I’m set to be way for the next few classes, and wanted to contact you regarding your upcoming report, as I won’t see you until the middle of next week. I’d very much like to see this done by Friday, March 9th if we can. Please remember that during second period tomorrow, the boys will need to head over (quietly!) to the ICJC for their kimono work, ok?
As you know, you’re in teams for our last project for our unit, save for Justin and Alex, researching one specific characteristic of past civilizations (Egypt, Greece, and China). You are to explain your research and understanding about that characteristic, and how that characteristic was important to those civilizations, including anything you can that would be of interest.
You are to then figure out how this characteristic is similar, and constant, within these three past civilizations…of course it might not look/seem identical, but as we’ve come to see, these characteristics WERE present, but in possibly a different way; the focus of your assignment is to identify and explain how they were similar, not how they were different but you can explain that too if you can.
Finally, once you’ve researched for information, selected and collected what you need from various sources, and produced your findings, you will be asked to then take what you’ve learned about your characteristic from the previous civilizations, and apply it to what you know about either:
our global civilization
your idea of a very specific civilization here on Earth in this modern age
This last section has to do with our terrific discussion last Friday, about how similar our current civilization is to those of the past, remember?
You may produce any type of report, so long as you are able to produce a plan for your project (just like the recipe for a cake, haha!), and can then follow the plan to produce the final result, with icing that makes it look great.
You may do a voicethread, blog, poster display…just about anything, so long as your work reflects your talent and hard work.
Sound ok? Please feel free to email me, as I’ll be in touch if you can’t figure out something as a team!
Thanks, I’m looking forward to your work!
Our guiding question for this unit is of course, “What is civilization?”
We know from our work in class that ‘civilization’ has been described as:
- the highest form of social organization humans have reached
We have also come to learn that to be a classified as a civilization, we can look for seven key characteristics that they share:
- Division of labour (types of jobs in the society and who did them)
- economy and trade
- religion/belief systems
- art and architecture
- class structure (levels of control and wealth in society)
- a system of writing
For your homework, before we begin to study Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt and China, and possibly the Indus valley, we need to take a look at where these civilizations began, as it was their geography that allowed for the food surplus they needed to succeed at their beginning. On the large black and white map given to you in class today, please plot the locations listed to identify the rivers that were so important to their success.
This assignment is for homework and is due by next class.
If you need a bit of a refresher on latitude and longitude, be sure to check out the BrainPop video on it.
We’ve spent some time in class since the start of the unit getting some background on how it came to be that some communities formed and eventually grew into successful civilizations, mostly bases on the latitudes that these early communities were lucky to be in; again, it all comes back to the advantages some had due to geography.
We know that it all begins with a surplus…first of food, them time, resulting in a division of labour, which then leads to such things as the domestication of animals, improving technology, social organization, art, etc.
In speaking of some of the systems we currently have in place, can we assume or prove that civilizations over 6,000 years old also had similar systems? What are some of the systems we in our modern civilization use to organize and improve ourselves?
Please share some thoughts about what systems you believe are essential to a successful civilization and why.
Looking forward to your insights,
As we get ever closer to Winter Break, we begin another exciting unit, this time on past civilizations.
For this new unit, we’re going to be using the following question to drive our inquiry in past civilizations:
“What is community?”
Using this perspective, we’re going to be looking at the following points, which are important to our unit:
a) How and why humans form social and physical communites (e.g. River Valley Civilizations)
b) How have communities shared ideas, beliefs, an organization
Remember some of the discussions we’ve had on class about the idea that if you were the leader of a tribe of early humans, or someone from the present who was transported through time and was made the leader of a tribe of 1000 people, what would your first priorities be? If your job was to shape this group of people into a functioning group, what key things would you need to have in place to make this community a success?
Spend a few minutes as a class analyzing what a community is, and try to identify what some key features of a community might be. What would happen to a community if one or more of these features were removed? As a class, can you reach a consensus on that the 5 most important parts of a community are?
Some of the terms we’ll be using for this unit that we’ve discussed in class up to now include:
division of labour
government and leadership
technology (tools, weapons, medicine)
By knowing what these terms mean, you will have a better understanding of past civilizations and what made them important.
In talking about characteristics in class this week and last we established that all successful civilizations have a number of important things in common shown above, which were supported by the work of Jared Diamond, the author of Guns, Germs and Steel who took our ideas and grouped them more generally into the following traits:
A large population
The link below discusses the basic idea that over time, the geography and opportunities it presented to the world’s earliest humans, were a huge advantage that has only increased over time, which explains some of the inequalities we see on Earth today, which begs the question, why were some civilizations more successful than others?
In major ways, these points relate directly to our previous unit, which questioned whether humans controlled Earth, or Earth controlled humans…or both?
Think well, remember to support your ideas!