Elements of Civilization
By Jon Rehm, October 25, 2009
- High School
- City of Neighborhoods
- Social Studies
Our students have grown up living with in a civilization, yet they never contemplate its purpose, origin, and elements.
Each civilization, no matter where it is in the world, shares certain common elements. Through this lesson students will be able understand and identify the necessary traits and elements of all civilizations, as well as communities of the past and present. This helps the students to understand that the basic elements of society are considered universal in the discipline of history. It is only the peripheral elements related to culture that differentiate civilizations from one another.
Standard 1. Level IV. Understands the biological and cultural processes that shaped the earliest human communities
3. Understands physical, social, and cultural characteristics of different human communities (e.g., the possible types of early hominid communities; characteristics of skeletal remains of nonhominid, primate, hominid, and Homo sapiens and how to classify them chronologically; major features of flora, fauna, and climate associated with different hominid communities)
- identify and describe the common elements that make up all civilizations
a World History textbook
- topographical maps of river valley civilizations including: Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, the Yellow Valley
- civilization: the social, political, technological and economic traits of a society. These traits include, 1) cities as administrative centers, 2) a political system based upon territory, 3) people engaged in specialized non-food production, 4) status distinctions based upon wealth, 5) monumental buildings, 6) a system of keeping permanent records, 7) long distance trade, and 8) sophisticated interest in arts and science.
1. Students will be asked to create their own ancient civilization.
2. The students will be asked to investigate various ancient civilizations to help them in the creation of their civilization. These will include but not be limited to: Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Harrapan in the Indus Valley and the Yang Shaou along the Yellow River.
3. Students will be assigned randomly one of the river valley topographies to design their civilization.
4. The students will Brainstorm in groups to decide upon the elements of their civilization. They will have to create and design the layout of a city-state in the particular topography they’ve been assigned. They will then be asked to decide upon the government, system of laws, and numbers of individuals needed in areas of specialized labor to sustain their city.
5. The students will then be asked to create an initial proposal for the teacher based upon the Brainstorming session.
6. Students will then be asked to create a map of their civilization and make a presentation on the benefits of their society.
7. Presentations will be given to a group of “prospective citizens” of the new civilization.8. Students will participate in a debriefing where they will determine the features common to all of the civilizations.