Guns, Germs and Steel Video Worksheets -- Examview Version

Guns, Germs and Steel Video Worksheets -- Examview Version
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Few teaching units can effectively capture the breadth of human history since the dawn of farming to the present day, but Jared Diamond's breathtaking series, Guns, Germs and Steel does so with aplomb.

High school students being what they are, however, they may not fully appreciate Diamond's fascinating episodes for their own sake. That's where these Examview question sets come in.

They will help hold students accountable for paying close attention to the videos so that much more content is learned and absorbed. This bundle contains video question sets for episodes 1 and 2 of Jared Diamond's 3-part series. (There is no question set provided for episode 3 simply because, after having used this series with World History and Economics classes for several years, I have concluded that the third episode is the weakest. The most important content is well-covered in the first two episodes, which is what my classes focus on every year.)


This series is *perfect* for World History courses and fits in well when studying the ancient world and again when looking at the age of European imperialism. Basically, the series is an exploration of one of the key questions about the modern world: why are wealth and power distributed so unequally? Why are some continents so rich while others seem to be so poor?

Because this is the major focus of the series, it is also ideal for Economics classes.

During the Age of Imperialism, a number of explanations were floated to explain these discrepancies. By and large, they were based on racism. Diamond debunks these skillfully, presenting the idea that won him a Pulitzer Prize: the physical geography of the earth has had a controlling influence on the development of key technological breakthroughs that gave some areas a head start over others. It all starts with farming, and with the fact that not all world areas started off with the same wealth of animals that were capable of being domesticated. The shape of the continents has actually been a key historical force, according to Diamond; those with a long east-west axis enjoyed a great advantage over those with a north-south orientation. From these factors, much of the modern world has sprung.


These question sets are designed to be used with the videos. You can often find them on Netflix -- just search for Guns, Germs and Steel. They also play regularly on PBS stations and are available for purchase on sites like Amazon ( I have also seen the videos playing online at various sites. Every time I Google search for them, several such results pop up.


Guns, Germs and Steel fits into the curriculum at a number of key places -- it truly is a very versatile video to add to your teaching library. You could show episodes when the class reaches any of the following moments in history:

* Neolithic revolution
* Fertile Crescent
* Age of Exploration
* Age of Imperialism
* Spanish Conquest of South America
* Age of New Imperialism

Or you could show it during an Economics class at any time to provide a powerful explanation as to why some world regions have economies that are very much poorer than others.


Examview files can be used in a lot of different ways -- over the internet (just load the files into an online learning system like Edmodo or Schoology), with hand-held clickers and CPS software, with iPads or other devices and Insight 360 software, or in a computer lab using the Examview Test Manager.

The question sets work well if students complete them after watching an episode; in this respect, they can function as a test on the episode just watched. However, some teachers may find it more useful to have students work on the questions while they are watching the videos.


Each covered episode has a True/False section and a Multiple Choice section included in the Examview file for it. Teachers who want both a "during" activity and an "after" assessment could designate T/F for one and Multiple Choice for the other.


These Guns, Germs, and Steel Worksheets contain the following materials:

Episode 1:
Examview test file for interactive or online assessment.
Examview bank file for combining these questions with other assessments.
Full answer key, with many answers annotated, embedded in both the test file and the bank file.

Episode 2:
Examview test file for interactive or online assessment.
Examview bank file for combining these questions with other assessments.
Full answer key, with many answers annotated, embedded in both the test file and the bank file.

I hope that you find ways to make these Guns, Germs and Steel Questions a regular part of your World History or Economics teaching -- the series truly is a fascinating and innovative look at the roots of inequality in the modern world, and can provide an excellent counterpoint when classes reach explanations of how Social Darwinism was once used to answer the question: Why are some places in the world so rich while others are so poor?


Examview files can certainly be printed out, but the resulting worksheets won't be as nicely formatted as you might like. They might also take a lot of paper.

A better option is probably this resource:

Guns, Germs and Steel Video Worksheets -- PDF Printable Version

Either way, I wish you a wonderful school year and lots of happy teaching!


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Elise Parker

keywords: social justice, anthropology, agricultural revolution, dawn of farming, domestication, domesticated animals, Europe, Asia, Middle East, South America, Mesopotamia, Fertile Crescent, economics
Total Pages
19 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 hours
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