WAS THE SILK ROAD THE INTERNET HIGHWAY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD?
Sheila Hanley, Social Studies
James Madison High School
Content and Performance Standards
Students will be able to:
- Understand the concept of Eurasia
and the consequences of that understanding
- Examine the effects of geography
and environmental factors on the movement of people
and goods, as well as ideas
- Trace the origins of the Silk Road
on a physical map to determine the reasons for
- Analyze the diaries and letters
of people who traveled the Silk Road to determine
their motivation and the dangers inherent in the travel
- Evaluate if the silk road was
the internet highway of the ancient world
- Describe this tool that everyone uses today
- How does it affect our lives?
- How has it affected the world around us?
- How does the Internet act as a form of a highway?
In the ancient times there was a growth of global trade
routes that provided the same services at a slower
rate than the Internet. Today we are
looking at the Silk Road and determining
Aim: Was the Silk Road the Internet highway
of the Ancient world?
Physical Maps of China and Eurasia Maps of
the Silk Roads in China
Adapted readings from "Life along the Silk Road"
by Susan Whittled
Group I - Have the students examine the maps
and perform the following tasks
- Distribute the Physical Maps of China and Eurasia
to each student
- Divide the students into groups of four
and assign them the following Group Tasks
Group II - Have the students examine both maps and perform
the following tasks
- Locate the three points from where the Silk Road
- How many Silk Roads are there in Eurasia?
- How does the Silk Road act as a highway for Eurasia?
- Describe the topography of the area through which
the Silk Road passes
- Describe the sights the travelers might see along
- Why would the travelers pick that particular route for
the Silk Road?
- How would you describe travel along the Silk Road?
Have students debrief their group or
pair-share work to the class.
Ditribute to the class the Merchant's Tale
- Students will read the tale and answer
the questions following the story.
- How important was the Silk Road to
the ancient and classical world?
- In what ways did it act as
a tool of cultural diffusion?
- Do you think it was more
important for the exchange of goods or ideas?
- Is the Silk Road as important
as the internet today? Explain
- Examine other important
trade routes or societies during that time.
Suggestions: Indian Ocean Route, Phoenicians, Salt-Gold Route
- Locate the routes or societies on a map
- How did the location contribute
to its importance?
- Are there more similarities or differences
between the Silk Road and these other trade
routes or societies? Explain.
- Find on a map where Nanaivandak originated
from and where he traveled along the Silk Road
- Describe the topography and environment
that this merchant saw along the road.
- Why would Nanaivandak go on this
journey every year?
- Besides goods and people, do you see
any evidence that ideas also travel along the Silk
- How is the Silk Road similar to
the Internet highway today?