Student sheet – Classical Civilizations

The great classical civilizations of the Eastern Hemisphere, 500 BC to AD 500

1. Enquiry

1. Choose a Big Region of the world

To do this, select the Atlas option in the main menu at the top of this page, and then use the “TimeMaps by Region” column to find the entry “World”. Select the date 500 BC.

Follow the links through to one of the following regions: Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, or East Asia.

2. Fact finding

Make notes about the following (not all points may be relevant to all regions):

  • Key features: are there any distinguishing (even unique) features that give civilization in the region a special character?
  • Influences from other regions: did developments in your region owe anything to other regions?
  • Geographical location and environment: how might these have effected the development of civilization in the region (you may have to delve back to the origins of civilization to answer this)
  • Developments in government and politics, society and economics
  • Developments in religion and ideas
  • Developments in technology
  • Key individuals: how did they contribute to the histories of their civilizations?

Mainly use the regional maps/information, but if you want more detail, follow the in-map links to different countries. A region where it might definitely be a good idea to visit the country level is East Asia, where China dominates the region in this period.

Make as many rough notes as you think necessary.

3. Organize and condense

The objective now is to hone the rough notes down to something that can be communicated clearly and succinctly in a presentation.

First, make a list of key events, developments and trends in civilization in your region. Use single words or short phrases.

Organize this list of key points under three to five headings.

Be prepared to talk about each heading and key point – what were the causes? and the consequences (which in many cases should lead onto a further key point)? how do they relate to other key points? – and so on.

2. Presentation

Each group prepares and gives a presentation, so that all students in the class hear about the histories of all the regions.

The presentations should be made up of the headings and key points; but you should talk around these points, so as to link each into a rounded overview of the topic.

It is usually more interesting for audiences to hear different voices, so try to have different members of the group taking different parts of the presentation.

Your teacher may finish the unit off with a plenary discussion about the contributions of your region to world history as a whole. While you are preparing the presentation, think about the wider context of the events and developments you are covering.