Lesson Plan: The Silk Road History Lab


Name: Hilary Qualiana and Niki Antonakos
School: Deerfield High School
Subject Area(s): Geography, History
Grade Level: High School

State Goals

  • 16: Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations.
  • 17: Understand world geography and the effects of geography on society, with an emphasis on the United States.


  • Students spend class moving through a series of stations, each representing a city and highlighting a different aspect of civilization and movement along the Silk Roads. Stations are designed with variety and diversity of activities in mind. As students move through the stations, they create travel logs and posters that serve as records of their virtual journeys.


Beijing: Mongol Impact on the Silk Road
Through maps, quotes, and secondary source excerpts, students examine the Mongol impact on the Silk Roads.

  • Maps and information on Mongols and the Silk Road

Taxila: Spread of Buddhism
Students analyze Asoka’s Edicts for Buddhist influence and also view and analyze Buddhist artwork.

  • Asoka’s Edicts documents
  • Tables/chairs to represent Shaolin Temple

Samarkand: Marketplace
Students use a jigsaw method to read about how goods were traded in a marketplace and have a hands-on experience with fabrics and spices.

  • Turkish kilim (rug)
  • Goods (fabrics, spices, silk worm)
  • CD-player and music (Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble)


  1. Divide class into three sections, each assigned a city: Beijing, Taxila, or Samarkand. Each group answers questions on one of the worksheets below (Worksheet 1, Worksheet 2, or Worksheet 3) that corresponds to their city.
  2. Have students assemble the Beijing, Taxila, and Samarkand stations using Materials/Resources listed above.
  3. Distribute Group Travel Log Instructions worksheet to entire class with instructions for students to follow, directing them to rotate through the three stations and create travel logs and posters.
  4. Have the class as a whole work on the Follow-Up Activity, following instructions and answering questions on Worksheet 4.