The Grade 4, Unit 1: Early Societies to 1500 CE packet is aligned with the Ontario Social Studies unit outcomes and indicators as outlined in the 2018 Social Studies curriculum document. This packet features lessons and activities that aid students in gaining an understanding of the following expectations:
- A1. Compare key aspects of life in a few early societies (to 1500), including at least one First Nation and one Inuit society, each from a different region and era and representing a different culture, and describe some key similarities and differences between these early societies and present-day Canadian society.
- A2. Use the social studies inquiry process to investigate ways of life and relationships with the environment in a few early societies (to 1500), including at least one First Nation and one Inuit society, with an emphasis on aspects of the interrelationship between the environment and life in those societies.
- A3. Demonstrate an understanding of key aspects of a few early societies (to 1500), including at least one First Nation and one Inuit society, each from a different region and era and representing a different culture, with reference to their political and social organization, daily life, and relationships with the environment and with each other.
Please note that this unit was fully revised and updated as of 08/05/2019. This packet does not contain readings about each of the early civilizations anymore. Rather learning about early civilizations is now part of an inquiry assignment.
About the Unit:
With this unit, students are asked to explore early societies up to 1500 and identify the relationship between early societies and the environment. Through this unit, students practice extracting information on daily life from visual evidence and interpret the visual information to identify what life was like, and how it compares to present-day society. Students also explore the significant physical features and natural processes and events in a few early societies and how they affected these societies in terms of food production and sustainability. Students also explore aspects about each different early society in terms of scientific and technological developments, social organization, the governing of the societies and reasons for conflict.
How Inquiry is Incorporated:
As part of this packet, students are asked to get into small groups and choose a society to become an expert on. Students are asked to explore key aspects of the early society such as culture, political and social organization, daily life, and relationships with the environment and with each other. While students are completing their inquiry assignment, they will also be learning about a civilization during each lesson – the Mayan civilization. The purpose of this is to have a model for which students can reference to help them with their inquiry assignment. Students can also use the civilization to assess and compare their own researched civilization with.
The options for the inquiry assignment civilizations are: Inuit, Six Nations, Ancient Rome, Ancient China, Ancient Greece, Aztec, Medieval England, Indus Valley, and the Inca. In order to facilitate all of the given civilization, making eight groups of 3 – 4 students is recommended. You can also minimize the number of civilizations explored, but please be sure to have at least one group research the Inuit, and one group research the Six Nations.
There are 16 lessons included in this packet. Each lesson has a duration that ranges between 1 period to 4 periods.
Lesson 1.1: Introducing the Unit
Lesson 1.2: Exploring the Past
Lesson 1.3: Introducing Mayans
Lesson 1.4: Maya Culture and Beliefs
Lesson 1.5: Exploring Daily Life
Lesson 1.6: Ages of Development
Lesson 1.7: Early Societies and Water
Lesson 1.8: Society and the Environment
Lesson 1.9: Conflict and Cooperation
Lesson 1.10: The Maya "Disappear?"
Lesson 1.11: The Importance of Trade
Lesson 1.12: Exploring Early Societies
Lesson 1.13: Documenting Our Society
Lesson 1.14: Comparing Societies
Lesson 1.15: The Cause of Change
Lesson 1.16: Present-Day Societies
With this unit, there are two assignments provided. The assignments included are as follows:
Assignment 1.1: Early Societies - Researching a Civilization Inquiry Assignment
Assignment 1.2: Early Societies to 1500 CE Reflection Journal
Activities, Assessments, and Readings Included:
All activities relate to each of the three unit outcomes. Students are asked to choose different early societies to explore for some of the provided activities. This is to ensure that students are exploring a variety of early societies, rather than just one. This packet features 27 activities, 5 rubrics, 8 readings, 1 self-assessments, 3 exit cards, and 1 reflection.
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