Learning about ancient civilizations can be both fun and meaningful for your Ontario Grade 4 students! Using my new Early Societies to 1500 social studies unit, your class will soon be engaged in learning about the fascinating cultures of the early Anishinaabe and Inuit societies of Canada, as well as Ancient China, Greece, Egypt, and Medieval England. While participating in “Expert Groups” and Knowledge-Building Circles, students will gain valuable insights into these early societies. Each group looks in-depth at one of the early cultures and then shares their newly acquired knowledge with the rest of the class.
Along the way, students learn about how each early society’s culture contributed to its development. They compare aspects of life such as the gender roles and social organization of their expert group society with those of other societies and with their own modern-day lives. Each student is tasked with creating an artifact from their chosen society. This artifact should represent something significant about that society.
The artifacts are put together for a fantastic museum that other classes can be invited to attend. Each student researches the artifact to make sure their creation accurately portrays their chosen society. Visitors from other classrooms can walk through the exhibits and ask your “historians” more about these early societies. It is sure to be entertaining as well as informative for everyone attending!
At the end of the activity, bring everyone together to make connections between different artifacts from separate early societies. For example, if one student has created a shield from Ancient Greece while another has designed a shield from Medieval England, then they must find similarities or differences between them. This activity encourages our students to compare and contrast how lives were lived in the past. It also allows them to explore further how these early societies were connected in ways that we may not recognize today.