International Cooperation vs. Isolationism

Common Core Reading and Writing:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 — Reading
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.1 — Writing
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2 — Comprehension and Collaboration
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.10 — Reading
Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Common Core History (taken from my school’s database for standards):

Reading Standards for Literacy in History Social Studies:
Craft and Structure: 11,12: 11-12.RH.05
ANALYZE in detail how a complex primary source is structured including how key sentences paragraphs and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.

Reading Standards in Literacy in History Social Studies:
Key Ideas and Details: 11,12: 11-12.RH.03:
Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Reading Standards in Literacy in History Social Studies:
Craft and Structure: 11,12: 11-12.RH.06:
EVALUATE authors differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors claims reasoning and evidence.

Students will be able to evaluate mercantilism during the Age of Revolution and the transformation into Capitalism and Free Markets.

Students will examine the issues of global trade and competition through two simulation activities.

Students will then apply the information to current trade negotiations in present day, specifically the United States and Japan’s support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Day 1:
– Warm up: “Why would countries search for international trade?”
– Students will receive nine cards. These cards are the “Nine Tenets of Mercantilism” by Philipp Wilhelm von Hornick. Students will read the 9 Tenets and put them into their own words (attached with this document).
– Students will categorize or group these nine tenets however they please in order of how they work together or ranking.
– At the end of ten minutes, the students will explain why they grouped their cards the way that they did, while the teacher writes common themes on the board.
– Prezi on Mercantilism.
– Scarcity Simulation (tragedy of the commons) Place several marbles/gems/jolly ranchers in the center of the room. Explain that each item is worth a certain value and each item left in the center will continue to grow in value each round (I use the example of fish growing bigger and more profitable). The goal is to be the richest person in the room. Add variables of students losing their value, adding more to the pot and taking away from the pot. This game may be done as many rounds or as little as student behavior (can be physical if a student takes it too far) and interest allow for.
– Exit: “What problems do you see with Mercantilism?”

Day 2:
– Warm up: “Did Mercantilism create good relations with other countries? Why or why not?”
– Continue Prezi introducing Adam Smith:
– International trade Simulation. Each student will receive a different item or piece of candy. Students will place a value to that item. As a class, add up the total value of items that the students set themselves (example: jolly rancher 15 cents, tootsie roll 5 cents). In Round 2, students are allowed to trade with the person directly next to them. Based off of if students traded or not, they place a second value on their items. A class total is added up again. In the third round, allow students to trade their item with anyone in the room. Have the students then put a value on their current item after being allowed to trade with the entire class. Total up the value of the class items. (Note: If the simulation worked properly, each round with trade, the value of items should go up and the collective “wealth” of the group will as well. I have had where it did not work because some students valued their item as worthless and kept lowering it. Just explain they then would be a bankrupt country or person.) Have a discussion afterwards based on results. Activity takes around 20-30 minutes.
– Writing Activity: Students will compare the two simulations to each other in two paragraphs using vocabulary and knowledge of the time period. Writing prompt must compare the ideas behind international cooperation compared to personal wealth. Students must write in complete sentences and use proper grammar/spelling.

Day 3:
– Allow for 15-20 minutes to complete Writing Activity.
– Prezi on Japan
– Provide Students with two readings: as the first reading providing why Japan would want the free trade agreement.
– Start on page 18 in this Economix.
– Students will then answer reading guides with each article provided (attached with this file).
– Discuss articles as a group.
– Complete Prezi on Japan after discussion.

9 Tenants of Mercantilism

  • Shane Lesher
  • Burlington County Institute of Technology Westampton
Time Frame
  • 3 80-minute periods

If you have any questions about this lesson plan, or if you wish to contact the author, please email us at [email protected]