Jessica Dowell
Educational Technology, World History
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
10, 11
  • Columbian Exchange
  • Exploration
  • Iowa K-12 E-Curriculum
  • Mercantilism
  • Slave Trade
  • Template
  • World History
  • iowa-k-12-e-curriculum
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Education Standards

    Exploration Station Rotation


    There are many different topics within exploration that students have some background information with.  Topics like the Atlantic Slave Trade and the Columbian Exchange are parts of history that students either have background knowledge on or they are easy for students to grasp.  However, there are other topics, like mercantilism and triangular trade, that students struggle with.  This lesson is designed to be done in an 80-minute period (or more), or over the course of two days.  It allows students some autonomy to work on their own, and to take the notes that they need, but also allows the teacher to lead a portion of the lesson and clarify any quesitons that might arise.

    Exploration Station Rotation

    Step #1: Divide students into 3 groups.  They do not necessarily have to work in groups, but these will be their rotation groups so that you know who you are working with next.

    Step #2: Post the links to the video lessons for students to access (listed in the resources).

    Step #3: Students will watch the two Crash Course videos and the video on mercantilism.  Have them rotate every 15-20 minutes.  They can take more time if they need (or go back to topics), or can move on if they're ready, but the time limit helps to keep them on track for the period.

    Step #4: For the first rotation, the instructor will not have any students; this will allow them to help students get started on the day's work, answer questions, etc.  Starting with the 2nd rotation, the instructor will meet with the students who have just finished the mercantilism video.

    Step #5: For the group that meets with the instructor, they will learn about triangular trade and how mercantilism fits into the overall concept of trade.  The instructor should also clarify the differences between triangular trade and the Columbian Exchange.  At the end of every 15-20 minutes, stations will rotate.

    Step #6 (optional): For accountability purposes, the instructor can choose to have students submit their notes over the Crash Course videos.

    Step #7: Exit Ticket question is posted for students to answer before they come to class the next day.

    There are many important topics within Exploration that all go together and help to build the whole "European exploration" picture.  However, you have had prior exposure to some of these topics in previous classes.  Becuase of the different levels of content knowledge, we are doing something today called "station rotation."  You will have the period to work on either gathering information or refreshing your understanding of the following topics:

    • Atlantic Slave Trade
    • Columbian Exchange
    • Mercantilism

    You are expected to take whatever notes you need in order to fully demonstrate your understanding of the above topics.  I will let you know when we will rotate to the next topic; if you don't need as much time as I'm giving you to work, please feel free to move to the next topic.  If you need more time, please feel free to keep working.

    There is one rotation period that you will spend with me, so that we can clarify your understanding of mercantilism (its an economic theory, which is sometimes confusing), and look at how it fits into the broader concept of triangular trade.

    Exit Ticket:  Before you come to the next class, please answer the following question:

    In your own words, please explain the connection between mercantilism, the Columbian Exchange and the Atlantic Slave Trade.  You should incorporate information gained from each station.  This should not be a simple, single sentence answer; you are looking to demonstrate your understanding of how these concepts connect together.