project to the teacher.

• The narration can be one group member or more than one.

! Teacher will walk around the classroom to keep the students on task,

answer questions, and make sure the students are including correct

information in their tours.

o Students will have two class blocks to complete this project.

• Closure

o At the end of the first class block, the teacher will tell the students to complete

any additional research for homework so they can work on creating their Google

Earth tours during the next class.

o As groups complete their tours at the end of the second class block, the groups

will share their tours with the other groups. Students will have a chance to learn

about other potential triangular trade routes in order to reinforce their learning.

! Students can also email their files to each other for later viewing.


After the first class block, the students must complete their research as homework.


• Formative: Teacher will ask questions during the lecture to check for understanding and

walk around the room during all steps of the group work to answer questions and make

sure the students are including correct information in their tours.

• Summative: The triangular trade and the relationship between the locations will be on the

unit test. Each group will be graded as a whole on their tour based on the following

evaluation criteria:

o 10%: order of the tour and the narration makes sense

o 35%: narration and text show evidence of accurate research

o 20%: pictures match the locations, text, and narration

o 30%: evidence of an understanding of the interrelationship among the three


o 5%: tour runs smoothly and matches the students’ experience level with Google



The African slave trade and the middle passage. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Breaking the silence: Learning about the transatlantic slaved trade. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Davis, P. (2006, March 12). Buying and selling the human species: Newport and the slave trade.
The Providence Journal. Retrieved from

Davis, P. (2010, November 8). Project will preserve slave-trading fort in Sierra Leone. The
Providence Journal. Retrieved from

The history of slavery in Martinique. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.esclavage-

Opala, J. (n.d.). The fortress at Bunce Island. Retrieved from

Plantations. (n.d.) Retrieved from


West, J. M. (n.d.). Sugar and slavery: Molasses to rum to slaves. Retrieved from

Wilson, E. S. (2010). Transatlantic trade, a symbiotic relationship. History Now, 25. Retrieved

Appended Materials

• Commodity cards

• Example of a potential Google Earth project