The Columbian Exchange: Exploration and the Environment


US History European Colonization The Columbian Exchange: Exploration and the Environment
Students learn about the Columbian Exchange, the many biological and cultural exchanges between the Old and New Worlds. They learn how Native American survival was directly dependent on the environment, then they read about the Columbian Exchange and its impact on life in both the Americas and Europe. Students then work in small groups to research specific resources that were part of the exchange and describe and evaluate the impact of each one.

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Here are the teacher pack items for The Columbian Exchange: Exploration and the Environment:

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the Columbian Exchange, the many biological and cultural exchanges between the Old and New Worlds. They first learn how Native American survival was directly dependent on the environment, in order to establish a “base line” for interaction with the environment in the Americas before the arrival of the European explorers and colonists. Then they read about the Columbian Exchange and its impact on life in both the Americas and Europe. Students then work in small groups to research specific resources that were part of the exchange and describe and evaluate the impact of each one.

Objective:

  • Evaluate how exchanges between European and Native Americans modified the physical environment.


Have you ever traveled away from your hometown and discovered a food or animal that is new to you? Or to a place where the landscape looked very different from where you live? In this experience, you will learn about the Columbian Exchange or the “Grand Exchange”: a period of cultural and biological exchanges between the Old and New Worlds. You’ll also see how this exchange affected the physical environment.

Objective:

  • Evaluate how exchanges between European and Native Americans modified the physical environment.
Today, many foods are grown in North and South America. Some are native to the “New World” and have been here for thousands of years. Others were brought from the “Old World” by European explorers and settlers in the 15th and 16th centuries. Do you know which is which?




Vegetables played a part in the Columbian Exchange



Old World: bananas, grapes, rice, sugar cane

New World: corn, tomatoes, peanuts, potatoes


In this lesson, you’ll learn more about the impact that European exploration would have on worlds on both side of the Atlantic.


You may want to share this infographic with your students. 


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