Goals/Purpose: Students will compare and contrast the monuments of four ancient cultures and draw conclusions about the origins, construction, and purposes of these structures. (Prior to this activity, it is necessary to teach students how to work collaboratively in small groups, how to access the Internet, and download images. It is also important to stress that they will not find the answers to the last three questions easily but they must compare, contrast, and develop their own conclusions.)

H/SS Academic Content Standards:

Grade 6 Standards
World History and Geography: Ancient Civilizations

Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Kush.
Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of Ancient Greece.
Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of China.
Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures during the development of Rome.
Students analyze the causes and effects of the vast expansion and ultimate disintegration of the Roman Empire.
Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of China in the Middle Ages.

Grade 7: This lesson provides a useful review of the entire 6th grade curriculum for use at the beginning of the year.

Historical and Social Science Analysis Skills:

Research Evidence and Point of View

  1. Students frame questions that can be answered by historical study and research
  2. Students distinguish fact from opinion in historical narratives and stories.
  3. Students distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, essential from incidental information, and verifiable from unverifiable information in historical narratives and stories.
  4. Students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions from them.
  5. Students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources used, author's perspectives).
Historical Interpretation

2. Students understand and distinguish cause, effect, sequence, and correlation in historical event including the long- and short-term causal relations.

5. Students recognize interpretations of history are subject to change as new information is uncovered.

Language Arts Standards Grade 7:

Reading Comprehension: Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material: Students understand and analyze the differences among various categories of informational materials (e.g., textbooks, newspapers...) in terms of their structure and purpose; locate information using a variety of consumer, workplace and public documents; identify and trace he development of an author's argument, point of view, or perspective in text; assess the adequacy, accuracy, and appropriateness of the author's evidence to support claims and assertions, noting instances of bias and stereotyping.

Writing Strategies: Students write summaries of reading materials that contain materials' main ideas and most significant details, are written in the student;'s own words, except for material quoted from the source, reflect the underlying meaning of the source, not just the superficial details. Listening and Speaking: Students deliver focused, coherent presentations that convey ideas clearly and relate to the background interests of the audience: [They] ask probing questions designed to elicit information, including evidence to support the listener' claims and conclusions; respond to persuasive messages with questions, challenges or affirmations; organize information to achieve particular purposes and to appeal to the background and interests of the audience; use explicit techniques for effective presentations, including voice modulation, inflection, tempo, enunciation, and eye contact. Students deliver well-organized formal presentations employing traditional rhetorical strategies: They deliver research presentations that pose relevant and concise questions about the topic, convey clear and accurate perspectives on the subject, include evidence generated through the formal research process, cite reference sources appropriately.

Length: Approximately two-three weeks, depending on how much work is assigned outside of class and how much prior knowledge students have about these civilizations. Invite a local travel agent, architect, or other interested party to be a member of the AWARB and listen to student presentations at the end of the unit. Help students develop their own evaluation criteria about what makes a good presentation and have them evaluate their own performance and participation in the group effort. Include student evaluations, pictures of projects and presentations in their classroom portfolio.

Materials: Poster board and art supplies. s might be encouraged to do their presentations on the computer using Power Point or some other user-friendly presentation software.

Interdisciplinary Connections:
Encourage students to investigate the interesting mathematical statistics related to the dimensions of these monuments. Develop vocabulary skills by having students keep a glossary of terms and creating a "learning log" about what they discover. Connections to scientific study are limitless! (Have you visited NASA's sites on the Web?)

Background Resources for Teachers:
Review the SCORE sites, especially the Teacher Resource sites which have searchable databases. (These sites are too advanced for the students but will provide the teacher with much more information.)

Submitted by: Ty Benoit, History Instructor and former middle school teacher,
Butte Community College, 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville, California 95965,