History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

6. What impact did trade along the Silk Roads have on the Tang Dynasty?

This lesson focuses on the concept of trade, exploring some of the ways in which the Tang Dynasty benefitted from trade along the Silk Roads. This lesson therefore focuses on the under used concept of consequences.

Students are introduced to the sheer scale of the trade opportunities available by means of a description from an eighth-century Chinese trader: in the description, the trader acquires such items as pearls, horses, parrots and tapestries, sourcing these goods from far and wide.

Next, students plot the locations from which objects, goods and ideas entering Tang Dynasty China originated, a task which helps them to visualise the impressive interconnectedness of Asia, Europe and even North Africa by virtue of the Silk Roads.

Then, they categorise the consequences of this trade for the Tang Dynasty, before they are challenged to think more deeply about the historical skill of consequence – reflecting on positive and negative consequences, as well as short-term and long-term impacts.

Finally, students draw on their new knowledge to compose reports for the Chinese emperor, offering him advice about the trade policy he ought to adopt.

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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Worksheet 1 & 2: PDF

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