Lesson Plan

The Silk Road: Marketing Goods

AL COS Standards
Social Studies & World History: Objective 7G.7.1, Objective 7G.7.4, Objective 8.8.2, Objective 8.8.3
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Graphic of a blue map showing the silk road routes.

The Silk Road

Despite its name, the Silk Road was not an actual road made of silk. Instead, the Silk Road was a network of trade routes where goods such as spices, wine, ivory, metals, and of course, silk were exchanged across the ancient world. We often talk about the value of the goods that were exchanged via the Silk Road, but we don’t always talk about the ideas, philosophies, religions, and cultural practices that were exchanged. For example, the Silk Road helped spread Buddhism outside of India.


Students will imagine themselves as merchants picking out goods to sell online, they will research objects from the BMA’s smartguide and Collection page, and choose an object that they think will earn the most money in the marketplace. They may also choose objects that represent ideas, like Buddhism and market those as well. They will then create a social media ad to try and sell their object to the class using evidence as to why the object/idea was considered valuable at the time. 


  • Gain understanding of major global trends
  • Gain understanding of the value of global exchanges and encounters
  • Think critically about why objects were used in the past and present
  • Think critically about how objects were moved and traded
  • Identify the different purposes and styles of objects

Key Terms

  • Natural resources
  • Technology
  • Buddhism
  • Silk Road



  1. Watch The Silk Road and Ancient Trade Crash Course video
  2. Provide each student with the worksheet, Finding Silk Road Goods and Marketing Them
  3. Discuss overview and objectives
  4. Divide students into groups/pairs (or make an individual project if distance learning)
  5. As a class, explore the BMA’s smartguide and the BMA’s collection page 
    • Hint: type in key words into the collection page to find typical objects traded on the Silk Road
    • Example key words: porcelain, spice, silver, ivory, silk, glass, Buddhist
  6. Discuss considerations for selecting an item. Think about artistic skill, natural resources, size, fragility, weight, demand. Review the How to Evaluate an Object section provided in the slides below
  7. In groups, students will: 
    • Reference the categories and information provided on the smartguide and BMA Collection page for information regarding the objects
    • Choose an object that they think will earn the most money in the online marketplace
    • Download the object image or sketch the item on the worksheet
    • Fill in the information on the worksheet 
    • Design a social media ad persuading the rest of the students in the class to buy their item. This can be an Instagram post with text, a digital design, or a sketch on the provided worksheet. Students can use Canva (free design website), Google Slides, PowerPoint, or Keynote to design the ad


Post (present to the class) their ad to the other merchants. Have the group read what they wrote on their worksheet to persuade the class to buy their item. Have students raise their hands as individuals (not as a group) to vote on the objects they would like to purchase.