From Silk to Oil

Contains essays and curriculum on geography, ethnic relations, exchange of goods, religions, art. Contains 1 Booklet and 1 CD-ROM.
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China Institute
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Curriculum Unit
Average: 4 (3 votes)


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From Silk to Oil in a World Language Classroom

Field of Interest/Specialty: Foreign Language
Posted On: 12/02/2017

This curriculum guide offers a lot to teachers of World History, Geography, and English classes at a high school level, but it is not appropriate for cultural comparisons in an Elementary World Language Classroom. "From Silk to Oil, Cross-Cultural Connections Along the Silk Road" does an excellent job of making history come alive with a series of personal narratives by five different people through out the history of the Silk Road. The guide examines geography, history, religion, tradition, economy and more, all explored with literature through personal perspectives. There is so much information to be compared and integrated with knowledge of Western culture to allow students to expand their understanding of global connections and world history. The guide allows the teacher to explore the influences that trade and commerce exchange that go far beyond money. The curriculum guide is well done, but it is designed for high school students, unfortunately, I will not be able to use it in my elementary Spanish classes.

A Comprehensive Unit on the Silk Road

Field of Interest/Specialty: Gifted Education
Posted On: 06/01/2011

Janice Kuhn, Secondary Gifted Support Teacher, Trinity Area High School, Grades 9-12
This is a very comprehensive curriculum that has numerous uses within the classroom. As is obvious from the curriculum’s name, this spiral-bound book covers several thematic topics to connect the various cultures on the Silk Road instead of treating the various countries simply as separate entities. Additionally the curriculum comes with a CD-ROM which replicates the text of the book except that more of the pictures are in color and there are many hot links which take the curriculum out onto the internet for a more in-depth look at the topics at hand. One such link is to the British Museum for additional information about a piece of artwork.
There are five major themes included in this 23-unit curriculum. They are geography, ethnic religious and political history, exchange of goods and ideas, religions, and art. Each of the units includes lesson plans, documents, pictures, maps, tables, and questions or reflections for the students. I found the material to be a nice mix of words and pictures. There is also a Silk Road Game within this resource.
The lessons seem easy to follow and are planned well.
While the authors intend this resource to be used for high school and lower level college or community college courses, I believe that some of the material could be used in a differentiated classroom at the middle school level. The advanced students could be challenged by interacting with the primary sources or internet resouces to extend a lesson. Some of the questions seemed to be too simple for advanced high school or some college settings. However, since many high school classes do not cover the cultures included in this resource, the sheer uniqueness might keep students interested.
The sheer breadth of material covered makes this resource one that could be used by teachers in several disciplines. Additional resources at the end of the book include a comprehensive glossary, bibliography, a section of additional resources such as websites, and listings of outreach centers and museums. Perhaps one piece that is missing is music, and I think that connecting some of the material in this curriculum to YoYo Ma’s Silk Road Project would provide an additional dimension to the curriculum.

(Curriculum Review) From Silk to Oil: Cross-Cultural Connections Along The Silk Road

Field of Interest/Specialty: World History, Human Geography, Religion, Asian Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies
Posted On: 05/25/2010

Matthew Sudnik
Grades 9-12
World History & Geography I
Central Catholic High School
From Silk to Oil, a curriculum guide, is appropriate for any world history course from grades 9-12. It emphasizes the themes of global studies. According to Morris Rossabi, in the introduction, “Growing scholarly and pedagogical concern for global history has resulted in the writings of secondary studies of great value to teachers seeking to impart educational themes related to the Silk Roads” (4). For any teacher aiming to augment the global studies material in one’s history courses, this curriculum guide is an excellent resource.
The guide is divided into essays and curriculum units organized around five topics: geography, ethnic relations and political history, exchange of goods and ideas, religions, and art. The essays are concise but detailed enough to enhance the students’ understanding of these important themes.
The curriculum section includes detailed annotated maps for study and blank maps for students to identify locations and routes. It also includes games and quizzes, photos and handouts. While I have not used this curriculum guide, I will give it my full endorsement primarily due to its comprehensive nature. Some teachers may be concerned that the curriculum is too long, too narrow, or a distraction from their required textbook. On the contrary, From Silk to Oil covers all of the major points of any Asian history course: from Han China (Unit D) through the spread of Islam (Unit E), subjects that I teach in World History I. For teachers of World History II or Modern History there are extensive units on China’s Uyghurs, the Kazachs and Russians, and the Silk Roads today that engage the past as well as current history. Section 4 of the curriculum guide offers units on World Religions, especially Buddhism and Islam. Section 5, on art, includes units on Buddhist and Islamic Art as well as cave paintings and the diffusion of art on the Silk Roads.
In summary, this curriculum guide is thorough, current, and comprehensive. It can enhance any world history, religion, or art course individually or serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary cooperation between teachers of history, politics, religion and art.