Seventh grade students will review the tools and mental constructs used by historians and geographers. They will develop an understanding of Ancient World History, Eras 1 – 4. Geography, civics/government, and economics content is integrated throughout the year. As a capstone, the students will conduct investigations about past and present global issues. Using significant content knowledge, research, and inquiry, they will analyze the issue and propose a plan for the future. As part of the inquiry, they compose civic, persuasive essays using reasoned arguments.
Ultimately, why something happened in the past is the question that history is all about. And here’s the fun part (or the hard part!). It’s up to you to answer the why question. You will read about many things that happened in the past and some reasons why people think they happened. People who look at the same facts sometimes come to different conclusions. Answering the other “W” questions will help you answer the question, why: Why did this happen? Answering Why -- that’s what thinking like a historian is about.
Before we can begin to study the first peoples, it is important to establish the concept of time. Historians use timelines to help aid in the understanding of the time frame in which the topic under study has taken place. The first step is to establish how the past is organized into sections of time. The organization of time into Eras is a choice made by historians. The sections of time that are being used in this book are divided by major turning points (big events that change humans forever) in history. This book is organizing the major Eras into the following four categories: Prehistory, Ancient History, Middle Ages, and Modern History.
Location, location, location. You may have heard this phrase before. It is used by realtors to explain that the most important thing in selling a house is its location. With the civilizations you are about to study, location might be the most important thing that determined the success of those civilizations.
What is an empire? How did they grow? What did they do? How did they work? Why do they decline and fall? These are some of the questions that historians have studied and tried to figure out for centuries. In this chapter you will learn about the difference between a civilization and an empire, the characteristics of empires, the impact of geography on civilizations and empires, how trade developed, and how empires were governed. Finally you will look at some examples of empires from this age.
In this chapter you will learn about religion. What is religion? Simply put, religion is the belief in a god or set of gods. Unfortunately, the study of religion is not simply put. Religion is very complex; it is one of the most interesting parts of human existence. Religion is a belief in a god or set of gods and so much more. It is part of a cultural system that includes practice, world views, ethics, and a social organization that connects humans to each other and to a source of existence. A religious belief system is also a way of explaining the mysteries of life.
War, poverty, environmental disasters, lack of resources, the struggle for power, and the quest for freedom and rights have been the common threads throughout history. These issues are still the core of the modern world’s agenda in hopes of improving the lives of all humans. In this unit you are going to identify a significant issue that is still plaguing the world today, research the issue, write a persuasive essay that presents your solution to the problem you investigated, and, finally create a campaign to put your solution into action. Basically, you are going to witness what a positive difference you can make in the world!