Trade Route Timeline

Trade Route Timeline lesson plan

Travel ancient trade routes! What products were exchanged? Where were the major ports? How did traders cross land? Show these routes on a map.

  • 1.

    The Silk Road is one of the most famous trade routes. It was 700 miles long and spanned from China to the Roman Empires. The Chinese traded their silk for metals, precious stones, medicines, furs, and perfumes.

  • 2.

    The Incense Route was another ancient trade route where fragrances such as frankincense and myrrh and spices, gold, ivory, and precious stones were brought from southern Arabia, Ethiopia, and Somalia to the Roman market. The Tin and Amber Routes were also ancient trade routes.

  • 3.

    Research and locate these and other ancient trade routes. What products were traded? What methods of transportation were available? When were these routes used?

  • 4.

    Use Crayola® Washable Markers to draw a map covering several trade route areas on white posterboard. Use a Peters Projection map as a reference to make sure your areas are accurately sized.

  • 5.

    With different colors of yarn, diagram each trade route you researched. Include a key to identify the yarn color used for each trade route, dates the routes were used, and the map's scale.

  • 6.

    Shape Crayola Model Magic into replicas of some of the trade goods. Cover your art area with newspaper. Paint the items in authentic colors with Crayola Tempera and Paint Brushes. Dry.

  • 7.

    Draw other trade goods with Crayola Crayons and Colored Pencils on fabric scraps or paper. Cut them out with Crayola Scissors.

  • 8.

    Use Crayola School Glue to attach your trade goods to your Trade Route Timeline. Dry.


  • Students research details about ancient trade routes such as the silk, amber, tin, and incense routes.
  • Students apply their research to make a map showing the trade routes.
  • Students add details to maps, such as keys and samples of products traded.


  • With a friend, pretend you are two travelers on one of the trade routes. Act out different situations you could have encountered.
  • Set up a system of trade in your classroom. Discuss which objects you will trade. Make a trading post to implement your system.
  • Compare ancient trade routes to commerce today. What products are exchanged? How are they moved?
  • Vasco da Gama found the first sea route from Europe to India around the southern tip of Africa in 1497. How did this change trade?