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Topic - Geography and History

Summer Term Topic

This term our topic is Going Global. In History children will learn about the history of global trade. In Geography they will learn about global trade, the global supply chain, what the UK exports and to where and about Fair Trade. To link with the term’s global citizenship theme of Ecological Awareness they will consider the Environmental impact of global trade.




Activity 1 - How did trade get global?

The Key questions you will be exploring are:

• What is ‘trade’?

• Could you live without trade?

• What different scales can goods be exchanged at?

• What makes trade ‘global’?

• How and why has trade changed through time to become global?

• What was trade like during each time period?

• Where do the products we buy come from?

What is Trade?

Look at these brand logos. Do you recognise them? What are they for? Do you know the country they come from?

The definition of trade is ‘the buying and selling of goods and services we want and need’. It involves an exchange of goods (and/or services) in return for other goods and services or money.

“Every man lives by exchanging.” Adam Smith economist.

Could we live without buying, selling or exchanging? What do you think?
Find out about the history of trade of two commodities spices and tea.

The History of the Spice Trade

Watch this video to find out about the history of the global spice trade.

The History of the Tea Trade

Our trip this term would have been to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. The Cutty Sark was built in 1869 during the height of the tea trade to bring tea from China to the UK. Have a look at the Cutty Sark website below to find out more about the tea trade.

Cutty Sark - the fastest ship of its day

Discover the fascinating history of the Cutty Sark - the world's last surviving tea clipper. The fastest ship of its day, our curator explores her record-bre...

Global Trade 
The scale of trade has increased through time and exchanges can now happen on a global scale. 

The development of communication, technology and transport have enabled trade to be carried out on this scale.


A process called ‘globalisation’ has occurred.


Definition of Globalisation: the process of the world’s countries becoming more connected as a result of international trade and cultural exchange. 


Trade now happens on a larger scale (global) and at a faster pace than ever before. This means we can sell and have more access to larger range of products.

Look at the slides to explore the growth in Global trade in the last 50 years

Activity - Trade through time

You are going to research how and why trade has changed through time and create a time line.


Success Criteria :

  • Write at least three bullet points on how trade was carried out during this time and at least two reasons why trade was carried out this way.  
  • Make sure you consider whether trade occurred on a local or global scale during their time period or between the two (national/regional). 
  • Illustrate your timeline and/or stick on the images provided and write captions for each.  


Choose one of the time periods on the Information Sheets below (either the Stone Age, 17th Century or 21st Century). Read the information on the Information Sheets and think about the images before recording your ideas in bullet-point form on the Trade Timeline Template below. If you don’t have a printer just create your own timeline on paper.


Activity 2 : Import and Export: food and global trade

Key questions

• What resources do different regions have?

• Where do the food products we buy come from?

• Why do we import food?

• What are imports and exports? 

• What do different countries import and export?


Learning Objective:

To recognise that food bought in our local supermarket comes from different locations all over the world.


The definition of trade is: ‘the buying and selling of products we want and need’. 

Everything we want and need cannot be always produced in the UK, so we must import these goods from other countries in the world to meet demand. Think about your favourite food:


  • Where were the ingredients to make that food grown?
  • Could they have been grown in the UK? If no, what factors prevent it from being grown here?


Have a look at the labels on the food in your kitchen to find out where it is produced….


What did you find out?

How many different countries did you manage to find?



Import and Export 

We ‘import’ and ‘export’ food in a system of global trade. 

Some foods we buy and eat are not grown here in the UK because of the physical Geography of the UK.  For example, tropical, exotic or out-of-season fruits, vegetables and spices must be imported from overseas. Also, some products such as wheat can be grown on a larger scale which reduces cost in countries with a greater landmass such as the USA.


What did you have for breakfast this morning? Your morning orange juice may be from Spanish oranges, tea from India, sugar from Brazil, and cereal from corn grown in the USA.


Do this activity below.

Open the Food Sources and Images sheet, which includes the shopping list item images, name and source location. 


  • First you must use an atlas to clearly label and colour the relevant countries on the Blank World Map and the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
  • Next, cut out and stick the food images at their source location.


You can use Google Earth or online atlas instead of an atlas if you don’t have one at home.


If you can’t print the sheets out just use Google Earth or an online atlas to locate the countries and Oceans.

Activity 3 - The Global Supply Chain

 Key questions

• What different stages do manufactured goods go through on their journey from source to sale?

• Do these stages take place at different locations around the globe? Why?

• Who is involved with the production at each stage and what is their job role?


Learning objective:

To discover the multi-stop journeys different products travel before reaching our shops.


Global Supply Chain:

Definition - ‘the journey travelled by clothing, food items and other products through different factories, suppliers and warehouses before ending up as the finished product we buy in shops’.


Manufactured goods (e.g. clothes, toys, electronics, and cars) go through more stages before reaching our shops than unprocessed and unpackaged products such as fruit and vegetables. Manufactured items go on a multi-stop journey from source to sale and more people from a range of different places around the world are involved in their production.

This is shown in the slide below.

Manufactured items go through three stages of production that take place at different locations around the world: primary, secondary, and tertiary.


1) Primary- Extracting the raw materials e.g. farming, mining, fishing, and forestry.

2) Secondary- Turning raw materials into other products (processing/manufacturing stage) e.g. wood into furniture, tin into mobile phones, fish into fish fingers. 

3) Tertiary- Services as provided to businesses (shops selling the brand) and other customers. The distribution to retailers around the


Watch the video below about cotton production. Make some notes about the different stages of the production of cotton and the supply chain (remember to use Youtube responsibly):

Made in Peru | Exploring Cotton

Please be supervised when on YouTube

Which workers do you think make the most profit from the T-shirt?  (Cotton farmers, factory workers, transporters, shop workers, clothing company)?


Environmental Impact

Read the article and watch the short documentary below on the environmental impact of the cotton industry (remember to use Youtube responsibly):

Confronting High Street Shoppers with A Shocking Truth: Stacey Dooley Investigates

Please be supervised when on YouTube

Would this make you think twice about buying cotton clothes?


What 3 things could you do as a consumer (someone buying things) to reduce your environmental impact when buying clothes?

Activity 4 - What does the UK export and to where? 

Key questions

• What products does the UK export to other countries?

• What are ‘trade links’ and ‘trade partners’?

• Which countries does the UK export the most to? 

• Does the UK export raw materials or manufactured goods?

• Why does the UK export this type of goods?


Learning Objective

To discover what products the UK exports, and which countries the UK exports the most to.  

So far our learning has focussed upon imports into the UK from other countries around the globe.

This lesson involves looking at global trade from a different perspective. It focuses upon what products the UK exports to other countries.


IMPORT = A good or service brought into one country from another.

EXPORT = A good or service sent to another country for sale.



The table on the slide below shows data of where the UK exports the most to. These countries are the UK’s ‘top trading partners’ because the most money is made through trade with these countries. 


Try and answer these questions from the information below:

• Are the countries the UK exports to more or less developed countries? 

• Which country is the UK’s top trading partner?

Data related to global trade can be read more clearly when it is presented in graphs.


A key skill in geography is presenting geographical data in graph form. 

Look at the pie chart and bar chart below and think about what the graphs tell us about the UK’s trading partners. Write down your ideas.

There are patterns of global trade: usually more developed countries export valuable manufactured goods such as electronics and cars and import cheaper primary products such as tea and coffee.


The UK is a more developed country and exports valuable manufactured goods.

The physical and human geography of the UK determines what we export. The climate, land mass available for growing, and natural resources (physical) and skills, wealth and education/skills of population(human). 


Consider the following:

  • The UK climate is temperate, so certain things cannot be grown.
  • What natural resources are available off shore such as fish and oil or underground in the UK?
  • The UK highly skilled and educated workforce.
  • The average income is high in the UK which means the cost of labour is higher than some less developed countries.



Answer the following questions in full sentences:

  • Could the UK export coffee beans or gold? Why?
  • How might the skills and education of the population affect what we export?

Lesson 5 - Investigating Fairtrade

Key Questions

• What is fairtrade?

• Do fairtrade products cost more to produce and purchase than non-fairtrade products?

• Why might fairtrade products cost the consumer more?

• Why should we pay more for fairtrade products? What is the benefit?


Learning Objective

To understand the positive impact that buying fairtrade products has on communities in other countries. There are huge benefits to global trade, however it needs to be done in a way that benefits the workers in the early stages of the supply chain (farmers, miners etc). Countries are described as being ‘less developed’ and ‘more developed’ countries (see slide below). Often the primary stage of the supply chain is in less economically developed countries and the tertiary in the more economically developed. 


What is Fairtrade?

 “Trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers”.


Watch the video below to find out about fairtrade:

Fair Trade explained in under 2 minutes.

Please be supervised when on YouTube

Read The Fairtrade Foundation statement on the slide below. Then read about the benefits to fairtrade on the following slide.

Examine the pie chart of fairtrade products by volume. Do you know any other products you can buy fairtrade?

Look at the bar chart below showing the difference in price of fair and non-fairtrade items. Are fairtrade items  more expensive to buy? Why?


Create a poster promoting fair trade.

  • Write the reasons why people should pay more for fairtrade products and the positive impact of buying fairtrade products on people in developing countries. 
  • Illustrate the poster with pictures of different fairtrade products (five from the price comparison table-football, chocolate, gold ring, roses, face cream).

See example below: