The Trans-Saharan Trade Simulation transports students to medieval West Africa at the high of the gold-salt trade. Students play one of four kingdoms, or two Berber clans as they navigate the treacherous Sahara, barter for goods, deal with religious conflict, and attempt to accumulate wealth.
Appropriate for grades 6-10, this simulation immerses your students in the world of medieval West Africa, and provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for, and run, the simulation.
While the simulation includes many historical facts and concepts, it focuses on the following key ideas:
The causes and effects of the gold-salt trade.
The role of trade in spreading economic goods, idea, and religion.
The role of supply and demand in setting prices.
The geography of North and West Africa.
This simulation may also be useful to draw connections to the following areas:
The Renaissance, which was fueled by West African gold.
The effect of Mansa Musa’s Hajj on European’s assumptions of Africa, and subsequent African colonization.
Students will benefit the most from this simulation if they have a working understanding of:
Islam and its spread
The geography of Africa
Table of Contents
1-2 Teacher Notes
3-4 Student Packet (Introduction and Meet the Teams)
5-9 Kingdom Info Sheets
10 Follow-Up Questions
11-17 Resource Sheets
The simulation can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks of class, depending on how much pre-teaching and post-teaching you do. This simulation is designed to run 5 years, from 1300 to 1304. Each year should take about 15 minutes.
Trans-Saharan Trade Simulation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International License.