The context for this lesson is a 6th grade social studies or world history class. To complete this lesson, students need minimal skills regarding what they actually know about civilizations. They will be researching their civilization with their groups, so they will be learning about the civilizations as they research and as they watch other groups presentations. This lesson requires about a week's worth of class time to complete.

Group Size: Whole class

Learning Objectives:

After completing this lesson, students will do a presentation showing their understanding of the defining characteristics of a civilization, and will know in depth about their civilization that they researched within their group.

Guiding Question:

Are you civilized? Why? Is America civilized? Why? Do hunter and gatherers think we are civilized? Do we think they are civilized? What makes a group of people civilized?


Computers, books, video cameras, paper


Day 1:

  1. Break the students into small groups. Have them discuss the guiding questions with one another.
2. Meet back as a class have a class discussion about the guiding questions they went over.

3. Have the students break back into small groups and randomly assign each group a civilization. Have the civilizations vary in when they became a civilization (have some more ancient than others). Give the students a lot of information printed out about their civilization. The information will be more than they need, and discuss much more than what their project will actually be on. They will have to go through the information and pick out the important parts that they need. The information will also be websites that will give them more information about their civilization.

4. Have the students start looking at the information and brainstorming about their presentation.

Day 2:

  1. The groups will research their civilization with the information and websites provided for them.
2. They will put together some type of presentation for the class about their civilization. The presentation could be a PowerPoint, a play, etc.

Day 3:

  1. Have each group present about their culture.
2. Meet back together as a class and discuss the presentations. Compare/contrast the defining characteristics of each civilization.


I will assess the students by their presentations. Also, I will assess their knowledge of the characteristics of a civilization during the class discussions.

Answer Key or Rubric:

When I look at their presentations, I will look at the accuracy and the depth of which they researched their civilization.

Benchmark or Standards:

Benchmark #:SS.6.W.2.3

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