© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Teaching Guide

Teaching International Trade

Cross the border with Shmoop.


Can you put a price on free? We can. We're here to help you examine the value of free trade and other aspects of the international marketplace.

In this guide you will find

  • lessons on international exchange rate.
  • an activity debating free trade vs. protectionism.
  • current events resources, like links to European fiscal policy.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. But Shmoop's guide sure feels like it.

What's Inside Shmoop's Economics Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring economics to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 4-10 activities to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

In this activity, your students will identify where various types of consumer goods came from and present their findings to the class using visual aids.

1. After explaining to your students the basic objectives of the exercise, work with them to develop a set of consumer-goods categories like men’s and women's clothing, electronics, appliances, kitchenware, tools, etc.

2. Sort your students into research teams and assign each a category of goods.

3. Tell students that they need to research the goods in their category that are available at nearby retailers. Students will then collect data on these good to determine their country of origin. Collectively develop a set of general parameters using these questions:

  • How many goods must be surveyed in each category to have a representative sample?

  • How many different manufacturers must be included in each category?

  • Should more than one store be surveyed in order to obtain a representative sample?

  • How should the data be collected at the store? When looking at clothing, should students move arbitrarily from rack to rack or should they have a systematic plan?

4. Instruct each group to fine-tune the details of their research plan and submit this plan to you for approval.

5. Have students to conduct their research.

6. Have each group present the results of their research. The groups should also prepare a short statistical summary of their findings in table form for distribution to the rest of the class.

7. Individually or in groups, ask your students to prepare some sort of graphic illustration of American imports. This could be a set of bar graphs, pie charts, etc. It could also be a world map showing the flow of goods to the United States.

Instructions for Your Students

Were your shoes made in America? How about your shirt? Where was your CD player manufactured? What about your tennis racket, foot massager, and favorite coffee mug? Do most of our imports come from the same part of the world? Are certain types of goods more likely to come from certain parts of the world?

You will soon know.

Already have a license?
CLICK HERE to sign in!

Good things come
in affordable packages.


Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Overview    Analysis    Just the Facts    Game    Best of the Web    
back to top