Colombian Exchange Fusion Food Menu

Erin Curley

The Connecticut state curriculum dictates that eighth grade social studies teachers must relay the history of the United States spanning from the Asian land bridge migration through the conclusion of World War II. In an effort to cover this mountain of material many teachers fall into the bookwork drill and grill routine. While textbooks certainly have their place in a Social Studies classroom, fun interactive activities can serve to revitalize the content.

This creative task was designed to cover an eighth grade lesson on the Colombian Exchange. The Colombian Exchange refers to the exchange of food, animals, goods, and diseases between Western Europe and Latin America after the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Hispaniola in 1492. Students will be challenged to design three meals inspired by the Columbian Exchange. The first meal must only include produce and ingredients available to the Native peoples of Latin America prior to the arrival of Europeans. The second meal should be something Europeans would have eaten prior to the Colombian exchange. Lastly, the students must design a fusion food meal including produce from both Latin America and Europe. Students will receive a graphic organizer that illustrates the transfer of food, animals, and diseases to aid them in completing this creative task. To wrap things up, students will be given the opportunity to share their culinary creations with the class, and reflect on the impact the Columbian Exchange had on the European economy.

Student Example

Graphic organizer provided by teacher