Voyages of Discovery Columbus, Da Gama, and Magellan "For God, Gold, and Glory.And Maybe a Little Pepper!"

Social Studies Review, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

Voyages of Discovery Columbus, Da Gama, and Magellan "For God, Gold, and Glory.And Maybe a Little Pepper!"


Cognitive Objectives: Students will

* equate price with the unit by which relative scarcity is measured

* identify the impact of a change in supply or demand on the relative scarcity and price of a product

* discuss the incentives that motivated three explorers

* on a map, identify the major overland and sea routes of the spice trade

Affective Objectives: Students will

* realize that the price of a product is an objective measurement of relative scarcity and not a subjective measurement of moral or ethical "value."

Standards:

5.2.1 Describe the entrepreneurial characteristics of early explorers (e.g. Christopher Columbus, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado) and the technological developments that made sea exploration by latitude and longitude possible (e.g. compass, sextant, astrolabe, seaworthy ships, chronometers, gunpowder).

5.2.2 Explain the aims, obstacles, and accomplishments of the explorers, sponsors, and leaders of key European expeditions and the reasons Europeans chose to explore and colonize the world (e.g. the Spanish Reconquista, the Protestant Reformation, the Counter Reformation)

7.2.5 Describe the growth of cities and the establishment of trade routes among Asia, Africa, and Europe, the products and inventions that traveled along these routes (e.g. spices, textiles, paper, steel, new crops), and the role of merchants in Arab society.

7.8.2 Explain the importance of Florence in the early stages of the Renaissance and the growth of independent trading cities (e.g. Venice) with emphasis on the cities' importance in the spread of Renaissance ideas.

7.8.3 Understand the effects of reopening of the ancient "Silk Road" between Europe and China, including Marco Polo's travels and the location of his routes.

7.11.2 Discuss the exchanges of plants, animals, technology, culture, and ideas among Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and the major economic and social effects on each continent.

7.11.3 Examine the origins of modern capitalism: the influence of mercantilism and cottage industry; the elements and importance of a market economy in seventeenth-century Europe; the changing international trading and marketing patterns, including their locations on a world map; and the influence of explorers and map makers.

Economic Principles

Four: People respond to incentives in a predictable manner

Five: Voluntary exchange benefits the traders

Six: Markets work best when competition, incentives, information and property rights exist.

Materials: World Map, Spice Play, (Optional) costumes for play

Discussion Question:

"Why did Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Magellan attempt to sail around the world?"

Teaching procedures: Review the historical and economic background with the students. Have them consider the events below. After each event, decide:

1) Whether the event would cause spices to be relatively more (M) or less (L) scarce or have no effect (N)

2) Whether the relative price would rise (R) or fall (F) or not change (N)

3) Whether the change (if there was one) was a change in supply (S) or demand (D)

4) Whether the change in supply or demand was an increase (I) or decrease (D)

* 1350 Black Plague

* 1492 Columbus reaches America

* Portuguese control sea routes to Spice Islands

*1453 Constantinople conquered

*1502 da Gama returns from India

*Magellan's crew circles the world

Do not correct their ideas.

Stage the Spice Price Play. Gather whatever costumes you can find (hats are helpful) and use the accompanying maps to trace each explorer's voyage on the overhead. Be sure that students can identify the oceans and continents as the play takes place. Have students come to the overhead in teams and draw the voyage on the transparency as the play takes place. …

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