Inquiry Essays

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					                                          Inquiry Essays
                                               Unit 2
                                        Ancient Civilizations

Overall Theme: Ancient Civilizations
      1. Why did writing make such a difference? Why do we think so differently about societies
         that had writing than we do about hose that did not?
      2. If you were an average citizen between 2000 and 5000 years ago, in which society would
         you choose to live?
      3. How do we know about ancient civilizations? Is our knowledge of them based on the same
         kinds of things, as is our knowledge of the Civil War, for example?

Digging Up the Past
   1. Archaeology is the science of digging up and studying the past.

   2. Archaeologists have special methods of unearthing buried artifacts.

   3. Create a flow chart to plot archaeological processes.

   4. What do you know already about how scientists date geological objects, such as rocks. What
      is relative dating and absolute dating? Explain.

   5. What did Damien and his mother gain by visiting the library?

   6. What purpose did the masonry trowels and window screen serve?

   7. According to Damien’s mother, what is the difference between an artifact and a non-artifact?

   8. Archaeology involves research and piecing together clues. How is this process similar to the
      one the Wright Brothers used to invent their plane in the last unit?

   9. Was there ever a time when you found something of interest lying in the grass or buried in the
      ground? What was it? What did you do with it?

   10. Can buried junk be just as important as buried treasure?

   11. What methods do archaeologists use to dig up the past?

   12. How do you know about people who lived long ago?

Search for Early Americans
   1. Civilizations of the American Southwest-especially that of the Anasazi-were rich and
   2. In spite of efforts of both amateur and professional archaeologists, we may never know the
      truth about the origins and the disappearance of the Anasazi.

   3. Share knowledge about what you already know about early inhabitants of Central and South
      America. Aztec, Inca, Maya: find out about their history.

   4. Why did the Anasazi abandon their dwellings?

   5.   Can the mystery be solved by studying their artifacts?

   6.   How could Wetherill tell that the people he unearthed had died in battle?

   7.   Which of the three main dwellings mentioned was found to be the oldest?

   8.   How did the scientists use tress to estimate the age of buildings?

   9.   What similarities are there between Wetherill and the characters in Digging up the Past?

   10. What archaeological tools and techniques were used in both stories (DUP, SFEA)?

   11. Think about how The Search for Early Americans adds to what you already know about
       uncovering the past.

   12. What are the different artifacts and structures left by the ancient Americans in the Southwest?
       What does it tell us about their: way of life, food they ate, the work they did?

   13. Identify questions that amateur archaeologist Richard Wetherill asked and the inferences he

   14. Design a web to organize information about groups of ancient Americans.

   15. Draw comparisons between his research process and the process you make when you
       investigate problems/questions.

   16. Design a cliff-dwelling with all the modern conveniences, including a state-of-the-art kitchen,
       entertainment center, etc. Use the pictures from the story to get started.

Island of the Bulls
    1. An ancient legend led to excavations in search of evidence to substantiate a myth.

   2. As with many other ancient civilizations, the reason for the collapse of the Minoan civilization
      still remains a mystery.
     3. We learned about Sir Evans’s quest to find archaeological evidence of the ancient civilization
        that existed on Crete.

     4. Did the Minotaur exist?

     5. Will Sir Arthur Evans find evidence to support this ancient legend?

     6. Research another Greek or Roman myth. How does that myth explain how something in
        nature came to be the way it is or why people behave as they do, and usually includes gods
        and goddesses.

     7. In another Greek or Roman myth, what lesson or moral was learned?

     8. Research the legendary civilization of Atlantis. How might the Minoan civilization be the
        basis for the story of the lost civilization of Atlantis? In what ways did the civilization o f Crete
        resemble the legendary kingdom of Atlantis?

     9.   What motivated Sir Evans to go to Crete in search of an ancient Cretan civilization?

     10. What artifacts in the palace of King Minos connect it to the myth:Theseus and Minotaur?

     11. What explanations have scholars given for the disappearance of the Minoans? Why did the
         ancient Minoan civilization come to an end?

     12. Were the civilizations in The Island of the Bulls and The Search for Early Americans more
         advanced than you thought they would be? Explain.

     13. Compare/contrast Minoan civilization and Anasazi civilizations.

     14. Compare/contrast archaeological experiences of 3 characters presented so far.

     15. Re-write Theseus and the Minotaur: give it a new twist, a new ending, a modern flair, OR
         write the encounter between Theseus and the Minotaur.

16. Imagine that you live thousands of years in the future. What would archaeologists think when they
    find and excavate the dwellings in which you live in the future? How many rooms would they find?
    How tall is the dwelling? Do you think they would find any personal belongings?

  People on the Beach
     1. Skeletons can provide detailed information about people who died many centuries ago.

     2. By studying the skeletons of many different individuals, anthropologist and historians can
        make general assumptions about an entire population.

     3. We learned that skeletons can provide detailed information about ancient civilizations.

     4. Analyze the causes and effects behind problems of ancient civilizations.
   5. How was Herculaneum destroyed?

   6. How do archaeologists learn from skeletons?

   7. How did the eyewitness account of Pliny make you feel? If you were a witness to the save
      thing, what would you have done?

   8. What emotions would you feel watching a city being destroyed and knowing that you were
      helpless to stop the destruction?

   9. How would you react to a disaster if you knew someone who was being affected by it?

   10. What is the value to others of an eyewitness account of an event as horrible as the eruption of
       Mt. Vesuvius?

   11. Why was the town of Herculaneum so well preserved when the archaeologists found it?

   12. What was Sara Bisel able to learn from the skeletons she examined?

   13. What killed the inhabitants of Herculaneum?

   14. How is the author of The People on the Beach similar to Damien’s mother in DUP?

   15. How did conducting research beforehand help both Damien’s mothers and Sara Bisel?

   16. Are there any other towns or cities threatened to be buried by a volcano? Investigate.

   17. As you’ve seen in People on the Beach, uncovering the past can involve a lot of detective
       work. Skilled scientists piece together clues in order to determine what happened during a far
       earlier time. Not all of the past is ancient, though, and most of us have at some time had to
       piece together clues in order to reconstruct a previous event. Think of a time when you have
       had to reconstruct an event from its clues. What was the event? Were you able to accurately
       reconstruct the event?

Riddle of the Rosetta Stone
      1. The Rosetta Stone gave scholars their first key to understanding the hieroglyphs.

      2. After many scholars tried to unlock the secret of the hieroglyphs, Jean-Francois
         Champollion discovered that the hieroglyphs represented sounds not things.

      3. We learned how the Rosetta Stone enabled scholars to unlock the Egyptian past.

      4. Analyze the cumulative nature of research.

      5. Would it be difficult to decipher hieroglyphs?
      6. What was the impact of finding the Rosetta Stone?

      7. Identify questions and problems researchers had about the Rosetta Stone.

      8. What were the ever-changing conjectures the researchers offered as keys to understanding
         the hieroglyphics?

      9. Investigate the ancient Egyptian calendar. What was its development and problems? How
         did a civilization that thrived thousands of years ago create a calendar of days and months?
         On what natural phenomenon might the ancient calendar be based?

      10. Why did Ptolemy and Alexander, the Great have their names inscribed on the Rosetta
         Stone? How did they become emperors of Greece? Whom did they replace and what were
         their reigns? Make a time-line illustrating Ptolemy’s & Alexander, the Great’s reigns.

      11. Why was the Rosetta Stone helpful in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs?

      12. What did Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt have to do with the Rosetta Stone?

      13. Before Champollion, how had scholars supposed the hieroglyphs worked?

      14. In The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone, scholars build on each others’ work until the riddle is
         solved. Name a selection you read in Unit 1 that was similar. How was it similar?

      15. How would you compare Champollion’s method of deciphering hieroglyphs with the
         method used by Sara Bisel to understand the bones she examined in The People on the

      16. Think a bout how The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone addss to what you know about ancient
His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut
   1. We learned about Queen Hatshepsut was the queen of Egypt, the leader of this country.

   2. Discuss and analyze historical fiction.

   3. Compare resources and ways of life for two ancient civilizations.

   4. How does Queen H. have herself declared King?

   5. What was life like for an ancient Egyptian pharaoh?

   6. Does the author provide enough factual details about Queen H. to be a believable character?
      Explain. If not, explain additional details you need to be included in the story.

   7. Does the author provide enough factual details about the events in the story to be believable?
      If not, explain additional details you need to be included in the story.
   8.    Investigate two great pharaohs: Hatshepsut and Ramses II. Compare their major
        accomplishments during their reigns. What were the two temples each of them had made in
        their own honors? Draw and illustration along with a brief description.

   9. Why were the priests upset that Queen H.’s priestesses wore the masks of Horus and Thoth?

   10. Why does Queen H. plan to replace the Keeper of Interior Apartments? What position does
       she offer him?

   11. Why does Queen H. like Senmut so much?

   12. This selection contained many details about daily life in ancient Egypt. What details of daily
       life in ancient Italy did you read about People on the Beach?

   13. How do you imagine the palace in which His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut adds to what you
       know about uncovering the past?

   14. Investigate how trade contributed to the growth of ancient civilizations, including Egypt.

   15. Why was there a need for money in societies as they became more complex?

    16. Make a chart with the following categories and complete. Across the page in two columns:
        Group 1: ________ Group 2: _______. Down the left side of the page: time period, materials
        used for shelter, type of work they did, food they ate, weapons they used, other interesting
        information. (You will have 12 boxes to fill in about 2 different ancient civilizations.)
Silk Route
    1. The demand of good from faraway lands helped to create a line between two great ancient

   2. In spite of dangers of heat, hunger, thirst, and bandits, merchants were willing to travel a great
      distance to trade their products.

   3. We learned about the importance of the Silk Route to two ancient civilizations.

   4. Chart the steps in a process; i.e. the process from making an item for trade to trading the item
      from the beginning of the Silk Route to the end of the Silk Route.

   5. What would it be like to travel with a caravan on the Silk Route?

   6. How did silk line the great empires of the West and the East?

   7. Why do the silk merchants and government officials travel in one large caravan?

   8. Why do the camel drivers call the portion of the silk route that passes through the Pamirs:
      “The Trail of Bones”?

   9. Why do the Chinese officials trade silk for horses in the central market of Tashkent?
10. It is not unusual to come across old forms of currency when uncovering the past. As you
    learned in Silk Route, silk was once used as currency in China. What other forms of currency
    have you learned or investigated about?

11. How has Silk Route added to your knowledge of uncovering the past?

12. Investigate contributions from at least 2-3 other ancient civilizations. For example, Ancient
    China: Silk. Write and illustrate about each contribution. Describe its past and how we use it
    now in the present, think about its future.

13. Draw a map from China to Byzantium. Include information about each of the different
    cultures that were along the Silk Route. Explain and note on maps the geographic features of
    China that made the spread of goods difficult and isolated the country from the rest of the