Culture and Math Colonial America Teacher s Guide

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1 Teacher s Guide Grade Level: Curriculum Focus: Social Studies Lesson Duration: Three class periods Program Description As the economy of colonial America grew, a basic understanding of business math was required for colonial partnerships to prosper. See what colonists learned from a centuries-old Venetian book in The Treviso Arithmetic: The Rule of Three. As colonists moved from a barter economy to an economy based on currency, they required better math skills when it came to matters of Cargo, Currency, and Co- Ventures. The most tragic aspect of mercantilism was the triangular slave trade that developed between Africa, the West Indies, and the colonies. Slave Ship recounts the horrors of the Middle Passage. Learn about the The Relationship between Money and Weight and attempts to undermine currency. See the fledgling American economy take root in The Dutch Build New Amsterdam. Onscreen Questions How could you use the rule of three in your daily life? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a barter economy? How did the triangular slave trade fuel economic growth in colonial America? Why did the British demand gold bullion for their manufactured goods? When was your hometown founded? What influences from that time period do you see today? Lesson Plan Student Objectives Describe the economic conditions and motivations that led to the creation of the transatlantic slave trade. Map the transatlantic slave trade and identify key points along the trade routes. Analyze the ways in which the transatlantic slave trade affected colonial commerce.

2 Teacher s Guide 2 Materials Culture and Math: video Computer with Internet access (optional) Encyclopedias, history texts, and other reference materials with information about the transatlantic slave trade Blank world maps (can be found at one enlarged copy per student Colored pencils or markers Writing paper Pencils and erasers Procedures 1. Begin the lesson by watching Culture and Math: with your students. After watching the video, discuss the colonial era of commerce and the effects of the transatlantic slave trade. Ask students: What was the transatlantic slave trade? Where did slaves come from? Where were they sold? For what goods were they sold? How did they travel around the globe? Why was the transatlantic slave trade known as the triangular trade? How did the slave trade affect commerce during the colonial era? 2. Tell students that they will conduct their own research on the transatlantic slave trade and trace the major routes of the triangular slave trade on blank world maps. Give each student a blank map to trace at least three major routes to and from Africa. Ask them to pinpoint at least two key points on each route, such as the Middle Passage, and write a two- to three-sentence paragraph describing the significance of each point on the route. Students can use different colored markers or pens to trace their routes and pinpoint specific spots. Each finished map should show at least three distinct routes and two key points on each route with descriptive paragraphs. 3. When students have finished their maps, ask them to write a two- to three-page essay discussing the slave trade and its effects on colonial commerce. Students should think about the following questions when writing their essays: What countries took part in the transatlantic slave trade? How did people become slaves? Where were they sold, and for what goods? What were conditions like for captured slaves? How did the slave trade affect commerce during the colonial era? What percentage of slaves traded were sent to North America? What do you think colonial commerce would have been like without the slave trade? 4. Give students time to work on their maps in class and at home. Students may use Culture and Math: as well as reference books to research the transatlantic slave trade. The following Web sites may prove helpful in student research:

3 Teacher s Guide 3 The Mariners Museum: Captive Passage UNESCO: From Slavery to Freedom URL_ID=27518&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html BBC News: Focus on the Slave Trade 5. When students have finished making their maps and writing their essays, discuss what they have learned about the transatlantic slave trade. Have volunteers share some of the specific details and information they discovered about the slave trade while conducting their research. Assessment Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson. 3 points: Students accurately mapped at least three major routes on the transatlantic slave trade; accurately pinpointed and described at least two key points on each trade route and wrote a short description of each point; wrote interesting, informative essays that clearly described the transatlantic slave trade and its effects on colonial commerce. 2 points: Students accurately mapped two major routes on the transatlantic slave trade; accurately pinpointed and described one key point on the trade route and wrote a short description of this point; wrote somewhat interesting and informative essays that generally described the transatlantic slave trade and its effects on colonial commerce. 1 point: Students accurately mapped one or no major routes on the transatlantic slave trade; accurately pinpointed one or no key points on the trade route and did not describe this point; wrote incomplete or inaccurate essays that did not describe the transatlantic slave trade or its effects on colonial commerce. Vocabulary cargo Definition: The freight carried by a ship, an aircraft, or another vehicle Context: Slave ship captains brought human cargo to market for profit. commerce Definition: The buying and selling of goods, especially on a large scale, as between cities or nations Context: Slave ships were instrumental to the development of commerce in the New World.

4 Teacher s Guide 4 factor Definition: A person who acts for someone else; an agent Context: African or European middlemen who purchased slaves were known as factors. mortality Definition: Death, especially of large numbers Context: Scholars believe that the mortality rate of slaves was not affected by the way a slave ship s cargo was packed. trade Definition: The business of buying and selling commodities Context: Britain s maritime industry made it a key figure in the slave trade. merchant Definition: A person whose occupation is the wholesale purchase and retail sale of goods for profit Context: A merchant bought five units of goods and received a sixth unit for free if one unit did not arrive intact. Academic Standards National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS) The National Center for History in the Schools has developed standards for the teaching of history. To view the standards online, go to This lesson plan addresses the following standards: Era 6: The Emergence of the First Global Age, : How the transatlantic linking of all major regions of the world from 1450 to 1660 led to global transformations; Economic, political, and cultural interrelations among peoples of Africa, Europe, and the Americas, Era 7: An Age of Revolutions, : The transformation of Eurasian societies in an era of global trade and rising European power, The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has developed national standards to provide guidelines for teaching social studies. To view the standards online, go to

5 Teacher s Guide 5 This lesson plan addresses the following thematic standards: Culture Individual Development and Identity Time, Continuity, and Change People, Places, and Environments Global Connections DVD Content This program is available in an interactive DVD format. The following information and activities are specific to the DVD version. How to Use the DVD The DVD starting screen has the following options: Play Video This plays the video from start to finish. There are no programmed stops, except by using a remote control. With a computer, depending on the particular software player, a pause button is included with the other video controls. Video Index Here the video is divided into four parts (see below), indicated by video thumbnail icons. Watching all parts in sequence is similar to watching the video from start to finish. Brief descriptions and total running times are noted for each part. To play a particular segment, press Enter on the remote for TV playback; on a computer, click once to highlight a thumbnail and read the accompanying text description and click again to start the video. Curriculum Units These are specially edited video segments pulled from different sections of the video (see below). These nonlinear segments align with key ideas in the unit of instruction. They include onscreen viewing questions, reproduced in this Teacher s Guide. Total running times for these segments are noted. To play a particular segment, press Enter on the TV remote or click once on the Curriculum Unit title on a computer. Standards Link Selecting this option displays a single screen that lists the national academic standards the video addresses. Teacher Resources This screen gives the technical support number and Web site address. Video Index I. The Treviso Arithmetic: The Rule of Three (7 min.) In 1478, the Treviso Arithmetic was written in Venice as a guide for basic business math. Concepts like the rule of three helped colonial partnerships divide their profits equally and fairly.

6 Teacher s Guide 6 II. Cargo, Currency, and Co-Ventures (8 min.) As colonists moved from a barter economy to an economy based on money, they developed ways to weigh cargo more accurately, exchange money, and calculate interest on loans. This laid the foundation for the economy we enjoy today. III. Slave Ship (6 min.) Ships bearing simple manufactured goods from England and the American colonies were traded for human cargo in Africa. Enslaved Africans were transported over the Middle Passage to the West Indies to be traded for rum and molasses. IV. The Relationship between Money and Weight (5 min.) In Britain, the worth of gold was based on its weight. Before gold coins were produced with standard weight, methods of undermining currency proliferated. V. The Dutch Build New Amsterdam (6 min.) The infrastructure of New York City shows a Dutch influence that can be traced back to 1624, when it was settled by the Dutch West India Company.

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