Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

The Triangular Trade: Thinking About the Places

Subject Area

Digital Literacy and Computer Science
Social Studies




After being introduced to the history of enslavement in class, students will reflect on their previous informational texts and class discussions to recall places associated with the slave trade. Students will recognize centers of slave trade by collaboratively indicating countries and continents that were involved in slavery and the trade of enslaved persons using an online digital tool (Padlet). Students will use the online digital tool to determine the three main areas of concentration that formed the Triangular Trade Routes (Europe, Africa, and the Americas).

    Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 5


    Describe colonial economic life and labor systems in the Americas.

    Unpacked Content



    • economic
    • labor system
    • establishment
    • Triangular Trade Route
    • Hemisphere
    • Americas
    • Latin America
    • North America
    • South America
    • island


    Students know:
    • Each colony's economic life and labor system was unique and based on the geographic location of the colony.
    • Most slaves came from a variety of countries in Africa and were brought to the Americas by slave traders using the Triangular Trade Route.


    Students are able to:
    • Locate each colony on a physical and political map.
    • Describe and explain the types of labor used in each colony (indentured servitude, slaves, free blacks, merchants, farmers, shipping, fishing/whaling, among others).
    • Trace, examine and evaluate the Triangular Trade Route and its impact on colonial economy and labor systems.


    Students understand that:
    • Different labor systems were used to build and grow each of the 13 colonies.
    • Slave labor was brought to the Americas by the Northern colonial shipping industry and purchased and used in the Caribbean islands and Southern colonies.
    Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 5


    Recognizing centers of slave trade in the Western Hemisphere and the establishment of the Triangular Trade Route

    Digital Literacy and Computer Science (2018) Grade(s): 5


    Collaborate locally and globally using online digital tools under teacher supervision.

    Unpacked Content



    • collaborate
    • locally
    • globally
    • teacher supervision


    Students know:
    • communication and collaboration can occur locally in your city or state and globally across the US and different countries.
    • various methods for communication and collaboration.


    Students are able to:
    • collaborate with others locally and globally using digital tools with teacher supervision.


    Students understand that:
    • you are not restricted by your location, language, time zone, etc.
    • to collaboration with others using digital tools.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    The student will:

    • recognize centers of slave trade in the Western Hemisphere by indicating them on a map.
    • collaborate locally using an online digital map in Padlet.

    Activity Details

    The teacher will:

    1. Instruct the students to access the Padlet that was shared with them and show briefly how to add a location using the + icon.  
    2. Encourage students to recall (from the informational texts used in the associated learning activities) as many continents and countries that were involved in the trade of enslaved persons.  Each student should add as many places as they can remember that have not already been added by another student.  
    3. When the allotted time is up, project the Padlet map and discuss with the class all the places named. Add any important ones that are missing, making sure Europe, Africa, and the Americas are included.  Guide students in noting the 3 main concentrations of places (Europe, Africa, and the Americas), and explain that those 3 areas were involved in a type of trade of enslaved people that we now call the Triangular Trade. Allow the students the opportunity to deduce how the routes that connect those 3 areas of concentration roughly form a triangle on the map. 
    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    Monitor students as they enter places on the Padlet map.  Check to verify that the students collaborated using the online tool and that they correctly added centers of the slave trade (most notably focusing on the 3 areas of concentration - Europe, Africa, and the Americas).  If using this unit plan, the places mentioned in the informational texts were:

    • Africa
    • American colonies
    • Americas (North, Central, and South)
    • Angola
    • Benin
    • Brazil
    • Confederate States of America
    • Europe
    • France
    • Great Britain or Britain
    • Holland
    • Nigeria
    • Portugal
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Togo
    • United States of America
    • West Indies (Caribbean Islands)


    • If you have one or more students who need an extra challenge, you may want to share a copy of a separate Padlet map with them and allow them to include a narrative description of how each place was involved in the history of slavery and/or the Triangular Trade Route.  
    • Another option is to use an online drawing tool, such as Google Draw, to allow advanced students to draw their own map of the world and label the places they remember from the informational texts.  


    • Allow the students time to access their previous informational texts and guided notes documents from those texts to help them recall the places named or provide a list of the places you want them to note on the map.  
    • Students who have trouble using the online tool may use a printed map or simply write a list of place names if it is not necessary to teach the Digital Literacy standard.

    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    0 to 15 Minutes

    Related Learning Activities

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Student Preparation:

    The students should already have knowledge of the overall history of slavery and have read some informational texts related to the topic. If you have taught the previous related learning activities in this unit (insert link to unit here), your students will have that background knowledge.  

    Teacher Preparation:

    The teacher will need to remake the Padlet, share it with students digitally, give them editing rights, and be familiar with how to add a location using the + icon at the bottom right of the map. The teacher will also need to be familiar with the continents and countries listed in the informational texts (used in previous the related learning activity History of Enslavement) that were involved with slavery and the slave trade. 

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources


    • Access to the Padlet previously set up by the teacher
    • Digital device
    • Notes and/or informational texts about the history of slavery from previous learning activities


    • A remake (copy) of the Padlet template to be shared with students (requires a free Padlet account).  Use the … menu on the right side of the Padlet to choose the Remake This Padlet option to make a copy that you can share with your students. Edit the share settings so that your students can write on the Padlet.  
    • Classroom projector or interactive whiteboard
    • List of continents and countries from the previous informational texts that were listed as being involved in the trade of enslaved people

    Digital Tools / Resources