ADD_ Students will study the geographic features of the Indus

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					Unit Plan: Early River Civilizations – the Indus River Valley

Overview: Students will study the geographic features of the Indus River valley, the rise
and decline of the Harappan civilization, the Aryan invasion, the rise of Brahamism
(leading to Hinduism and the caste system), and the consequences for the world today.

Grade: 7th grade, Ancient History

Standards: 7.4: Students analyze the geographic, political, religious, social, and
economic structures of the Indus Valley Civilization.
      1. Locate the early civilization of the Indus Valley.
      2. Identify the origins of Indus or Harappan civilization in the Indus Valley, and
          describe how the major river system and the physical setting supported the
          rise of the civilization.
      3. Describe the Vedic hymns and the beginnings of what would later become
      4. Describe the development of Sanskrit literature and its relationship to the
          development of the caste system.
      5. Identify the causes of the decline and collapse of this civilization (the first
          successive waves of Aryans invade portions of the subcontinent.)

Concepts: Rise and fall of civilizations
         River systems provide the water for farming and the growth of cities
         Natural disasters and climate change
         Religious beliefs

Skills: Geographic

Students use a variety of maps and documents to identify physical and cultural features of
neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries.
Students interpret historical maps and charts.
Students explain the historical migration of people, expansion and disintegration of
empires, and the growth of economic systems.
Students explain the effects of interactions between humans and natural systems,
including how humans depend on natural resources and adapt to and affect the natural
Students use geographic knowledge and skills to analyze historical and contemporary

Skills: Chronology and Historical Interpretation
Students construct various time lines of key events, people, and periods of the historical
era they are studying.
Students explain the central issues and problems from the past, placing people and events
in a matrix of time and place.
Students understand and distinguish cause, effect, sequence, and correlation in historical
events, including the short-term causes or sparks from long-term causes.
Students recognize that interpretations of history are subject to change as new
information is uncovered.

Big Ideas: Civilizations rise in certain geographic areas. Civilizations fall for various
reasons. Invasions and migration bring new influences, ideas, beliefs, and cultural

Essential Questions: Why do civilizations rise in certain geographic locations? What do
ancient civilizations contribute to today’s world?

Performance Tasks:

Lesson 1: The Geography of the Indian subcontinent.

   1. Students locate the Indian subcontinent. Students will review the definition of a
      continent and determine what sub added means.
   2. Students use dry erase maps and pens to identify the countries that are located on
      the subcontinent today.
   3. Students distinguish between physical feature maps and political maps. Which
      change often over time and which change much more slowly? Use a historic time
      line to demonstrate when continents moved and when civilizations rose and fell.
   4. In groups students use cardboard and map outlines to trace the shape of the Indian
      subcontinent. With blue yarn, clay, sand students create a 3-dimensional physical
      feature map of the Indian subcontinent.
   5. Students explain, using information from the text, and using their maps, how the
      physical features of the sub-continent and it’s climate explain the rise of
      civilizations on the Indian sub-continent. Their written captions are attached to
      their maps.
   6. Vocabulary: subcontinent, Hindu Kush, Himalayas, monsoon, Indus River.

Lesson 2: The rise of the Harappan Civilization in the Indus River Valley.

   1. Connect to prior knowledge of Mesopotamia and Egypt. What key physical
      features encourage the growth of civilizations and farming.
   2. Harappan civilization developed in the Indus River Valley. What are the
      characteristics that make a civilization. Groups read the descriptions and compare
      to prior knowledge. Make a list of key descriptive words for a civilization.
   3. Students go to to view a slide show of the archeological digs
      at Harappa. Students draw and label key places that indicate the Harappan

Lesson 3: The decline of Harappan civilization and the invasion of the Arayans.
   1. Harappan civilization declines. The people leave their cities. Why? Students read
       two different interpretations of the cause. Was it Aryan invaders or natural
       disasters – climate change, the drying up of a major river system and earthquakes.
       Why do historical interpretations change? What evidence do these interpretations
       rely upon?

   2. Aryans invade and influence the culture. How do peoples of different cultures
      interact? How do cultures affect each other? For example, how did Europeans
      affect Native Americans in North America? How did Native Americans influence
      Europeans? How is your life affected by increasing waves of immigrants. How
      are their lives affected? Does one group change more than the other? What are
      the positive and negative consequences of cultural interactions?

Lesson 4: Aryan Sanskrit literature and the development of the caste system

   1. Students, in groups, read examples of Sanskrit literature and examine the values
      they emphasize. Are there any values that Americans share today? Make a venn
      diagram to indicate which.
   2. What is class and what is the caste system.
   3. Students read primary and secondary documents on the caste system in India
   4. Analysis – were there any positive values in the class/caste system brought in by
      the Aryans? If not, were there any reasons that justified its existence? If it’s part
      of Indian culture today, how can they change that?

Lesson 5: The Vedic hymns are the precursors to Hinduism.

   1. Students examine graphs of popularity of world religions today. Hinduism is the
      3rd most practiced religion. What are it’s main tenets?
   2. Students will read examples of the Bhagavad Ghita and learn about the belief in
      many gods and the emergence of the idea of one god.
   3. Students will examine pictures of Hindu sculptures to determine their elements.
   4. Students will visit the Freer gallery to learn about Hindu sculptures and their
   5. Students will read a newspaper article on the conflict over allowing a Hindu
      prayer in the Congress. Is it appropriate to deny that .prayer? Is the definition of
      Hinduism as a monotheistic or polytheistic religion important?