I wanted them to experience one of the premises of the fur trade -- bartering. The act of trading items of value for something else.
We did this through a Book Barter. Any of my students who wanted to participate brought in books from home that they had read and no longer wanted. (I told them to get their parents' permission first.)
Before our bartering session, we talked about how much value certain books had to us. Sometimes, we had to give more to get less.
I had brought in a copy of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself book to demonstrate. When my students saw my book, almost everyone instantly wanted it. Some students offered me five of their books in return for my one. (I ended up making a one-to-one trade for a Titanic book that I really wanted.)
We then brought this back to our study of the fur trade. How had the Native Americans and explorers given up the things they had for something that had more value for them?
How do you bring learning to life in your classroom?