Silk Road

Students learned all about the Silk Road by participating in a simulation in which they role-played and interacted with one another.
To build their background knowledge, students first played a modified version of the Sharks and Minnows game. There were three Huns (sharks), and everyone else was either from the Han Dynasty or a European (minnows). Each Han person carried a cultural discovery with them such as places (i.e. Persia, Syria, India, and Rome), a fruit (i.e. grapes, figs, and pomegranates), a vegetable (i.e. alfalfa, chives, and cucumbers, and coriander), or something else (e.g. bigger horse, jewelry, pearls, ivory, and cotton. Each European carried a discovery, as well, such as roses, oranges, peaches, pears, azaleas, chrysanthemums, peonies, silk, jade, china, cast-iron, decorative boxes, and furs. The Han people and the Europeans' goal was to travel the Silk Road to exchange cultural ideas by running across the playground and avoiding being tagged by the Huns.


Students then participated in a debate to demonstrate their understanding in the value of a couple of goods that were traded. The Roman group had glassware but wants silk, so they needed to present an argument for the uses of glassware.


Students then participated in an obstacle course to experience the differences between the northern and southern routes. Five students were obstacles along the Silk Road. There were two sandstorms who could knock the travelers off their path, two bandits who could steal from the travelers, and one mirage who offered Hues to the travelers to get them off track. There were also two camels who could help carry the travelers' items and three Indian traders along the sides and the end shouting incentives and holding items they could get from India if they made it to the end (e.g. pearls, spices, cotton, ivory). The majority of the students were travelers whose goal was to safely reach the other end of the Silk Road with various objects weighing them down (e.g. big box, jewelry, cast iron weights, china dishware).

On the opposing side, the Chinese group had silk but wanted glassware, so they needed to persuade the Romans to trade their glassware for their precious silk. Each side got to hold either glassware or silk to help inspire their arguments.