Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Tricks of the Trade

International Trade Agreements

Cody Sivertsen, Dewey Hulsey, Ryan Rahhal | Published: February 24th, 2023 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 10th
  • Subject Subject Social Studies
  • Course Course Economics, World History
  • Time Frame Time Frame 50-100 minutes
  • Duration More 1-2 periods


In this lesson, students examine the nature and function of international trade agreements in the world economy. Through engaging in an interactive story, students learn many important concepts regarding world trade. In addition, students explore both the benefits and drawbacks of trade agreements through an educational video and their own exploration of the clothing industry. Students solidify and archive their learning through the use of graphic organizers, guided reflections, and a summative tweet-up activity to close the lesson.

Essential Question(s)

What effects do international trade agreements have on the world economy, countries, and individual workers?



Students anticipate learning in pairs by predicting definitions of key terms.


Students complete the interactive learning experience, "Satellite," and complete a vocabulary graphic organizer.


Students reflect on new learning through the I Notice, I Wonder strategy and watch a short video about international trade.


Students engage in independent research in the clothing industry, generating questions that will guide a class discussion.


Students complete the Tweet Up strategy, writing a tweet either in favor or against International Trade Agreements.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • International Trade Graphic Organizer handout (attached; one per student)

  • I Notice, I Wonder handout (attached; one per student)

  • Computer

  • Projector

  • Student devices

  • Sticky notes


10 Minute(s)

Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide the lesson. Display slides 3 and 4 as you share the Essential Question and Lesson Objectives with the class.

Display slide 5 and pair students with an Elbow Partner. Students will work with this partner for different activities throughout the lesson.

Distribute the International Trade Graphic Organizer handout. Assign students to work in pairs to fill in the "predicted definitions" column of the handout.


25 Minute(s)

Show slide 6 and have students follow the link to the Twine narrative: “Tricks of the Trade.” When they open the link, students will experience a scenario simulating engagement in international trade from the point of view of a world leader. While working through the narrative, have students complete the next column in their International Trade Graphic Organizer.


15 Minute(s)

After students complete their graphic organizer, instruct pairs to reflect on the Twine narrative. Distribute the I Notice I Wonder handout to guide their reflections.

Display slide 8 and show the “International Trade Explained” video.

Facilitate a class-wide discussion where students share their reflections from the interactive story as well as the video. Use this time to clear up any misconceptions.

This concludes the first day of the lesson.


25 Minute(s)

Display slide 9 and have students return to their partners. Provide a brief recap of day 1, encouraging students to review both their handouts.

Display slide 10 and instruct students to follow the link on their personal devices. Inform students that following the previous day’s broader exploration of international trade, they will now take a closer look at some of the many realities faced by workers in a global economy.

Display slide 11 and explain the Driving Question Board strategy. Distribute several sticky notes to each group.

Instruct students to explore at least four sections of the Clean Clothes website, one of which must be Poverty Wages. For each section of the website they explore, have students write a question or observation on a sticky note. Students are welcomed to complete more than one per section, or complete more sections, but they need to explore at least four sections of the site with one sticky note per section.

Have groups stick their observations to the white board.

When all groups have completed their research, use the sticky notes on the board to guide a classroom discussion. Allow students to share their questions or choose from compelling and thought-provoking options on the board. Use this time to consider the drawbacks of international trade.


25 Minute(s)

Display the Essential Question, "What are the benefits and challenges of international trade agreements?" on slide 12. Introduce the Tweet Up strategy. Have one student write a tweet from the perspective of someone impacted negatively by international trade agreements, while their partner writes a tweet which reflects the benefits of International Trade. Display slide 13. Close the lesson with a Gallery Walk of the tweets, so that other students can view the reflections of their peers.