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The Silk Road

In this lesson, the students learn about the Silk Road trading route and how it affected the cultures of Europe. They will trade foods from many regions and create a dish from the combination of the ingredients that not available in just one region.



In this lesson students will be able to:

-Learn about the Silk Road and its importance in history

-Learn the art of trading

-Identify where specific foods originated

-Make rice pudding

Bliss Value: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Make and enjoy rice pudding


Enough pre-measured ingredients for each group to make the rice pudding recipe.

A pot, custard cups and tea bags for each group



Place on three separate tables, the following items (pre-measured) each representing a different region:
  • China: salt, tea, iron (pot), rice (cooked)

  • India: cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla, sugar

  • Rome: Milk, butter, glass custard cups, raisins

  • Note: There should be enough ingredients and materials to fulfill the needs of the entire group i.e. if there are twelve students, there should be 12 custard cups etc.

  • Write a list of exchange values to match the number of students participating in each group

  • (Example: If there are 12 students with four in a group, one bowl of rice = 4 custard cups. If there 12 students with 3 in a group, one bowl of rice = 3 custard cups) see list below

  • Make a list of items they need to gather from trading

  • Make copies of the Rice Pudding Recipe

  • Make copies of the Silk Road map



In the opening circle:

  • Ask the students if they are familiar with the Silk Road

  • Show them the map of the Silk Road and identify each region. Note how large the Roman Empire was at this time.

  • Explain how the trading route connecting China to Rome by way of India and point out that that Rome only traded with India and China also traded with India but Rome and China did not trade directly with each other.

  • Divide the class into groups of 3-4 depending on class size

  • Hand out the trading list and explain the procedure for trading: 1) No talking (hand signals only) because there was a language barrier between regions 2) Rome can only trade with India and China can only trade with India, India can trade with Rome or China

  • Give the students a time limit to complete the trading list (5-8 min is sufficient)

  • Hand out the recipe for Rice Pudding and let them begin.

  • After they have made the pudding and put it in the custard cups, place them in the Freezer for a few minutes to cool and have the student fill out the Silk Road worksheet in their group.

  • Pass out the rice pudding and review the worksheet while they are eating


In closing circle:

Ask each student what they learned about the Silk Road. What is the value of trade among cultures. How did goods that spoil travel from place to place? (grapes as raisins, milk in the cow!) What did they like about this lesson?


Suplemental Materials:

Silk Road Map

Trading List


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