Mesopotamia cradle of civilization

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Lesson One – Geography


City State, Division of Labour, Epics, Fertile Crescent, Hierarchy, Irrigation, Mesopotamia, Monarch, Polytheism, Silt, Surplus, Ziggurat

Important Social Studies Concepts

  • ____________________ control and change

  • Civilizations

  • Cultural _________________ and adaptation

  • Government

  • Economic development

  • Technological change

  • __________________

Knowledge Objectives

  • Students will learn the importance of the _____________ and _______________ rivers to the civilization of Mesopotamia;

  • Consider how the use of _______________ increased crop yields and how surplus crops furthered the development of Mesopotamia;

  • Investigate the ______________ major divisions in the study of Mesopotamia, how they developed and how they changed over time.

Key Inquires

  • Describe the physical geography of the ___________ ____________ and the impact it had on peoples’ lives.

  • Explain the process that led to the creation of the first city-states.

  • Present ______________ achievements in culture and science.

  • Describe the achievements of the _______________ civilization.

  • Map the locations of the Hittites, ______________, and Chaldeans.

  • Show the expansion of the Phoenicians and their contributions to later civilizations.


  • Reading: Land Between Rivers pg. 65 - 67

  • Notes: Farming and Division of Labour

  • Climagraph

  • Map Making: Basics of Mesopotamian Geography

  • Essential Questions


  • What impact did the ______________ and ______________ have on life in Mesopotamia?

  • What allowed people in Mesopotamia to _____________ the first cities?

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are the most important physical features of the region sometimes known as Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia means “___________ the ____________” in Greek. The region called Mesopotamia lies between Asia Minor and the Persian Gulf. The region is part of a larger area called the ____________ Crescent, a large arc of rich, or fertile, farmland. The Fertile Crescent extends from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.

Mesopotamia was actually made of two parts. Northern Mesopotamia was a plateau bordered on the north and the east by mountains. Southern Mesopotamia was a flat plain. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers ___________ ___________ from the hills into this low-lying plain.

_____________________ groups first settled in Mesopotamia more than 12,000 years ago. Over time, these people learned how to _____________ ____________ to grow their own food. Every year, floods on the Tigris and Euphrates brought silt to the land. The fertile ________________ made the land ideal for agriculture. The first farming settlements formed as early as _______________. Farmers grew wheat, barley, and other grains. Livestock, birds, and fish were also good sources of food. Plentiful food led to population growth, and villages formed. Eventually, these early villages developed into the world’s __________ civilization.


Farming in Mesopotamia was difficult because of __________________ water supply.

The Land often alternated between periods of drought and _______________.
What would cause drought or flooding?

  • To solve their water problem, people dug ______________ and ditches to control the flow of water and ______________ flooding.


In Mesopotamia a single farmer could grow enough food to support _____________ people.

With division of labour societies became more complex as people ______________ in different jobs.
What jobs would a larger settlement need people to do?

  • By 4000 BCE the largest settlements had developed into cities with populations of around 10,000 people


  • On the map sheet find and label:

  • The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

  • The Mediterranean and Persian Gulf

  • The Taurus and Zagros Mountains

  • The Syrian Desert

Make a Climagraph – page 69 Ancient Worlds

Make a climagraph for Vancouver, British Columbia.


What impact did the Tigris and Euphrates have on life in Mesopotamia?

What allowed people in Mesopotamia to create the first cities?

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