Stage I established Goals

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Stage I

Established Goals: The Big Idea - How do the accomplishments of a Civilization shape it?

The Goals of this unit are wrapped around the themes of government, literacy, religion, architecture, geography and trade.

  • Through the Fall of Rome, the students will see life decline in Europe, i.e. illiteracy, disease, violence, a decrease in population.

  • During difficult times, we see people turn toward the church.

  • Through trade, we see the rise of Islam.

  • During violent times, we see a struggle for power and the creation of a feudal system.

Enduring Understandings:

Overarching(Life application)

Unit Specific: (Topical)

  • Civilizations boundaries change throughout time.

  • When encounters between cultures occur conflict and change take place.

  • Religion plays a large part in the actions of a society.

  • During times of violence and turbulence, individuals naturally seek protection from those who seem to wield more power.

  • Social class often determines power and rights

Essential Questions:

Essential Questions:

  • How do times of turbulence and violence affect a person’s choices?

  • How does religion drive social choices?

  • How does geography impact society?

People,_Events)'>Students will know…. (Content knowledge-Terms, People, Events)

  • Dark Ages? Middle Ages?

  • Illiteracy, Disease, Violence, Church, Decrease Population

  • Byzantine Empire:

  • Reign of Justinian I & Theodora

  • Division of Christianity:

  • Catholicism vs. Orthodox Christian

  • Rise of Islam: Muslim Empire

  • Muhammad, Allah, Qur’an

  • Mecca, Medina

  • Charlemagne: Legacy

  • Charles Martel

  • “Holy Roman Emperor”

  • Fields of May

  • Feudalism:

  • Economic, Political, Social

  • Nobel, Serf, Manor

  • Bubonic Plague: Black Death

  • Crusades: Power of the Pope

Rise of Nation-States






Middle Ages


Feudal System









Silk Road

Bubonic Plague


John Locke

Joan of Arc


Justinian I



Bubonic Plague

Students will be able to ….(Skills – Use continuum)

  • Word Meaning in Context (ELA)

  • Making Predictions

  • Europe’s Future

  • Making Inferences

  • Cause & Effect:

  • Birth of Catholicism

  • Rise of Islam

  • Bubonic Plague.

  • Crusades

  • Compare & Contrast:

  • Orthodox and Catholic.

  • Shiite and Sunni.

  • West and East Europe.

  • Sequence of Events:

  • Birth of Islam

  • Charlemagne’s crowning.

  • Bubonic Plague

  • Map Reading Skills:

  • Analyze Non-fiction Text

  • Using Historical Terms correctly.

  • Interpret visuals


Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence

Performance Tasks:

  • DBQ’s: After viewing several documents that depict life in the Middle Ages, students will be able to answer one of the essential questions, in a well developed essay, they will be able to use supporting evidence from the documents to defend &/or support their answers.

Other Evidence (Tests & Quizzes)

  • Vocabulary Assessments

  • Quick Writes

  • Discussions (Group & Class)

  • Reflection Questions

  • Timelines

  • Quizzes

  • Writing Assignment(s):

  • Diary/Journal as a serf.

  • Informational Brochures

Stage 3 – Learning Plan


Reading Standards for Informational Text in SS (6th)

  • RS-1- Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of explicit and inferenced texts

  • RS-2- Determine central idea of text through details.

  • RS-3- Analyze how key individual, event or idea is introduced, illustrated and elaborated in text.

  • RS-4- Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used historical texts.

  • RS-8- Trace and evaluate the argument and claims in a text.

  • RS-9- Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another.

Writing Standards in SS - Grade 6th

  • W-1-Write Arguments to support claims with clear evidence.

  • W-2-Write informative texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information through the content.

  • W-3-Write narrative to develop real or imagined experiences or events.

Speaking and Listening Standards in SS - Grade 6th

  • SL-1- Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

  • SL-3- Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

Learning Activities
Activity 1 Launch

The students will study various maps (Rome, After the Fall of Rome, and Byzantine Empire) the students will complete their own map of Europe’s changing political landscape after Rome’s Fall.

Activity 2 Byzantine Empire

While reading an informational text and viewing primary sources about the Byzantine Empire and Justinian I, the students will complete a graphic organizer. The students will then answer biographical questions about Justinian I and Theodora.

Activity 3 Geography, Trade and Islam

Students will read informational text about the Islamic World. After a class discussion focused on Islamic achievements and accomplishments, students will be able to complete a chart that outlines the advantages of Islamic inventions (branch banking, algebra, astronomy, map making) from the past and today.

Activity 4 Geography of the River Systems of Europe

Activate prior knowledge using a Word Splash about the river systems of the previously explored civilizations. Students will then be able to use informational text to create a Venn Diagram comparing the river systems of Europe to the other river systems.

Activity 5 Government & Charlemagne

Students will use various informational texts to explore monarchs and the government of a Monarchy. The students will select a monarch to study in-depth and then create a character web to highlight the monarch’s accomplishments, achievements, & impact on society. The students will create a political cartoon to illustrate their findings.

Activity 6 Life in the Middle Ages & Feudalism

Students will notetake during a powerpoint presentation that highlights the social class system during the Middle Ages. Students will use visuals to analyze and discuss life on a manor. The students will be able to discuss, in small groups, the reasons people, during the Middle Ages, chose to live on a manor, including the advantages and disadvantages. Each group will select what they consider to be the most important advantage and disadvantage of living on a manor. The groups will then share and defend their findings with the whole class.

Activity 7 The Crusades

After reading informational text and viewing a powerpoint presentation about the Crusades, the students will be able to complete a cause and effect chart.

Activity 8 Trade and the Silk Road

Students will study primary and secondary sources related to the Silk Road, including maps and visuals. Students will read an informational text that highlights the sequence of events while reading. The students will create a timeline of the important events from the height of the Silk Road.

Activity 9 – The Bubonic Plague

Students will view an introductory powerpoint presentation with images and background information about the Black Death. They will then work together to investigate informational texts and primary sources. They will use the information they collected to create a poster that will warn people about the Bubonic Plague and how to stay safe from infection.

Adapted from Understanding by Design Professional Development Workbook ©2004

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