Sixth Grade Social Studies

The Ancient World

Unit 1:  Early Humans and the Rise of Civilizations
Investigating the Past
How do social scientists interpret the past?
Activity: Social Studies Skill Builder. Students learn how social scientists reconstruct the lives of prehistoric humans by examining images of cave paintings and other artifacts.

From Hunters and Gatherers to Farmers
How did the development of agriculture change daily life in the Neolithic Age?
Activity: Writing for Understanding. Students learn how the Neolithic development of agriculture led to a stable food supply, permanent shelters, larger communities, specialized jobs, and trade.

The Rise of Sumerian City-States
How did geographic challenges lead to the rise of city-states in Mesopotamia?
Activity: Response Group. Students learn how responses to geographic challenges resulted in the formation of complex Sumerian city-states.

Ancient Sumer
Why do historians classify ancient Sumer as a civilization?
Activity: Social Studies Skill Builder. Students learn about the characteristics of civilization and analyze artifacts to determine how each characteristic was exhibited in ancient Sumer.

Unit 2: Ancient Egypt and the Middle East
Geography and the Early Settlement of Egypt, Kush, and Canaan
How did geography affect early settlement in Egypt, Kush, and Canaan?
Activity: Experiential Exercise. Students use their bodies to recreate the physical geography of ancient Egypt, Kush, and Canaan, to learn about how environmental factors influenced early settlement in these areas.

Daily Life in Ancient Egypt
How did social class affect daily life in ancient Egypt?
Activity: Problem Solving Groupwork. Students create and perform interactive dramatizations to learn about the social structure of ancient Egypt and its effect on daily life for members of each social class.

The Kingdom of Kush
In what ways did location influence the history of Kush?
Activity: Visual Discovery. Students analyze images of significant events and leaders from four periods in the history of ancient Kush to learn about the development of the independent kingdom of Kush and its changing relationship with ancient Egypt.

The Origins of Judaism
How did Judaism originate and develop?
Activity: Writing for Understanding. Students identify key historical leaders of the ancient Israelites and explain their role in the development of Judaism.

Learning about World Religions: Judaism
What are the central teachings of Judaism, and why did they survive to modern day?
Activity: Experiential Exercise. Students identify the central teachings of Judaism as they explore ways in which these traditions have survived throughout history.

Unit 3: Ancient India
Geography and the Early Settlement of India
How did geography affect early settlement in India?
 Activity: Response Group. Groups identify physical features of the Indian subcontinent and explain how geography influenced the location of early settlement in India.

Learning about World Religions: Hinduism
What are the origins and beliefs of Hinduism?
Activity: Response Group. Students analyze images representing important beliefs in Hinduism to discover the religion’s origins in ancient traditions and discuss how these beliefs affect life in ancient India and today.

Learning about World Religions: Buddhism
What are the main beliefs and teachings of Buddhism?
Activity: Visual Discovery. Students analyze images to learn about the life of Siddhartha Gautama and how his teachings became the basis of Buddhism.

The Achievements of the Gupta Empire
Why is the period during the Gupta Empire known as a “golden age”?
Activity: Writing for Understanding. Students “visit” seven sites around the Gupta Empire that highlight important cultural and intellectual achievements and explain in writing why this period was a “golden age” in ancient India.

Unit 4: Ancient China
Geography and the Early Settlement of China
How did geography affect life in ancient China?
Activity: Problem Solving Groupwork. Students create a relief map and a geographic poster of China’s five regions and support hypotheses about the influence of geography on settlement and ways of life in ancient China.

Three Chinese Philosophies
How did Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism influence political rule in ancient China?
 Activity: Experiential Exercise. Students learn about Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism under classroom conditions that reflect the main beliefs of each philosophy.

The Han Dynasty
In what ways did the Han dynasty improve government and daily life in China? 
Activity: Social Studies Skill Builder. Students visit seven stations to learn about Han achievements in the fields of warfare, government, agriculture, industry, art, medicine, and science.

The Silk Road
How did the Silk Road promote an exchange of goods and ideas?
Activity: Experiential Exercise. Students travel along a simulated Silk Road to learn about facing obstacles, trading products, and absorbing cultural exchanges that occurred along the Silk Road during the Han dynasty.

Unit 5:  Ancient Greece
Geography and the Early Settlement of Greece
How did geography influence settlement and way of life in ancient Greece?
Activity: Visual Discovery. Students examine and analyze thematic maps to learn about the physical geography of ancient Greece and how it influenced the development of Greek civilization.

The Rise of Democracy
How did democracy develop in ancient Greece?
Activity: Experiential Exercise. Students use the principles of monarchy, oligarchy, tyranny, and democracy to select and play music for the class, as a way to examine the various forms of government in ancient Greece that led to the development of democracy.

Life in Two City-States: Athens and Sparta
What were the major differences between Athens and Sparta?
Activity: Social Studies Skill Builder. Students examine the major differences between Athens and Sparta by working in pairs to create placards with illustrations and challenge questions about each city-state.

The Golden Age of Athens
What were the major cultural achievements of Athens?
Activity: Writing for Understanding. Students take a “walking tour” of Athens, visiting six sites to learn about various aspects of Greek culture. Students then write a speech describing Athens during its Golden Age.

The Legacy of Ancient Greece
How did ancient Greece contribute to the modern world?
Activity: Social Studies Skill Builder. Students learn about the enduring contributions of the ancient Greeks by matching descriptions of modern life to images of Greek achievements in language, literature, government, the arts, the sciences, and sports.

Unit 6: Ancient Rome
Geography and the Early Development of Rome
How did the Etruscans and Greeks influence the development of Rome?
Activity: Response Group. Students learn about the founding of Rome, and examine images to identify evidence of Etruscan and Greek influences on Rome.

The Rise of the Roman Republic
What were the characteristics of the Roman Republic and how did they change over time?
Activity: Experiential Exercise. Students assume the roles of patricians and plebeians to learn how the struggle between these two groups led to a more democratic government in the Roman Republic.

From Republic to Empire
Did the benefits of Roman expansion outweigh the costs?
Activity: Problem Solving Groupwork. Students explore and record events leading to the expansion of Roman territory and the creation of the empire.

The Origins and Spread of Christianity
How did Christianity originate and spread?
Activity: Social Studies Skill Builder. Students learn about the development and spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire, and analyze parables to understand the teachings of Jesus.

Learning about World Religions: Christianity
How are Christians’ lives shaped by the beliefs and practices of Christianity?
Activity: Visual Discovery. Students analyze images of Christian sacraments, worship, and holidays to learn about the key beliefs and practices of Christianity.

The Legacy of Rome in the Modern World
To what extent does ancient Rome influence us today?
Activity: Response Group. Students play the “Rome to Home” game to discover how aspects of Roman culture, such as art and language, influence modern life.

Other Resources

State Social Studies Grade Level Content Expectations for Sixth Grade 391kb PDF externallink.gif

 

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