The lesson will help students to discover the importance of the Crusades to the expansion of many European countries. Students will also be introduced to new products and find out why explorers were willing to risk all to locate new routes in order to reach these products quickly and cheaply.
- Explain the importance of the Crusades in respect to the discovery of the "New World".
- Describe and assess the economic importance of the new markets created by demand for new trade goods.
- Explain why Europeans of the Middle Ages began to look beyond their borders.
- Identify the costs and benefits of the various new trade routes.
- Give examples of trade/trade goods that were important in the Middle Ages.
- Analyze why rulers would/would not invest in explorers and their routes.
The lesson will help you discover the importance of the Crusades to the expansion of the trade boundaries as well as mental boundaries of many European countries. Up to this time the Western Hemisphere did not exist for any European country. But the value of, and demand for the products brought back from the crusades made countries like Spain, Portugal and England willing to financially back explorations to locate new routes in order to be the first: To gain the upper hand and control and profit from this emerging trade. You will be introduced to the new products that made the explorers risk all in order to locate and claim these trade routes for "King and Country."
Middle Ages: This site provides information about different aspects of the Middle Ages. The categories are easy to understand as is the information in each section.
Journey Through the Middle Ages with James the Jingling Jester: By means of a game format, this site provides easily accessible information about the Middle Ages. [Note: Teachers may want to limit the time students can spend on this site to make sure that it does not distract from the lesson and the students learning.]
Crusades: The Crusades are the main topic of this link and it contains a large amount of information about these Crusades. This includes an introduction as well as the origin and events which are attributed to the Crusades.
Encyclopedia.com: Newly updated and expanded with more than 50,000 articles plus links providing access to millions of articles and pictures in Electric Library.
Map: Eastern Hemisphere to be used as an overhead.
Where Did New Products Come From?: Students will use this drag and drop activity to test their understanding of where new products came from during the Crusades. Used in activity one.
Drag and Drop Activity
Middle Ages Information Sheet: Have your students use the Middle Ages Information Sheet as a tool to record the information they will find as they read and do the online lesson.
Begin by asking the students what toppings they like to eat with their hamburgers. Write down the answers on the board.
Ask the students what they would do if these things were not available to them or only available to the very rich (Designer clothing or vintage automobiles could be used as examples of goods too expensive for most people to buy).
Discuss the concept of demand and how fluctuation in demand affect prices and supply. Relate this discussion to the hamburger question - would the students buy cheese if it increased the total cost of a burger by $30.00? Discuss scarcity and the effect of scarcity on prices.
Identify and instruct about cost effective way of movement.Tell the students to go to the web sites below to research life in the Middle Ages. The students should also click on the religion icon and read about the crusades.
[NOTE: Middle Ages Information Sheet that can be printed and distributed to your students. Have your students use the Middle Ages Information Sheet as a tool to record the information they will find as the read and do the online lesson.]
This site provides information about different aspects of the Middle Ages. The categories are easy to understand as is the information in each section.
Journey Through the Middle Ages with James the Jingling Jester
By means of a game format, this site provides easily accessible information about the Middle Ages. The fun may get in the way of learning unless you limit the time students may spend on the game.
The Crusades are the main topic of this link and it contains a large amount of information about these Crusades. This includes an introduction as well as the origin and events which are attributed to the Crusades.
Discuss how the crusaders brought back new goods and how those goods created demand. Then ask the students how those demands could be supplied.
Using print or internet encyclopedias, have the students work on this drag and drop activity to discover where the new products came from. The students will move pictures of the items to correct locations on map.
Newly updated and expanded with more than 50,000 articles plus links providing access to millions of articles and pictures in Electric Library.
Show and discuss the original trade routes and the dangers and EXPENSE (shipping and "middle man" costs) associated with these routes represented.
Use the example of a national chain store the students would recognize (perhaps Wal-Mart or the Brass Buckle) To explain the concept of the "middle man". The students need to discover why European traders would want to cut out this expense.
Ask the students to work in groups of 2-3 brainstorming different methods of getting products from Asia, India and the Middle East to Europe. They may suggest using land or water or a combination of both. However, there are two stipulations: The suggested means of transportation should provide for speedy and cost-effective movement of goods
Also, remind the students to beware of the three R's - Rivers, Robbers and Ranges (mountains).
Using an overhead projector, display a transparency of the Eastern Hemisphere. Have the students map out the routes they chose. Discuss the benefits and costs associated with each route, including opportunity costs. Also discuss the geographic details of each route.
Have the students choose, or direct the students' choice to, the same route the Spanish would use: the Western route.
Have the students write a letter to the King or Queen of England, Portugal, or Spain explaining why new a route to the East needs to be found. Make sure they also write about the route chosen by the "explorer" and try to convince the King or Queen why that route should be chosen above any others the class may have discussed.
Rubric: the letter is worth 50 points total.
Using correct information:
- 30-20 points: Covers all parts of assignment fully and lists and backs up choice. Strong, convincing argument for the route. Uses four economic ideas within the explanation.
- 12-19 points: Missing a minor part of the assignment; the correct route is given but with only a weak argument and only one or two economic ideas.
- 1-11 points: Incorrect routes, does not back up choice with facts, little or no given argument for route and no economic terms are used.
- 20 points: No spelling or grammar errors.
- 1-19 points: One point deducted for each error in spelling or grammar.
Students can create a glossary of the economic terms and examples used in this lesson. Use the following economic terms:
- Choice - [Selecting one good or service over another - choice can also include choosing an alternative good or service that may not be exactly the same, but will fill the need of the consumer.]
- Demand - [How much of a product is needed or desired - a high demand means that the good or service is highly desired.]
- Supply - [How much of a good or service that is available to a market - a low supply of "gum" means that there is not much gum in the market available for sale.]
- Market - [Places where people buy and sell goods and services.]
- Opportunity Cost - [When a decision is made between two goods or services - opportunity cost is the value of the good you DO NOT choose. If I have a dollar - I can buy a pop or a candy bar - if I choose a pop, my opportunity cost is the candy bar - it is what I gave up in order to have the pop.]
- Scarcity - [Not being able to have everything that you want - scarcity forces us to make choices. I only make $10.00 a week I have to choose what I spend my money on, because I have a scarcity of funds.]
- Cost/Benefit - [The cost of something in relationship to what benefit the buyer will receive from the purchase. I would like to travel in space, but because I have limited amounts of money the benefit I receive may not be worth the cost I will have to pay]
The students now have a firm starting place for further explorations of American History. They know why Columbus set sail toward the West and they are ready to begin to learn about the importance of the explorers journeys.
“This lesson is great. It can also be used with high school students. In our state we use aims. Your focus question is a valuable tool that can be used to challenge students.”