Teacher's Guide for CALLIOPE: The Silk Road
Teacher guide prepared by: Peggy Epstein, Language Arts Teacher with 25 years experience from Shawnee Mission Schools, Overland Park, Kansas, and Hickman Mills School District, Kansas City, Missouri. Epstein has a Master's Degree in Instruction and Curriculum from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
For "The Silk Road in World History" (pages 4 - 7)
- to develop an understanding of what the Silk Road was and how it affected civilization
- to increase understanding and appreciation of religious diversity
- to increase historical perspective
- to improve comprehension skills (particularly by utilizing transitions, locating main points and identifying and defining proper nouns)
- to practice writing skills through a variety of activities,
both practical and creative
- to develop and enrich vocabulary
- to participate in small group and whole class activities
For "From Sheep to Shop" (pages 8 - 10)
- Remind students of the definition of a proper noun.
- Explain that articles will often begin with an interesting story (such as this one about Francis Youngblood), but that the main idea is often not stated until later in the article.
- Ask students to list the following proper nouns and to not only define but give the significance of each. (Why was each important in the story of the Silk Road?) This activity might best be utilized as a full-class activity and as an introduction to the issue.
- the "Great Game" Afghani Territory
- Central and Inner Asia Eurasian Steppes
- Silk Road: Oxus Civilization (see box p.6)
- Cyrus Wudi
- China Ghengis Khan
- Ask students to give reasons why trade on the Silk Road changed as time passed.
- Provide students with unlined paper. Instruct students to fold paper twice in each direction, creating four sections. (Use the
front and back, labeling the sections a - h.)
Assist students in creating an eight-part graphic which shows the
process of silk production.
- Draw a silk moth next to many tiny worms.
- Draw the worms eating mulberry leaves.
- Draw the same worms but make them fatter.
- Draw a worm making itself a cocoon.
- Draw people collecting cocoons.
- Draw people unwinding the cocoons.
- Draw a loom with someone spinning silk.
- Draw someone wearing a silk shirt or dress.
- To demonstrate the amount of silk on one cocoon, position students along all four walls of the classroom; ask one student to begin unwinding a spool of thread and pass it on. When the last student receives the spool, explain that what they see is approximately equal to silk on one cocoon.
For "The Spread of Religious Beliefs" (pages 11 - 13)
- Provide students with unlined paper. Instruct students to
fold paper twice, creating four sections. (They will use
the front and back, labeling the sections a - h.)
Assist students in creating an eight-part graphic which shows the
process of wool production.
- Draw a group of Nomads (stick figures are o.k.) with
tents and sheep on a pasture near a river. Label this picture "winter."
- Next draw the Nomads, their tents and sheep in the
mountains. Label this picture "spring."
- Next, draw them at the mouth of a river. (summer)
- Fall is the same as winter.
- Draw a teenager and a dog controlling a herd of sheep.
- Draw the sheep being sheared.
- Draw the women spinning the wool.
- Draw a bright-colored carpet made from the wool.
Note: While they did not try to convert others to Judaism, Jews played a seminal role in the Silk Roads trade. Jewish diaspora communities could be found in most of the major cities in Central and East Asia and in India. They often served as translators and middlemen along the way.
- Discuss the sentence at the beginning of the last paragraph
on page 13. "It is impressive that followers of so many faiths
interacted and influenced one another along the Silk Road." You might want to point out that a comparison could be made between the Silk Road and the Internet: people are able to share thoughts and ideas by being exposed to viewpoints they've never considered before.
- Locating the main points. Before students begin this activity, review transitions. Explain that looking for transitions will help them answer these questions, particularly "other," "another," "one of," and "also."
- Ask students to find the sentence which tells the basic beliefs of Buddhism. (1st sentence)
- Ask students to find the sentence which tells the
difference between what Indian Buddhists believed and what the Chinese believed. (last sentence which begins on page 11 and ends on page 12)
- Ask students to find a sentence which tells one way
that the Chinese adapted Buddhism to their lives. (1st full paragraph page 12)
- Ask students to find the sentence which tells the name of the main form of Christianity people would encounter along the Silk Road. (last line, first column, page 12)
- Ask students to find the name of two religions named for their founders. (Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism)
- Ask students to find the sentence which tells both the name of Islam's prophet and his advice. (next to the last paragraph)
For "Unifiers at the Crossroads of Asia" (pages 14 - 16)
For "A Secret Cave" (pages 18 - 20)
- Provide students with a blank world map and assist them in using the first paragraph to draw the perimeters of the four major farming civilizations. Ask students to list the names of those four civilizations under the map.
- Explain that Kushan civilization is now being called "a
lost civilization" because we have no written records from them. Ask students to make a list of ten facts we do, however, actually know about the Kushans.
Silk Production Study Questions:
For "A Musical Journey" (pages 29 - 31)
- How are the Dunhuang documents different from the official histories kept by Chinese magistrates at this time?
- Which of the documents would you most like to see (and
read in English translation)? Why?
- Why did the documents survive in such good condition?
- Where was paper invented?
- What is one item Auriel Stein brought away from the Silk Road?
Ask students to create a travel brochure or poster titled "Music and Dance on the Silk Road." In the brochure, students will describe (and draw if they wish) at least five different examples of music or dance they will hear if they undertake this journey. Note: Everyone will be admitted to the royal court.
If you would like to add a geography element to this lesson, a map
could be included which would show not only the destination for the
musical journey but also the route which would be taken to get there.
For "Your First Business Trip Along the Silk Road" (pages 34 - 37)
Letters from the Silk Road.
Students will select someone they would have written to about their journey (a parent or friend, perhaps). They will write three letters home in which they describe their adventures along the Silk Road. The
- Read the article aloud (or invite students to share in the reading).
- Ask students to discuss what kinds of reactions they might have had if they were actually present at these incidents.
- Take a time travel journey which magically allows students to write letters home before this was actually possible.
Students who finish early might like to look through the magazine and
find ideas from the illustrations for "decorating" their stationary.
- describe one incident each and
- tell the student's reaction to that incident.
If reviewing the "friendly letter" form is an objective,
students could write the letter in that form and then fold them in thirds with the writing inside and address the ⅓ page "envelope" this creates.
For "Finding the Right Word" (pages 8 - 10)
Here is an activity which will demonstrate the difference between the
difficulty in learning Chinese compared to learning an Indo-European language.
For "Sasanian Artifacts Tell Their Tales" (pages 40 - 42)
- Borrow a traveler's dictionary from the library and find a list of cognates (words that are much like English in Spanish and French). You'll need a dictionary which includes Chinese.
- Make an index card for each student in the class; write an
English word on this card.
- Find a time during the day - perhaps during reading time - to pass the dictionary around the class. Ask students to copy the Chinese
translation under the English word. Ask them to turn the card over and
write the French and Spanish words on the back. Cards should be put
away and not shared.
- For the last step in the lesson, ask students, one at a time, to hold up the French / Spanish side and ask their classmates to guess the English translation. Then ask students to try to pronounce the Chinese word. (Refer to pronunciation guide on page 3.)
Creating an advertisement.
Explain to students that they are each in charge of creating a full-page magazine ad in order to sell one of the four Sasanian artifacts pictured.
- Have students draw slips of paper numbered from "1" to "4."
Explain that each student will create an individual advertisement, but
they may work together in a group in order to determine accuracy in
their information and to peer edit.
- Provide students with construction paper and the following list of requirements for the ad:
- Tell the age of the item.
- Tell where the item came from.
- Tell what it is made from.
- Tell who probably made the item.
- Give all other important information .
- Give the selling price.
- Create some kind of visual.
- Groups of students may share their ads with the class.