Ancient Civilizations and the Night Sky: A Spiral Studies Mini Unit
This fun and educational unit will help your students draw connections between the ancient civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, Persia, India, China, and Greece by focusing on something they all had in common: a desire to understand the objects they saw in the night sky.
This unit includes:
*What Do You See in the Night Sky activity
(4 student pages, 16 star identifications printables for you to post around your room)
*Constellation flap book
(2 pages printed front-to-back)
*What Did Ancient Civilizations See in the Night Sky mini-tab book
which contains the students' guided notes (5 student pages, 5 pages for answer key, 1 illustrated directions page to help students make their books)
*What Did Ancient Civilizations See in the Night Sky PowerPoint Show
(29 slides, available as a 1997-2003 show, 2010 show, and PDF)
*Cultural Diffusion Activity
(2 student pages, 10 pages of images for activity in color or greyscale)
*Night Sky bingo
*Design a t-shirt activity
This zip file contains 1997-2003 and 2010 PowerPoint shows and PDF files.
Check this out!
This resource includes TWO versions of the Ancient Civilizations and the Night Sky
. That’s right! There is one version of the unit that is turn-key and ready to be taught as a stand-alone unit in your Social Studies classroom….and there is another version that can be combined with units from other subject areas to create an INTEGRATED STUDY
of the stars! After you download this resource, just use the version of the unit that will work best in your classroom (integrated or stand alone).
About the Integrated Version of the Unit
The teacher-authors from Math Giraffe
, Kate’s Classroom Café
, Brain Waves Instruction
, and I have teamed up to create engaging, rigorous, and interactive integrated units
that can be easily implemented in middle school classrooms. We call them SPIRAL STUDIES.
We love the idea of helping students learn critical ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies skills and content in an integrated format. That’s why we’ve worked together to create an integrated Study of the Stars!
We’ve each created stand-alone units about stars that can be taught completely in isolation and integrated versions of the same units that can be taught in conjunction with other subject areas. Special features of the integrated units include an interactive Learning Folder that students create and add to in each class and a bonus Part 4 of instruction where students showcase their integrated learning while creating “The Night Sky News” newspaper. Learn more HERE.
Part 1: Students start with a fun activity: What Do You See in the Night Sky, then they go on a scavenger hunt to identify constellation images, and create a constellation star flap book. They will also learn about what, in general, ancient civilizations saw in the night sky in a PowerPoint presentation. Students will create a mini-tab book and fill in guided notes.
Part 2: Students will learn about what the Sumerians, Babylonians, Persians, and Egyptians saw in the night sky and continue to fill in their guided notes in the mini-tab book. Then, students will play a cultural diffusion simulation game to help them understand the role cultural diffusion played in the spread of ideas about the night sky.
Part 3: Students will learn about what the Ancient Indians, Chinese, and Greeks saw in the night sky and complete their guided notes in their mini-tab books. They will wrap up the unit with a fun bingo game and a design a t-shirt activity.
Integrated Version of the Unit
– Can be taught in conjunction with units from other subject areas
• Integrated Unit Topic: The Stars
• Overview: Students will learn about stars and then consider: What storytellers (ELA), scientists (Science), mathematicians (Math), and ancient civilizations (SS) see in the night sky.
• In ELA students read Greek myths and write a constellation myth. In Science students participate in interactive stations and learn about stars and the night sky. In Math students use constellations to learn about the coordinate plane. In Social Studies students learn about ancient civilizations and what the night sky looked like in ancient times.
Bonus Resources in the Integrated Unit
• Explanation of the integrated resources (for teachers)
• Scope and Sequence of the unit across subject areas
• Learning Folder Resources (title and learning pocket)
• Optional Part 4 – Culminating Activity – Students showcase their learning across all the subject areas while creating “The Night Sky News” newspaper. Students complete elements in each subject area. In Social Studies, they will create time travel interview and then turn their interview into a comic strip for the newspaper. The end result is a creative and integrated newspaper! Part 4 bonus materials include a lesson plan, directions pages, student planning pages
Find the Integrated Units
from the other subject areas here:
• ELA – What Do Storytellers See in the Night Sky?
by Brain Waves Instruction
• Math – What Do Mathematicians See in the Night Sky?
by Math Giraffe
• Science – What Do Scientists See in the Night Sky?
by Kate’s Classroom Café
Remember…two versions of the unit are included in this resource. If you want to teach the Ancient Civilizations and the Night Sky Unit as a stand-alone unit or an integrated unit, it’s completely ready for you.
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