1. Topic-
Mesopotamia: The Bedrock of Civilization
2. Content-
For the first lesson (day) of this unit, students will be given a rough overview of Mesopotamia including it's basic geography, the daily lives of it's inhabitants, and the region's overall importance in the greater context of developing civilizations. The opening portion of the lesson will expose students to a map of the area, pointing out the locations of major cities and geographic features of the region, emphasizing it's ideal location between two major rivers (Tigris and Euphrates) and how this accommodated their daily lifestyles. The second portion of class will delve more deeply into the daily lives of the people of Mesopotamia- emphasizing their mastery of the environment for survival using farming, irrigation, hunting, and other skills. Finally, the class will wrap up the lesson by considering more broadly how this early civilization laid the groundwork for all future civilizations with their breakthroughs in city building, government, and farming. The goal of this initial lesson is to provide students with a rough overview of the unit and the topics that will be explored in greater detail in weeks to come.

Lesson Vocabulary: trade, marketplace, irrigation, Tigris River, Euphrates River, civilization, city-state, Summer, The Fertile Crescent
3. Goals: Aims/Outcomes-
1. Students will identify the basic geography of Mesopotamia from it's major rivers, city-states, and geographic features.

2. Students will consider the daily lives of Mesopotamians involving their use of farming, irrigation, and hunting as a means of survival.

3.Students will recognize the importance of Mesopotamia in laying the foundation for all future civilizations with their breakthroughs in city building, agriculture, and irrigation.
4. Objectives-
Students will complete a bell ringer question asking them consider where the first civilization was and how it's inhabitants lived.

Students will work in groups to fill in and color a blank map of Mesopotamia using terms provided in a word bank related to city-states, rivers, and geographic features of the region. Questions at the bottom of this worksheet will test students comprehension of vocabulary presented in the PowerPoint.

Students will participate in a closing discussion of how the farming practices and general organization of Mesopotamia provided a blueprint for future civilizations to copy and follow. Students will relate our own civilization to Mesopotamia and demonstrate how their technology and lifestyles have influenced us.
5. Materials and Aids-
Mesopotamia: The Bedrock of Civilization PowerPoint
6. Procedures/Methods-

A. Introduction-

-Bell Ringer: Respond to the question in a couple sentences,"Where was the world's first civilization and how did it's people live"

-I will ask several volunteers to share their answers with the class.

-I will allow the class to briefly respond to eachother's responses and then introduce Mesopotamia as the site of the world's first civilization and transition into the PowerPoint. presentation,

B. Development-

Next, the PowerPoint. presentation will be used to introduce the basic geography of Mesopotamia using a simple map with terms for rivers, cities, and the geographic differences between Northern and Southern Mesopotamia. The next slides refer to the basic lifestyles of Mesopotamians emphasizing how they utilized the river for water supply, the nearby fertile soil for agriculture, and the plentiful wildlife and vegetation for their food supply. The last couple slides deal with the many breakthroughs of Mesopotamian society such as their irrigation techniques, pottery, farming practices, and city organization that have influenced all civilizations that followed.

C. Practice-

To test their comprehension of the geography of the region, students will work together in groups of 4 to 5 to fill out, decorate, and color a blank map of Mesopotamia using terms provided in a word bank.

D. Independent Practice-

Following the group exercise, students will work independently on a worksheet testing their comprehension of the daily lifestyles of Mesopotamians, key vocabulary, and other material presented in the PowerPoint.

E. Accommodations (Differentiated Instruction)-

Special needs students will receive a simplified version of the map (already filled out).

Gifted students will not have a word bank on their maps.


Once everyone has completed and turned in their maps and worksheets, I will end class with a discussion of why Mesopotamia was so crucial to the development of civilizations in general. Students will be asked to share what elements of their daily life originated in Mesopotamia. For instance, we might compare their marketplaces to our modern day shopping malls and grocery stores, their crude irrigation techniques to our modern damns, or even their pottery to our own.

This Lesson Plan is available at (www.teacherjet.com)