Hey guys! It's been so much fun getting to know my new project group! Early in the week, we investigated the ways archaeologists learn about the past, and we looked at primary source artifacts (cave paintings, tools, etc.) to try to determine what they can tell us about ancient peoples.
Then we looked at the evolution of humans from early hominins to hunter-gatherer societies to farming communities and city-states. Researching early hominins, we drew images of superheroes first and talked about the various superpowers our favorite heroes have, and how having that superpower differentiates them. Then we learned about groups of early humans, such as Homo habilis (handy man), Homo erectus (upright man), and Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens, and talked about the capabilities (superpowers!) each of these groups developed. Students examined illustrations of each group to deduce what kinds of capabilities they had, such as building tools or using fire.
Then we took turns acting short skits to demonstrate the differences between various groups in human history. After learning about early humans, we turned out attention to the evolution from hunting and gathering to farming, studied the difference between the Neolithic and Paleolithic times, and worked on short cartoons to demonstrates ways human societies evolved from the old stone ages to the new stone ages.
The first ancient civilization we turned out attention to was Ancient Sumer in Mesopotamia. Students were given four problems to solve (problems the Sumerians faced) and worked in groups to think about how they would solve them. The problems were: overcrowding in the foothills, how to survive in a river plain that was either flooded or dry, how to manage a complex system of canals that stretched across cities, and how to avoid attack. Students came up with some great solutions, and some were very similar (such as dams and canals and moats) to the solutions the ancient Sumerians decided on!