Let’s Make A Deal!

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Introduction:  My name is Nancy Maurer and I teach American history, 1492-1877 (AMH 2010.)  This is a lesson plan for Mercantilism.

Mercantilism is an economic system used by European nations in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The British implemented mercantilism in the American colonies using a series of acts called the Navigation Acts.  While mercantilism worked well for the British (they grew quite wealthy,) it had mixed results in the American colonies.  Economic theories can be perceived by students as being “too hard to understand.”  However, having a clear understanding of mercantilism is critical to understanding why the colonists grew increasingly disgruntled with the British – mercantilism was a major cause of the American Revolution.

Media:  I will be using an infographic to help explain mercantilism.  I will also be including a YouTube video (7.24 minutes) which summarizes mercantilism and gives it a current day application.  Here are the links for both:

Infographic on Mercantilism

YouTube: The Origins of Mercantilism

Writing Prompt: After placing students (2-4) in small groups, they will discuss how mercantilism impacted colonists in a particular colonial region: the New England colonies, Middle colonies, or Southern colonies. THEN, I will have students write a 2-minute paper in which they explain mercantilism.

Other things I would include in this lesson plan:

– I would start the class with a formative assessment by asking students to share their definitions of mercantilism.  (This would have been a preparation assignment given to the students in the previous class period.)

– After compiling a class definition of mercantilism, I would expand on the who, what, where, when, and whys of mercantilism using PowerPoint presentation.  This is where I would include the infographic.

– To reinforce the PowerPoint presentation, I would show students the YouTube video.

– Small group discussions with no more than 4 students per group

– I woud end the class with the 2- minute paper.  This is a summative assessment and would be graded.


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