Time Periods

6.5.7 WH 1, 2 Recognize major historical time periods (i.e., Early Civilizations, Classical Period, Dark Ages, Middle Ages, and Renaissance).
6.5.1 WH 1, 2 Read a timeline and order events of the past between prehistory and the Renaissance.

Map Reading SPIs



Identify the basic components of a world map (i.e., compass rose, map key, scale, latitude and longitude lines, continents, and oceans).   



Identify basic geographic forms (i.e., rivers, lakes, bays, oceans, mountains, plateaus, deserts, plains, and coastal plains).



Identify geographic reasons for the location of population centers prior to 1500 (i.e., coastal plains, deserts, mountains, and river valleys).



Use a variety of maps to understand geographic and historical information (i.e., political maps, resource maps, product maps, physical maps, climate maps, and vegetation maps).



Identify the location of early civilizations on a map (i.e. Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Ancient Chinese, Indian).

Culture SPIs


WH 1, 2

Identify differences between various cultural groups (i.e., European, Eurasian, Indian, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and Native American).

6.5.5 WH 1 Identify major technological advances (i.e., tools, wheel, irrigation, river dikes, development of farming, advances in weaponry, written language, and printing press).
6.4.4 GC Recognize the roles assigned to individuals in various societies (i.e., caste systems, feudal systems, city-state systems, and class systems).



Recognize reasons that cultural groups develop or settle in specific physical environments.

6.1.7 WH 1 Identify how early writing forms in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley influenced life (i.e., legal, religious, and culture).
6.5.4 WH 1 Recognize the forms of early world writing (i.e. cuneiform and Egyptian/Native American Hieroglyphics).
6.5.17 WH 1 Recognize the significant mythologies of the Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
6.1.1 G Recognize the basic components of culture (i.e., language, common values, traditions, government, art, literature, and lifestyles).
6.5.11 WH 1, 2 Identify characteristics including economy, social relations, religion, and political authority of various societies (i.e., Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek City-States, Roman Empire, Indian, and Medieval).
6.5.12 WH 1, 2 Recognize the possible causes of change in civilizations (i.e., environmental change, political collapse, new ideas, warfare, overpopulation, unreliable food sources, and diseases).

Economy SPIs

6.2.4 E Recognize the importance of economic systems in the development of early civilizations around rivers (i.e., Tigris and Euphrates, Huang He, Nile, and Indus).

Government and Leaders



Recognize the steps that give rise to complex governmental organizations (i.e., nomadic, farming, village, city, city-states, and states).



Recognize types of government (i.e., formal/informal, monarchy, direct/indirect democracy, republics, and theocracy).

6.4.3 GC Identify the development of written laws (i.e., Hammurabi’s Code, Justinian Code, and Magna Carta).


Lesson Plans (6 Days)

Day 1

  1. Using a World Continent Map color in the location of the Mesopotamian Empire. 6.3.3
    Blank Map of Mesopotamia http://highland.hitcho.com.au/acmesopotamiamap.pdf


  2. Create a Timeline 6.5.1, 6.5.7 (Early Civilizations)

Mesopotamia Timeline

3500     3200     2900     2600     2300     2000     1700     1400     1100     800    
Sumerians 3500-2340 BCE             Babylonian Empire 1900 - 1100 BCE          
                    Akkadian Empire 2370-1900 BCE                 Assyrian 1100-612 BCE


Add to Mesopotamia Organizer throughout unit.


very hot summers

little rain

dry land

spring rains brought flooding to rivers which made rich soil for wheat and barley


city-states which included a city or village and farmlands around it

city-states had own leaders

Sumer formed new government called monarchy (one person had complete authority to rule)45

in 1900 BCE Amorites conquered Sumer - Hammurabi became powerful king of Mesopotamia and introduced an important code of law

Social Class System
  1. highest class - nobles (king, priests, leaders)

  2. merchant, craftworkers, and managers (middle class)

    • carpenters

    • potters

    • bricklayers

    • doctors

    • scribes (writing valuable skill)

  3. laborers (unskilled workers) and slaves (prisoners of war)


believed by pleasing gods they would get large harvests

thoughts natural disasters were signs that gods were angry

chief gods of Sumer were Enlil (god of winds, storm, and rain) & Ea (god of waters and wisdom)


became traders - farmers produced more food than needed

used riverboats called turnips to transport goods

developed a system of recordkeeping to manage trade






  • wheel
  • plow
  • built dikes and canals
  • sailboat

homes were huts built from bundles of reeds -later homes built from sun-baked mud bricks

temple in center of each city-state housed city-state's patron god or goddess

first platform temple - then became temple-towers called ziggurats  - made from sun-baked bricks-facings made of colorful glazed bricks

built system of sewers & flush toilets

Traditions and Common Values

clothing made from wool or flax

men were bare-chested & wore skirtlike garments tied at waist

women wore gowns that covered from shoulders to ankles - right arm & shoulder left uncovered - braided hair and wrapped it around head - wore headdresses for important occasions

wore gold and silver jewelry set with precious stones

Form of Writing/Language

developed a system of recordkeeping to manage trade

set up formal contracts on clay tablets using wedge-writing called cuneiform


Sumerian (3500-2340 BCE)
built temples on top of vast ziggurats - Sculptures - produced many small, finely carved cylindrical seals made of marble

2370-1900 BCE)
bronze sculpture

Assyrian (1100-612 BCE)
relief sculpture

Babylonian (1900 - 1100 BCE)
King Nebuchadnezzar II built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
brightly colored glazed tiles, used to create relief sculptures


Day 2 - Location

  1. Map Activity  (History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations pages 26-28) 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 6.3.5

  2. Introduction (History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations pages 21-23)

  3. Lecture Notes 6.3.4 & 6.2.4


Day 3 - Government & Social Class System 6.4.5 & 6.5.11

  1. Lecture

  2. Read stories of Gilgamesh.

  3. Make a Cylinder Seal

    Have students create a cylinder seal that represents a celebration such as a wedding or harvest. Students can sculpt images on a piece of Styrofoam shaped like a cylinder and roll it onto a piece of modeling clay.


Day 4 - Religion

  1. Lecture

  2. Build ziggurat temple (History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations pages 30-31)


Day 5 - Cuneiform &  Daily Life

  1. Lecture

  2. Words to Know (ziggurat, flax, grains, and city-state) Make study guide History Pockets - Ancient Civilizations pages 19 & 11

  3. Students create a clay tablet with cuneiform inscriptions that must be decipherable. http://mesopotamia.lib.uchicago.edu/lessons_PDF/writing_a.pdf (Hands-On! The Invention of Writing contains alphabet.) & worksheet from Activity Book page 8 "Sumerian Culture"

  4. http://mesopotamia.lib.uchicago.edu/lessons_PDF/architecture_a.pdf

  5. Mesopotamian Art Lesson http://www.historylink101.com/lessons/art_history_lessons/mesopotamian_art_lesson.htm


Day 6 - History - The Rise and Fall of the Empire 6.5.12

  1. PowerPoint Presentation

    FIRST SUMERIANS  www.tarleton.edu/~cguthrie/AW3.ppt


  2. Lecture

    Sumerian (3500–2300 BC)

    Akkadian (2300–2150 BC)

    Assyrian (1400–600 BC)

  3. Worksheet from Activity Book pages 9-10 "The Code of Hammurabi"