Grades 6-8 ActivitiesEXPLORE GEOGRAPHY & TRADE
• Grades 6-8 Student Worksheet and Answer Key (PDF)
New York State Social Studies StandardsOverview
Performance Indicator 3.1c
Investigate why people and places are located where they are located and what patterns can be perceived in these locations.
Performance Indicator 4.1a
Explain how societies and nations attempt to satisfy their needs and wants by utilizing scarce capital, natural, and human resources.
Students will explore the geography and significance of Silk Road trade, and create a collage map of the region's topography and trade.
Background for Educator
Read the essays "Geography Along The Silk Road" and "Exchange of Goods and Ideas Along The Silk Roads." They explain the geography and economics of the Silk Road network. Both are found in Part I of the China Institute's curriculum, From Silk to Oil: Cross-Cultural Connections Along The Silk Roads.
Before Your Visit
Class Discussion: Silk Road Geography
Print copies of these maps, or have students examine them online. Drawing on this information, discuss how the geography and climate of Central Asia shaped trading routes. Ask students: Between Xi'an and Turfan, and on to Samarkand and Baghdad, what kinds of terrains and climate zones would travelers have encountered?
(Answers may include: The Gobi Desert, the Taklamakan Desert, and the Altai Mountains.)
Plan how your students will explore Traveling the Silk Road. In the exhibition, students will choose one of the four cities to investigate further, using the student worksheets. You might divide the class into four teams before you come to the Museum, or prefer to let them choose on site.During Your Visit
Distribute copies of the student worksheets to students before coming to the Museum.
Traveling the Silk Road Exhibition
3rd floor (30-45 minutes)
Have students explore the exhibition and select one city on which to focus for their student worksheet investigation. Then have students look at the "Explore the Silk Road" interactive table map in the Samarkand section. Explain that back in the classroom, they will create a map of the Silk Road that contains information about its topography, people, trade routes, and artifacts.
Stout Hall of Asian Peoples
2nd floor (15-20 minutes)
In Traveling the Silk Road, students can stamp Passports as they enter each of the four cities. Pick up the Passports at the exhibition entrance.After leaving the Silk Road exhibition, descend the staircase one flight and enter the Stout Hall of Asian Peoples through the door to your left. Begin at the Samarkand exhibit. Refer to the diagram at the bottom of the case to illustrate to students that as you walk through the hall you are tracing a Silk Road voyage from Central Asia to China (west to east). In the China section (yellow walls) have students look for Chinese inventions and other objects and luxury goods that might have been traded over both land and sea routes.
Back in the Classroom
Activity: Create a Silk Road Collage Map
This activity calls for students to discuss and present their observations about the cities, environments, and objects found along the Silk Road. As a class, using the data and drawings from their worksheets, students should collaborate on a map of the Silk Road, listing information such as topography, cities, routes, and objects found in different places. You may wish to use the map provided in the Educator's Guide as a base, in addition to online resources.
Activity: Trading Goods & Resources
"Geography Along The Silk Roads: Oases, Towns, and Caravans" (p. 82) is a game that will help students understand the geography of Central Asia and participate in trading goods and resources along the Silk Road.