Middle School Lesson Plans: Trade

Middle School Lesson Plans: Trade

These resources are appropriate for grade levels 6th, 7th and 8th.
Lesson Plans:


  1. Trading Up? Exploring International Perspectives on Free Trade
    In this lesson, students explore the benefits and drawbacks of free trade from the perspective of the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile and Mexico. For homework, they each write a letter to the editor expressing their personal viewpoint on the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  2. Foreign Exchange: Investigating the Economy of Foreign Nations
    In this lesson, students share ideas about the values of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar. They then research the economy of a foreign country and prepare an appropriate budget for one month study abroad. They synthesize their learning by reflecting on what life would be like if they were to live on $100 a week in a foreign country.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  3. Studying Locally, Teaching Globally Role Playing to Understand Outsourcing
    In this lesson, students work in small groups to create outlines and mind-maps that demonstrate their understand of the effects of outsourcing on economic relationships and the U.S. economy.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  4. Culture and the Corporation Exploring How Companies Adapt to Foreign Marketplaces
    In this lesson, students will examine how Disney learned from past experience to adapt its business plan for a new cultural environment. They then research the culture of a foreign country and develop their own plan for introducing a new company there.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.




  5. Money Makes the World Go 'Round Examining Currency and Its Impact on the Global Economy
    In this two-day lesson plan, students examine what a basic unit of currency means and how it affects world finances. On the first day, students consider the value of the American dollar in light of its devaluation on the global market and gain a deeper understanding of the terms used to describe this economic situation. On the second day, students consider events that may shape the global economy and create board games utilizing their knowledge of foreign currencies and world economics.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  6. Coffee Makes the World Go Round Exploring the Global Coffee Trade
    In this lesson, students examine the concept of "fair trade coffee," then research facts about coffee and the coffee industry and create original exhibits to be included in a "Global Coffee Awareness Fair."

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  7. Pump It Up Examining the Use and Importance of Gasoline and Other Energy Sources Around the World
    In this lesson, students explore the rising cost of gasoline and how it impacts people around the world differently. They learn about gasoline usage and alternate forms of energy used in several countries, and then consider the relationship between people in their country and oil.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  8. Fighting for Fair Farming Examining How Domestic Subsidies Impact Foreign Markets
    In this lesson, students will consider various economic terms, examine the impact of subsidies on farmers and other industries, and illustrate how subsidies affect both domestic and foreign markets.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  9. Deep Impact Exploring the Environmental Effects of Products on the Planet
    In this lesson, students investigate the environmental impact of new products and present their findings at a summit meeting to explore ways to reduce the planetary costs of consumerism. They then write personal essays reflecting on their responsibilities in curbing environmental impacts.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  10. A Whale of a Difference Exploring Different Perspectives on Commercial Whaling in Japan

    In this lesson, students research various perspectives on Japan's commercial whaling industry and formulate position papers representing these views.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  11. Ports in the Storm Discussing Issues Associated With the Operation of American Ports
    In this lesson, students share opinions about national security. They then debate the main issues raised by the White House's decision to allow a Dubai-owned company to operate American ports, and write an opinion paper that addresses their thoughts before and after the debate.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  New York Times.



  12. From Arms Race to Arms Sales
    Illustrate an important way in which the Cold War influenced international politics by having students create a sequence chain that traces how the buildup of arms in the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic eventually led to illegal arms sales and the arming of rebels in war-torn African countries like Sierra Leone. Time needed for lesson plan: 3-4 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  Frontline.



  13. Track the Path of Coffee From Farm to Store Shelf
    Invite students to share ideas and build on the concept that the world is deeply connected, but not always in the most obvious ways. Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  Frontline.



  14. Something's Fishy in Scotland
    Learn about the struggles of Scottish fishing families to maintain their way of living under the new policies of the European Union. Time needed for lesson plan: 4-8 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  Wideangle.



  15. Commerce in the Indian Ocean
    This lesson will introduce students to the geographic features of the Indian Ocean and the critical role of the monsoon in determining maritime trading patterns before the 16th century. Students will research various historic ports along the borders of the Indian Ocean and determine possible ways that local rulers attracted merchants. They will assess the extent of commerce in the Indian Ocean before the arrival of European ships in the 16th century and how trading patterns changed there as a result. Time needed for lesson plan: 2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  National Geographic.



  16. Products Across Borders
    This lesson has students learn about foreign products available in the United States and about U.S. companies that sell products abroad. Students will illustrate two maps to show where products come from and where they are sold, and discuss ways in which they notice the impact of globalization in their own lives.

    Time needed for lesson plan: 3 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  National Geographic.



  17. Pirate Archaeology
    This lesson reviews students' understanding of where where pirates worked and what their motivations were. It asks students to consider where they might look for sunken pirate ships and what they would expect to find on such ships. Students will pretend to be historians seeking funding for expeditions to search for pirate ships and write up their plans. Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  National Geographic.



  18. The Price of Gasoline: What's Behind It?
    In this lesson, students investigate the variables that contribute to the cost of gasoline. They learn that while OPEC nations do influence the price of oil and thus the price of gasoline, other factors also influence the price. Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  EconEdLink.



  19. Marketplace: Oil Is a Slippery Business
    OPEC is generally seen as the primary institution that controls oil prices. Is that what OPEC really does? Use this lesson to get an overview of the history and function of this institution. Time needed for lesson plan: 1-2 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  EconEdLink.



  20. Don't Fence Me Out! (Barriers to Trade)
    The concept of comparative advantage makes a strong case for free, unrestricted trade among nations. Yet, some people support the use of tariffs or quotas to restrict or stop the international flow of goods and services.These barriers to trade exist in most countries and have differing effects on producers and consumers in the countries involved. Recently the WTO (World Trade Organization) met in Seattle to discuss issues in trade, including trade barriers. Time needed for lesson plan: 4-5 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  EconEdLink.



  21. Coming and Going: Imports and Exports Throughout the World
    Students will study various imports and exports to and from different regions in the world. They will then compare the imports and exports to determine the importance of each. Time needed for lesson plan: 4-5 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  EconEdLink.



  22. Clothes from Grain: A Miracle or a Problem?
    Students read two fables about entrepreneurs who buy grain and turn the grain into clothing or resell the grain and use the proceeds to import clothing. Students use the information from the fables to determine why people trade and to analyze the costs and benefits of protectionist trade policies. Time needed for lesson plan: 2-3 hours

    To link to the actual lesson plan, please visit  National Council on Economic Education.










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