What should be the priorities of U.S. trade policy?
Second edition. February 2017.
PREVIEW THIS UNIT. Preview includes the table of contents, a student reading excerpt, and one lesson plan. PREVIEW ALL UNITS. Additional unit descriptions for the Current Issues Series that summarize the historical context, student readings, and skill development are available on this MIRO BOARD.

International Trade in a Globalized World helps students understand the basics of international trade and consider its role in this era of globalization. What economic policy choices will strengthen the national and global economies? What values, beliefs, and interests should form the bases for these economic policy choices? The unit is divided into two parts. Each part includes:

  • Student readings
  • Accompanying study guides, graphic organizers, and key terms
  • Lessons aligned with the readings that develop analytical skills (including at least one that focuses on building geographic literacy) and can be completed in one or more periods
  • Videos that feature leading experts

This unit also includes an Options Role Play as the key lesson and an additional synthesis lesson that allows students to synthesize new knowledge for assessment. You do not need to use the entire unit; feel free to select what suits your classroom needs.

“I love the Choices Program and always look to it first when I want to incorporate a simulation or student-driven activity in the classroom. Sometimes I only use a lesson or two, other times I use almost the entire unit, depending on the situation. Often I will use various lessons interspersed over several weeks.” – Amanda, History and Government Teacher, Arizona

Part I: A Short History of the Current Economic Systems

Part I examines the history of the current economic system and the changes brought about by globalization. There are two lessons aligned with Part I: 1) Charting International Trade, and 2) Why Countries Trade.

Part II: The Effects of Global Trade

Part II considers the effects of these changes—and U.S. trade policy—on people in the United States and around the world. There are two lessons aligned with Part II: 1) Evaluating the Impact of Economic Trade, and 2) Analyzing Trade Statistics.


Charting International Trade

Students record and map the countries of origin of clothing products in the classroom to demonstrate the impacts of trade.

Why Countries Trade

Playing different imaginary countries, students trade bread and cell phones in a highly structured simulation. Students consider the incentives for trade and explore the concept of comparative advantage.

Evaluating the Impact of Economic Change

Students identify sources of opportunity and anxiety associated with economic globalization by understanding diverse perspectives of characters from different countries and social groups.

Analyzing Trade Statistics

Working collaboratively to evaluate statistical data, students consider the causes and effects of trends in global manufacturing trade since 1948.

The Options Role Play

The Options Role Play is the key lesson in the unit, and it asks students to examine four distinct options for U.S. trade policy in preparation for writing their own option.

Opposing Views on International Trade

Synthesis Lesson: Students deliberate and articulate coherent recommendations for U.S. trade policy based on personally held values and historical understanding. They consider speeches on trade by Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama.

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