A Worldwide Learning Experience

August 1, 2017 Published by Ana Nuncio

On Wednesday, July 19, students from this year’s Caribbean Connections program visited The Gables for the Worldwide Trading Game and a tour of The House of the Seven Gables. Their visit was part of a five-week program that is a cornerstone of The House of the Seven Gables settlement mission.

Caribbean Connections, now in its fourth season, is offered to English language learners attending Salem’s public schools. This year’s group includes students from the Bentley, Bowditch, Carlton, Horace Mann, Salem Academy, and Saltonstall schools. The program is housed this summer at Saltonstall School, thanks to our partnership with the Salem Public School district.

The Worldwide Trading Game began with a brief presentation about the trade economy of the 17th and 18th century Atlantic world. The students were excited to see the replica fur pelt and piloncillo, or cone-shaped brown-sugar on display while Ana Nuncio, Manager of Settlement Partnerships, described the rules and strategy of the game.

Students separated into four teams to play the roles of various merchant groups: English, Colonial, West Indian, and Native American. With commodity cards representing 17th century trade goods in hand, the students rushed to make lucrative transactions with the other teams. The team who finished the game with the most valuable store of goods was declared the winner.

There were some surprises along the way, however. Reflecting the risks associated with shipping in the 17th and 18th centuries, these modern-day merchants faced unforeseen perils:  shipwreck, and an embedded spy on one of the teams. These hazards that were part of being a merchant on the open sea, are like the risks that still play a role in our economy today. As the students learned during the game, risk often culminates in reward, but working hard, working smart, and understanding the world around you can help lead to achievement.

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This post was written by Ana Nuncio