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Trade This, Trade That: Chaco Culture National Historical Park

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Students will demonstrate an understanding of trading.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America The Beautiful Quarters


Students will demonstrate an understanding of trading.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies


  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts



  • An age-appropriate text about trading
  • Scissors


Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at

  1. Display and examine the Chaco Culture National Historical Park quarter design. Locate this site in New Mexico on a class map. As background information, explain to the students that the United States Mint began to issue the quarters in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program in 2010. By the time the program ends in 2021, there will be a total of 56 designs on the back of the coin. Each design will focus on a different national site—one from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
  2. Demonstrate trading for the students. Read the students a text on trading.
  3. Describe trading as an exchange of one thing for another. Tell the students that before there was money, people in the past used to trade in order to get the goods that they needed. Discuss what things may have been traded and what may have been needed back then and record them on a class chart.
  4. Tell the students that the Chacoan people traded and bartered as a means of acquiring what they needed.
  5. Introduce the students to the “Trade Me This, Trade Me That” worksheets. Explain to them that they are going to use the things on their worksheet to trade with others to get the goods they need based on the description on the worksheet. Discuss whether each student was able to obtain the goods that they needed and how it felt to trade instead of using modern methods to get the goods they needed,
There are no modification options for this lesson plan.
  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students’ worksheets for understanding of the lesson objectives.

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Production, Distribution, and Consumption
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • enable learners to explain how the scarcity of productive resources (human, capital, technological, and natural) requires the development of economic systems to make decisions about how goods and services are to be produced and distributed
  • help learners analyze the role that supply and demand, prices, incentives, and profits play in determining what is produced and distributed in a competitive market system
  • help learners compare the costs and benefits to society of allocating goods and services through private and public means
  • assist learners in understanding the relationships among the various economic institutions that comprise economic systems such as households, businesses, banks, government agencies, labor unions, and corporations
  • guide learner analysis of the role of specialization and exchange in economic processes
  • provide opportunities for learners to assess how values and beliefs influence private and public economic decisions in different societies
  • have learners compare basic economic systems according to how they deal with demand, supply, prices, the role of government, banks, labor and labor unions, savings and investments, and capital
  • challenge learners to apply economic concepts and reasoning when evaluating historical and contemporary social developments and issues
  • enable learners to distinguish between domestic and global economic systems, and explain how the two interact
  • guide learners in the application of economic concepts and principles in the analysis of public issues such as the allocation of health care or the consumption of energy, and in devising economic plans for accomplishing socially desirable outcomes related to such issues
  • help learners critically examine the values and assumptions underlying the theories and models of economics
  • help learners to distinguish between economics as a field of inquiry and the economy