Poptential™ by Certell Offers Free Lessons on the Importance and History of Global Trade

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), growing inflation and tighter monetary policy in the United States and abroad, along with unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East, have led to a broad-based trade slowdown in 2023. Poptential™, a family of free social studies course packages, explores the historical significance of global trade in its World History curriculum, equipping high school educators with media-rich content to help students gain a deeper understanding of the importance of free trade.

“High school students rely on robust global trade for many of the products they use every day, so it’s important for them to understand how free trade impacts our economy,” said Julie Smitherman, a former social studies teacher and director of content at Certell, Inc., the nonprofit behind Poptential. “Poptential’s global trade lessons help teachers engage students in discussions about how events, such as economic swings, geopolitical upheaval, and the Covid-19 pandemic, have disrupted the flow of trade, and the importance of trade in the effort to eradicate poverty and enhance the economies of countries big and small.”

Poptential course packages boost student engagement by using a variety of pop culture media to illustrate concepts, including those taken from sitcoms, movies, animations, cartoons, late-night shows, and other sources. Lessons on the history of global trade in Poptential World History Volumes 1 & 2 e-books, include:

The Silk Road: A video featured in a mini-lesson in Volume 1 provides an overview of China’s incredibly lucrative silk trading business along the Silk Road. Silk was used as currency to exchange for other valuable goods across many continents. This trade model was a precursor to today’s globalization of trade and is not to be confused with the online black market entity titled Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI in 2013.

Mongol Empire Accelerates Trade: With the start of the Mongol Empire in 1206, trade began to flourish. Mongol control of the Silk Road made it a safer route, allowing European merchants and craftsmen to journey to China for the first time in history. The December 4 bell ringer features a video that looks at Genghis Khan’s legacy, the rise of the Mongol Empire, and its influence on trade between East and West.

Encouraging Trade Relations: Founded in October 1945, the United Nations deals with many foreign policy issues. Featured in the same bell ringer, this video outlines the establishment of the U.N. and the role it plays in encouraging good relations among its members to promote social and economic cooperation, such as trading among nations.  

Exploiting Resources and Trade Routes: Areas of the world that are rich in natural resources, such as oil, precious metals, and minerals, or those that have important trade routes, have throughout history been exploited by outsiders who want to gain control of the flow of their resources. This video in Volume 2 offers a look at how Europeans took control of Africa in the late 1800s to reap the financial benefits of its many natural resources.

Poptential course packages include everything instructors need to teach a subject, including lessons, e-books, bell ringers, quizzes, and tests. The curriculum is standards-based and developed by teachers. 

Poptential is available via a digital platform that allows students to access lessons even in poor bandwidth environments. Course packages in American History, World History, U.S. Government/Civics, and Economics are available free at www.poptential.org.

About Certell, Inc.

Certell is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to fostering a generation of independent thinkers. With over 100,000 users across the United States, Certell’s Poptential™ family of free social studies courses has garnered numerous awards, including recognition from EdTech Digest Awards, Tech&Learning, Tech Edvocate Awards, the National Association of Economics Educators, and Civvys Awards. For more information about Poptential™ and Certell’s mission, please visit www.poptential.org.

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