Silk Road Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to teach your students about the history of the Silk Roads, their impact on civilizations, and reasons for their importance. Then play a game to test student understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the Silk Road
  • summarize the history of the Silk Road
  • defend the importance of the Silk Road
  • demonstrate understanding of key ideas in text


  • 1 hour


  • Sets of index cards labeled 'Fact' and 'Faked' (one set for each student grouping)
  • Transcript copies of our lesson, one for each student

Key Vocabulary

  • Silk Road
  • Dynasty
  • Han Dynasty
  • Persian Royal Road
  • Emperor Wu
  • Mongol Empire
  • Precedent

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.3

Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.10

By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


  • Begin by showing students a map of Asia where the Silk Road existed. Have them discuss ways to navigate without modern technology.
  • Tell students they will be learning about an ancient road system called the Silk Road. Brainstorm reasons for the name.
  • Show students our video lesson What is the Silk Road? - Goods & Ideas Crossing China.
  • Together with the class, identify (on the map) and list the countries that used the Silk Roads.
  • Discuss:
    • What was the importance of the Silk Road?
    • What role did the Silk Road play in spreading ideas, technology, and wealth? Explain.
    • What impact did the Han Dynasty have on the Silk Road?
    • Are there any reasons the Silk Road impacted civilizations or individuals negatively? Explain.


  • Tell students they will play a game called 'Fact or Faked'.
  • Hand out text copies of our lesson. Have students create two statements from the lesson, one true and one not true. Encourage them to be creative and unique by writing statements others are not likely to be repeated.
  • To play, divide students into small groups, partner pairs, or individuals depending on your class needs. Collect statements and read them one by one.
  • After reading, students or groups confer and determine if the statement is fact or faked and hold up the appropriate card.
  • Continue with remaining cards. Keep score if desired. Discuss answers and reasons.


  • Travel the Silk Road with students. Create a passport and 'visit' cities, researching goods and services traded.
  • Create your own version of the Silk Roads. Use candy to barter/trade. Discuss why some had more value than others even if prices are similar.
  • Have students write an imaginary journal of their travels along the Silk Road. Use reference books for historical accuracy.

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