If you are familiar with world history, you are sure to know about what was dubbed “The Columbian Exchange.” This event was deemed the cornerstone of the spread of diseases, animals, and plant life to many countries worldwide. This spread was profoundly accelerated after Christopher Columbus’ voyages in the late 1400s. The consequences – both positive and negative – were long-lasting.
1. Comprehension with the Columbian Exchange
This Columbian Exchange activity combines history and reading with this well-composed worksheet that helps students analyze the effects of the exchange of plants and diseases on other populations.
Learn more: Education.com
2. Columbian Exchange Lunch Menu
The best part of this activity set is the “creating a menu” portion, where pairs of students (or groups) will compare and contrast the food from the old and new world during the Columbian Exchange using their favorite meals.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
3. Visual Map and Reading
While this whole set is based on the Age of Exploration, it ends with a great Columbian Exchange activity that can be easily printed as a stand-alone lesson. Reading the passages and recording items that were exchanged on a graphic organizer is a great way to help students visualize the impact of this historical event.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
4. Video Series
Engage students before and after your unit on the Columbian Exchange by using this video series of short clips that outline the exchange – considering both positive and negative effects on the trading of plants, exchange of animals, and other trades.
Learn more: PBS Learning Media
5. Columbian Exchange Brain Pop
Students will better understand the transfer of plants, animals, and diseases that occurred during the Columbian Exchange after watching this BrainPop video and completing interactive tasks to enhance their understanding. The accompanying quiz makes for a great knowledge checkpoint.
Learn more: Brain Pop
6. Visual Cut and Paste Map
After doing a little research, why not create a visual representation of the Columbian Exchange? Print out maps and the above items before having students cut and clue the appropriate pieces in the correct regions.
Learn more: Kristine Nannini
7. Reading and Questions
This narrative is a perfect accompaniment to any unit on exploration and the Columbian Exchange. Furthermore, it helps students with a quick video explaining what happened, thus providing them with a visual reinforcement of this important concept.
Learn more: Bill of Rights Institute
8. Have Kids Complete a Timeline
This experiential activity gets kids involved with the Columbian Exchange by having them complete a timeline using a variety of foods and dishes that were introduced throughout time. Have students place their plate of food or image on a life-size timeline to create a hands-on visual.
Learn more: Southern Food and Beverage Museum
9. Interactive PDF
Assign students this interactive PDF on the topic of the Columbian Exchange in order to help them create a more profound understanding of the idea. Including vocabulary links, fillable boxes for questions, and all the tools PDF offers, this reading is sure to become a favorite Columbian Exchange activity in the busy classroom.
Learn more: America in Class
10. Columbian Exchange Simulation
This is a fun activity for kids to get together in groups (representing countries) and create their own Columbian Exchange using predetermined objects. It’s also a great introduction to a history unit or a quick discussion starter.
Learn more: Hoppin Fifth Grade
11. Storyboard T-Chart
This activity helps students represent the variety of outcomes that came from the Columbian Exchange. Young learners will utilize a T-chart and research the various goods, ideas, diseases, animals, plants, and other cultural exchanges before comparing them from the perspectives of both sides.
Learn more: Storyboard That