Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 4PM, Day 5) – Fact and Fiction: The New World
Today’s topic of discussion was the Columbian Exchange, a term coined to talk about the movement of animals, plants, pathogens, and people that occurred between the Old World (Africa, Asia, Europe) and the New World (the Americas) in the wake of the Spanish conquest. We began class by listing all the food products we ate yesterday, and guessed at their Old World or New World origins. We then learned more information about the effects of the exchange, both positive (rising world prosperity and varied diets), and negative (devastation of indigenous Americans due to smallpox). Students then got to try their hand at trading in the Columbian Exchange, as each one was assigned a role (farmer, soldier, priest, etc.) in either Old or New World societies. They traded goods first within their own society pre-1492, and then in the Columbian Exchange post-1492. Many students found they were positively impacted by the trade, but some succumbed to Old World diseases or were subjected to slavery. We then took an in-depth look at the A-Z of products that originated in the New World, and discovered that our lives would be greatly diminished without them! Finally, we had story-time, as we read the creation stories from Quiché Maya tradition, and from the Judeo-Christian tradition. We discovered that each of the traditions had a distinct relationship to the natural world, but both incorporated their most important products: maize (New World) and wheat (Old World).