Vocabulary Builder

This lesson is designed to introduce key concepts related to this Essential Question. In small groups, students define vocabulary terms, then use a Concept Connections discussion protocol to deepen their understanding of the concepts and their relationship to each other.


Global Trade and Interdependence

Students sort everyday items (such as food packages, clothing, and electronics), then identify their countries of origin and locate them on the map. They make observations and inferences about why certain things are produced close to home and others far away as they are introduced to the concepts of specialization and interdependence.


Exploring Raw Materials

Students learn about how raw materials become final products by reading How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA by Marjorie Priceman. They locate different states on a map as they discover that states have different natural resources which provide the raw materials to make things, building an understanding that we depend on other places to get the things we need. Students then learn about their own state, and what raw materials are found there along with what they produce.


Exploring Raw Materials (Digging Deeper)

Students extend their learning about interdependence and key concepts by exploring the story behind products and the people who help produce them. Students unpack the story of cotton, learning about how cotton is produced and the process of how it gets turned into clothing. They participate in a Socratic Seminar to discuss how we are connected to people in places near and far by our clothing and why it’s important to think about the story behind our products.


Global Banana Split

Students explore the journey that raw materials (ingredients) make before they get to the consumer. They identify the raw materials in a banana split and follow the journey of each material from its point of origin to the ice cream shop. They also consider what would happen if one of these items, such as bananas, were no longer available and the impact this would have not only on the consumer but also the producer.


Understanding the Production Process of Chocolate

This lesson digs into the process of how chocolate is made, from the seeds of the cacao pod to the shelf in the supermarket. Students learn about the general production sequence, from raw material to product in stores. Then, they read and annotate an article about the production of chocolate as a case study, specifically looking at the sequence of steps in the production process.


Reflecting on Interdependence (Checkpoint Assessment)

Through this Essential Question, students have explored the concepts of specialization and interdependence, such as why certain things are produced close to home yet other things come from far away. This final lesson may be used as a checkpoint assessment of cumulative learning throughout this Essential Question. Here, students play Guess My Word to review vocabulary terms, then apply learning of key vocabulary concepts to a case study where they identify evidence from a video about how cocoa is produced.


Global Connections

Image by Markus Spiske

Essential Question

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How are we connected through what we produce and consume?

Students explore the concepts of specialization and interdependence, discovering why some things are produced close to home yet others come from far away. They trace the journey from raw material to final product for several common items.