Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

The Slave Trade {1550-1890} and 3-D Interactive Maps

 This week we learned about the Slave Trade between the colonies, the West Indies, Europe and Africa. Katie went on a field trip several years ago to a colonial village and participated in a hands-on drama about this trading.
"...she sailed over and traded her tobacco…
for my teapot. Then she sailed back..."

"... he (the docent) talked about why we (the English) sailed over and about the King getting something in return for sailing us over. He also talked about the Trading Triangle and he had us act it out. He had me be England and he had another girl represent London Town (colonies.) Now she sailed over and traded her tobacco…for my teapot. Then she sailed back. It then became complicated by her sailing over and trading her tobacco for a Bible but this time she sailed over to our my mom (who had taken her mom to represent slaves) to trade, of course leaving my mom with the Bible, taking the slaves back with her. And so that showed us the Trading Triangle." -part of a narration by Katie of a field trip to Londontown, Maryland

"...trading her tobacco for a Bible..."

This could be done at home, too with either props or pictures to represent the items that were traded in the various places.

We also  colored maps from Interactive 3-D Maps: American History. I have had several people as questions about these maps, so I thought I would tell you a little about them and how we use them. We copy the maps on parchment style paper because they are old-fashioned looking but they could be copied on either plain copy paper or cardstock.
They all have items that fold so that they stand up. I like these because they add a three-dimensional element to the maps but they can then be folded back down to lay flat in their folders.
They also usually have another three-dimensional piece that cannot be folded down to fit in their notebooks. These I have either modified so that they can  lay flat or I have cut them separate from the map, so that they can  play with them. This week's map has lines to represent the paths ships took in their trading expeditions. You are supposed to slit along these lines so that you can insert the moving pieces in these slits. This week's map has these slits so that you can insert the ships in and move them along the ship's trading paths.
There is also a three-dimensional ship you can put together that shows how crowded the slaves were in the ships. This piece would stick up and make it so that I couldn't put it in their notebooks, so I modified it and made it lay flat.
The book also has a page or two of background information for the teacher, which I often share with the kids. They have some comprehension questions as well and some suggestions for further research for your students.
Although the book is listed for grades 4-8, I think that it is much too simple for an 8th grader. My 8th grader draws his own maps or uses blank outline maps. My special needs 8th grader does do them as well as my third and first grader and they really enjoy them and learn a lot from them. I would say that it is more for students K-6. I help my first grader with cutting out the slits for the ships to travel but he can do the rest on his own. We have really enjoyed doing them and they add a nice element to their notebooks with little effort from the teacher.


  1. love this! so glad i found your blog!

  2. I've actually had these maps on my Amazon wish list for a long time, I just haven't ordered them yet. It seems like you all get good use out of them!

  3. Oh man, I might add another item to my wish list.......


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