Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ghana's Gold/Salt Trade

We played the trading game in earnest today.  Before you read any further, I'd like the students to explain the game to whoever they're reading this with.

Key points of the game:

Salt traders in the north of Africa crossed the Sahara into Ghana and traded their salt for gold found to the south of Ghana.

Salt traders had to pay a tax upon entering Ghana - one piece of gold for three bags of salt.

They used a silent trading system.

Whenever they made a trade, they clapped their hands.

Once their mine ran out of salt, they were done.

The game went really, REALLY well today.  I think everybody liked it.  (You'll have to check with them to be sure...)  Ok... I don't think anybody liked crossing the Sahara, but other than that everybody liked it.

(Image taken from Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies.)

So, here are some questions to ask them:

How did you like the activity?
How did Ghana get gold?
Why were the traders willing to pay a tax?  (Yes, astute students, I did just answer the previous question...)

Why did the traders trade silently?

We didn't discuss the hand-clapping in class.  In class, crossing the Sahara involved crossing the room.  Hundreds of pounds of salt was depicted on a one-inch square of paper...  It was fun to trade, but it wasn't a big deal like the actual trading.  We'll learn about that on Tuesday...

Students, once you've read the blog and discussed it with a parent, aunt, uncle, or other adult in your house - write the following statement on a piece of paper and have them sign it: I will remember my planner tomorrow.

Adults, by signing the paper your stating that you read and discussed the blog with the student in my class.  Please make sure you include the student name as well as the parent signature.

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