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This is a multi-day lesson plan that I put together to cover both the Paleolithic and Neolithic Eras. It is important to cover the Neolithic Revolution in any world history class; however, it is just as important to cover the Paleolithic era. This lesson focuses on human society in both time periods, which helps students understand the changes that were brought about with the rise of agriculture.
More specifically, this 2-3 day (depending on the length of your class period) lesson plan will cover the topics of human migration, life for humans in the Paleo era, why agriculture arose when it did, changes that arose from agriculture, pastoral groups, and lastly… the rise of civilization. This lesson provides a great beginning of the year lesson for world history classes as well as an introduction/transition to the Ancient River Valley civilizations.
I try not to spend too much time on the Paleo/Neo Eras (especially in the AP classes)…so I’ll admit the lesson contains quite a bit of direct instruction. However, within the PowerPoint are discussion questions to break up the lectures. Further, I have included entrance questions (bell ringers) for each day as well as exit questions (which I use as formative assessments). On the last day of the lesson, students are asked to read and analyze excerpts from opposing scholarly opinions (For the teacher, I highly recommend looking more into the full works of the scholars). Using the two opinions, students must work together to deliberate with an opposing pair and eventually come to a conclusion/evaluation of their own on the impact of agriculture on humans. I have received great results and reactions from my students with this deliberation activity.
The zip-file contains:
Paleolithic SPICE Chart
Paleolithic/Neolithic Bell Ringers
Neolithic Deliberation Excerpts (pdf)
Neolithic Deliberation Handout
Lesson Plan Description/Instructions