Arts of Asia in Reach
Silk Road/Trading Goods & Currency Lesson Plan
1. Lesson Overview

A Lesson for Eastwood Elementary 2nd Grade, Students Ages 6-8
Time Frame: (2) 50 minute class periods
Designed by Loren Fawcett, Education Assistant, Allen Memorial Art Museum


Students will explore concepts such as bartering, trade, and consumerism as they study the Silk Road. Students will also learn about the evolution of Chinese currency as it relates to the trade along the Silk Road. Students will relate learning experiences to modern day consumerism as they have studied in previous Social Studies units.

  1. Students will reinforce map reading skills learned earlier in the year.
  2. Students will read the map and identify the Silk Road path.
  3. Students will use a map key.
  4. Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the terrain along the Silk Roads.
  5. Students will learn about the geography, economics, and history of the Silk Road.
  6. Students will reflect on the history and culture in northwest China through their own experiences and knowledge.
  7. Students will compare bartering to trading.
  8. Students will explore the differences between modern day trade and trade along the Silk Road.
  9. Students will compare methods of transportation used today in trade to that used along the Silk Road.
  10. Students will learn about ancient forms of currency in China and its evolution to paper money and modern day coins.
  11. Students will practice writing Chinese characters.
  12. Students will improve fine motor skills as they create their Chinese characters using three-dimensional paint.
  13. Students will learn to mix and blend colors.

Academic Content Standards

  1. Visual Arts
    • NA-VA.K-4.1 Standard #2: Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories
    • NA-VA.K-4.1 Standard #3: Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner
    • NA-VA.K-4.2 Standard #1: Students know the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas
  2. Social Studies
    • NSS-C.K-4.4 Other Nations and World Affairs: how is the world divided into nations and how do they interact with one another
    • NSS-EC.K-4.1 Scarcity: Productive resources are limited. Therefore, people cannot have all the goods and services they want; as a result they must choose some things and give up others
    • NSS-EC.K-4.3 Allocation of Goods and Services: There are different ways of distributing goods and services and there are advantages/disadvantages to each
    • NSS-EC.K-4.5 Gain from Trade: Exchange is trading goods and services with people for other goods and services or for money. The oldest form of exchange is barter the direct trading of goods and services between people. People voluntarily exchange goods and services because they expect to be better off after the exchange.
    • NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms: Understand how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire. Process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
    • NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions: Understand how culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions.
    • NSS-USH.K-4.4 The History of Peoples of Many Cultures Around the World: Understand selected attributes and historical developments of societies in Asia

  3. Language Arts
    • NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding: Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.

Ohio State Standards
  1. Visual Arts
    • Benchmark 1B: Use historical artworks such as paintings, photographs, and drawings to answer questions about daily life in the past.
    • Benchmark 2A: Demonstrate increasing skill in the use if art tools and materials.
    • Benchmark 2B: Establish and communicate a purpose for creating artwork.
    • Benchmark 2D: Begin to revise work to a level of personal satifaction.
    • Benchmark 3A: Use details (e.g., tilted objects, yellow-orange sun or striped shirt) to describe objects, symbols, and visual effects in artworks.
    • Benchmark 3B: Use context clues to identify and describe the cultural symbols and images in artworks.
    • Benchmark 5C: Construct a 3-dimensional model to represent a topic or theme from another subject area
    • Benchmark 5D: Describe ways they use visual art outside the classroom and provide examples.

  2. Social Studies
    • History Daily Life Benchmark C4: Use historical artifacts, photographs, biographies, maps, diaries and folklore to answer questions about daily life in the past.
    • History Daily Life Benchmark C5: Identify the work that people performed to make a living in the past and explain how jobs in the past are similar and/or different from those of today.
    • History Daily Life Benchmark C6: Identify and describe examples of how science and technology have changed the daily lives of people and compare:
      a. Forms of communication from the past and present;
      b. Forms of transportation from the past and present.
    • Geography Benchmark A4: Read and interpret a variety of maps.
    • Economics Scarcity and Resource Allocation Benchmark A1: Explain how resources can be used in various ways (ie: silk into thread, kimono, etc)
    • Economics Production, Distribution, and Consumption Benchmark B2: Explain how people are both buyers and sellers of goods and services.
    • Economics Production, Distribution, and Consumption Benchmark B3: Recognize that most people work in jobs in which they produce a few special goods or services.
    • Economics Production, Distribution, and Consumption Benchmark C4: Explain why people in different parts of the world earn a living in a variety of ways.
    • Economics Markets Benchmark C5: Recognize that money is a generally accepted medium of exchange for goods and services and that different countries use different forms of money.
    • Citizenship Responsibilities Benchmark B2: Demonstrate self-direction in tasks within the school community
    • Social Studies Skills and Methods Obtaining Information Benchmark A1: Obtain information from oral, visual, and print sources.

  3. Language Arts
    • Reading Process Benchmark D: Compare and contrast information between texts and across subject areas.
    • Research Benchmark A: Generate questions for investigation and gather information from a variety of sources.
    • Research Benchmark B: Retell important details and findings.


Abbreviation for "Before Common Era," which coincides with BC, or Before Christ.

exchange of goods for other goods without the use of money.

The oldest, prevalent missionary faiths. Its essential message is that earthly life is impermanent and full of suffering. The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth can be ended through enlightenment, which is achieved through Buddhist faith and practice.

group of traders with a line of camels to carry the trade goods A group of travelers or traders journeying together, often through a desert with the aid of pack animals to carry the trade goods.

An inn built around a large courtyard to accommodate human and animal travelers. Caravansarais (plural).

Capital city of Tang dynasty China (now Xi'an).

continent in Asia

A large community where people live and work

Common Era
The period coinciding with the Christian era or AD. Abbreviated "CE."

Compass Rose
Arrows on a map that show directions (north, south, east, west).

A person who buys and uses goods and services.

One of the largest bodies of land on the earth.

Kinds of plants that people grow for food or other uses.

Currency (cur·ren·cy noun)
a: something (as coins, treasury notes, and banknotes) that is in circulation as a medium of exchange
b: paper money in circulation
c: a common article for bartering

A dry place where very little rain falls

Dynasty (dy·nas·ty noun)
a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time

A markeplace.

The study of the Earth and its people

Things that people make or grow.

Something that has been made for the first time.

A kind of land such as a mountain, hill, or plain.

A drawing that shows where things are.

Map Key
A list of the symbols on a map that tells what the symbols stand for.

A person who engages in buying and selling for a living.

The highest kind of land.

An individual, often a member of a group, who migrates from place to place. In Central Asia, the nomadic way of life is often attributed to the ability to feed horses and livestock.

A fertile spot in the desert. Towns often crop up in oases (plural) to service weary travelers.

A very large body of salty water.Pedaling Trade: informal selling of goods along the streets.

A person who makes or grows something.

Something people use that comes from the earth.

Route (noun)
a: a line of travel; course.
b: an established or selected course of travel or action.
c: a way to go from one place to another.

Jobs people do that help others.

A large area of land that is usually flat, dry and treeless. Originally a Russian word for large expanses of Central Asia.

A picture that stands for something real.

to give money, goods, or services to get something in return.

Any way of moving people or things from place to place.

Continue to: 2. Lesson Materials