Overview


The following learning tools build off the six-part series Spice Migrations, written by Jeff Koehler and illustrated by Linda Dalal Sawaya, to highlight social-studies concepts and explanations while building reading comprehension skills. Each learning tool builds a timeline and plots the locations of historical moments on a world map.

Cinnamon: Where did it come from?

Overview


The story Spice Migrations: Cinnamon, written by Jeff Koehler and illustrated by Linda Dalal Sawaya, focuses on one of the most-common spices around the world, one that was once scarce and mysterious. Early merchants kept the origins of cinnamon a secret and so kept a lock on the valuable spice trade. Eventually, the secret got out, and cinnamon became the ubiquitous spice it is today.

Key Terms


As you read the article, you will notice the words below. See if you can figure out what these words mean based on their context. Then click on the words below to see if you’re right.
  • Al-Ramhormuzi
  • Anointing oil
  • Ayurvedic medicine
  • Cremation
  • Dexterity
  • Embalming
  • Herodotus
  • Kibbeh
  • Malay
  • Monsoon
  • Nard
  • Pervasive
  • Pilaf
  • Pliny the Elder
  • Pungent
  • Sinhalese

Key Concepts


This learning tool lends itself to learning three foundational social studies concepts:

  • the economic concept of scarcity;
  • the historical concept of turning point;
  • and the concept of migration.

Warm up


Before reading the article or doing the activities, discuss these three questions.

  • What do you associate with cinnamon?
  • Is it common in the foods you eat? Explain.
  • Is it expensive, easily affordable, or somewhere in between?

Timeline


In this activity, build a timeline of events connected to the migration of cinnamon from the earliest times to the present.

Mapping Activity


In this activity, map the migration of cinnamon from Asia to Europe.

Pepper: King of the Spices

New mini lesson coming September 2022. Check back for updates.

Overview


The story Spice Migrations: Pepper, written by Jeff Koehler and illustrated by Linda Dalal Sawaya, focuses on one of the most-common spices around the world. History records show how pepper has been a food enhancer since the time of the Greeks and Romans. Originating from India, pepper has experienced trade that has carried it from Asia to the Middle East. In the 1500s its shortage in Europe helped spur the Age of Exploration.

Key Terms


  • Globalization
  • Ibn Battuta
  • Jiddah
  • Kerala
  • Kochi
  • Kozhikode
  • Levant
  • Madinah
  • Makkah
  • Malabar Coast
  • Zayton

Key Concepts


This learning tool lends itself to learning three foundational social studies concepts:

  • the economic concept of scarcity;
  • the economic concept of globalization;
  • the historical concept of turning point;
  • and the concept of migration.

Warm Up


Before reading the article or doing the activities, discuss these three questions:

  • What do you think of when you hear the word pepper?
  • Do you use pepper in the foods you eat? Explain.
  • Do you think pepper is expensive or easily affordable? Explain.

Timeline Activity


In this activity, build a timeline of events connected to the migration of pepper from the earliest times to the present.

Mapping Activity


In this activity, map the migration of pepper from Asia to Europe.