We’re on the 2nd half of the Story of the World, Volume 2 – The Middle Ages, and we’re currently studying Marco Polo’s journey on the Silk Road. The activity book gave me the idea of creating the little stopping points, but I added a little flair to it.
I played the part of the travelers’ (kids’) guide. Before we started, I set up different spots around the school with signs. We wound our way through the school, re-enacting the experience of traveling through two deserts. When we came upon an “oasis,” there would be a snack, like trail mix or granola bars ‘hidden’ there for us. We also received water from a “kind merchant” (another teacher in a room), and she gave us water bottles (all pre-planned!) to help us on our journey.
Our next stop was the Yellow River. I had the kids sit on the tables in our classroom, and “row” with brooms and yardsticks. I also used a fog machine for an eerie watery effect. *Note: Make sure you tell everyone else you’re running a fog machine in a school, because it looks an awful lot like SMOKE! While they rowed, I told them more interesting facts about the Silk Road.
When we finally “landed,” we went down the hall to an unused room that had “merchants” waiting for us with a table of goods to trade. Before this took place, I asked the kids to bring in about 3 items they no longer wanted. I didn’t tell them what it was for. The teacher I asked to help out with the merchant table was phenomenal! She dressed as an African trader and really made the kids work for their trade!
All-in-all, it was a fabulous class!
Just in case you want to print off the signs and do your own Silk Road expedition, here are the ones I made: Printable Silk Road Signs