Lesson Plan

Trade: How much is that?

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
State Standards:
SC 3-2.3:  Describe initial contact, cooperation, & conflict btw Native Americans & European settlers in SC.
SC 4-2.4: Summarize the relationship among the Native Americans, Europeans, & Africans, inc. French & Indian War, slave revolts, & trade.


At the end of this activity, the student will be able to:
- describe conflicts between the Native Americans and Europeans over unfair trade practices.
-summarize the relationship among Native Americans and Europeans in reference to the conduct of trade.


It is documented in the book Cherokee Voices by Vicki Rozema, that the Native Americans complained to Governor Glen about being cheated by traders. The Governor determined a standard for trade in order to keep peace with the Natives. The standard price list will be used for this activity.


Download Laminated readers theater with highlighted parts.


In the Logan Log Cabin students will re-enact a trade scenario. In the haversack labeled Trade Activity, there are laminated copies of the price list and roles. Pass out roles to students. The student with the role of trader will charge unfair prices to the some of the settlers. The roles will consist of a Native American, an Irishman and a Couple. The Native American will barter for a gun. The Irishman will barter for a Brass Kettle. The French trader will barter for a riding saddle. The English couple will barter for silver earbobs and a pair of men’s shoes. 

Teacher: We are in the Logan Log Cabin. This is typical of what would have been built during colonial times. Notice the gaps between the boards, what do you think they used to fill it in? (Wait, answer is mud or clay.) Today we are going to do a trade activity. Robert Gouedy was a trader in this area, along the Cherokee Path. 

The Cherokee Path was a trail that the Native Americans used to trade with other natives all the way to the coast and Charleston. Gouedy built a trading post that would have looked a lot like this cabin. Where do you think the colonial people or settlers even Native Americans would have gone to get things they couldn’t make, grow or hunt? (The purpose of this question is to have students understand that the trading post was like a store.) So back then, what do you think the settlers used to buy these items? (The purpose of this question is to have students understand that settlers did not have money, that they traded deer skins to get the items they needed. 

Deer hides were highly sought after in Great Britain at that time due to the lack of availability.) Settlers and Native Americans traded deer skins to get the items they needed. How did settlers get their deer skins? (The purpose of this question is for students to understand that settlers had to hunt or trap to get fur skins.) So it might take a settler a long time to get 6 or 7 deer skins. Can anyone tell me the difference between a buck and a doe? (They purpose of this question is for students to understand that a buck skin is larger than a does skin, therefore it takes 2 doe skins to equal 1 buck skin.) 

During this time, traders weren’t exactly fair to the people in the backcountry, this area of SC. If you were from a different background, like a Native American, then the trader might not give you a fair price. If you were a Frenchman, you might not get a fair price. It all depends on if the trader likes you or not! 

I am going to give some of you a card. I want you to read the card and act it out. Now the people that are represented are people that would have lived in this area during the 1750. There is an Irishman, a French trader, a Native American, an Englishman and woman. Finally, one of you will be Robert Gouedy, the trader. He has the most important part! He knows how much each item costs but let’s see if he is going to be a fair man! (Teacher will pass out parts.) 

Closing: So what did we learn from this activity? (Students should be able to explain that traders were not fair to everyone, especially Native Americans.)


Trade: to buy and sell goods and services

Barter: to exchange goods and services for other goods and services.

Assessment Materials

Off-Site Journal Reflections

How would you feel if someone charged you an unfair price?

Why do we call a dollar bill or money “buck”?

Contact Information

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Last updated: August 19, 2016