Right before winter break sixth graders at ArtSpace journeyed back in time to Samarkand and the Great Silk Road of 650 CE. Students have spent several weeks studying the bustling trade industry and the cultures that made up the Silk Road. After their initial research students created individual personas someone could have encountered in Samarkand. These characters included, but weren’t limited to, innkeepers, buddhist monks, spice, wool and of course silk traders.
Attendants at this Silk Road Bazaar living museum were free to wander amongst the students and ask them questions about the products they were trading or the positions they held in Samarkand. Sixth graders did an amazing job staying in character. Finn Mahoney remained ever serious as he shared aspects of his life as a persian soldier protecting merchants from thievery.
Sixth grade band members worked with music teacher Meg Boerner and performed a traditional Japanese piece. Dance students from sixth grade studied and performed several dances under the guidance of dance teacher Rebecca Triplett. These dances originated from China, India, and Europe and were commonly performed on the Silk Road.
The Silk Road Bazaar is a new unit developed by sixth grade language arts and social studies teacher John Hall. In the past the focus of the Medieval unit was European, and students hosted a Medieval Faire that included performances of mystery plays common during the Middle Ages. Mr. Hall enjoyed teaching this unit but felt the concept of the Silk Road and focusing on the theme “an exchange of ideas” would require sixth graders to explore the diverse cultures and religions that existed all over the world during Medieval times.