All the activities, information, comments, questions, discussions, debates, reading and writing that takes place in the classroom is important. There is nothing that could be considered to be insignificant. Having said that, there are some ideas that are more significant than others. On this page you will find a brief synopsis of the . . .

10 Big Ideas

So your question might be . . .

Big Idea # 1You are living history Everyone has a story to tell and every day is a little bit of history or herstory.

Big Idea # 2 Timelines are Chronological Timelines place dates in chronological order and allow us to see the relationship of different historical events. There are 3 rules to remember when trying to read a timeline. They are ...

Big Idea # 3 Think like a historian!!! Historians must interpret any source. They evaluate the sources and determine their accuracy and relevance. If it is a written source they must determine the point of view or perspective of the writer. They must determine, is the writer bias. When considering any source historians ask the 5 W questions - who, what, where, when and why.

Big Idea # 4 Agriculture Changes the World With the invention of agriculture people develop a new and completely different culture or way of life. Before agriculture people lived as hunter-gatherers moving from place to place in search of food. Agriculture allowed people to raise their own food and settle in one place. As a result people were able to have a stable food supply, specialized labor, form governments, build cities and eventually establish civilizations.

Big Idea # 5 The 5 Characteristics of a Civilization People organizing is the key to civilization. People organize into large groups. In order to make their society function well they create institutions such as governments, specialize in different jobs and create a constant food supply. As a result of these efforts people are considered at different levels in the civilization. Also as a result of these efforts they develop a culture, which is basically how they live, what they consider important and their accomplishments.

Stable Food Supply Specialization of Labor System of Government Social Classes - Social Levels - Social Hierarchy Culture - Writing, Architecture, Laws, Religion

Big Idea # 6 Mesopotamia is the Cradle of Civilization Mesopotamia is a region located within the Fertile Crescent in what is now known as the Middle East. Mesopotamian civilizations are the foundation of the house that is civilization. These civilizations created or invented institutions, ideas and tools that provided the building blocks of future civilizations including our own.

Big Idea # 7 Ancient Egyptian Culture - Architecture, Art and the Afterlife Ancient Egyptian culture was greatly influenced by their belief in an afterlife. The ancient Egyptians believed the pharaoh was a god king on Earth. In order to achieve an afterlife they must maintain the principles of Maat while on Earth. As part of their preparation for the afterlife they built monumental architecture such as pyramids, cult temples and mortuary temples. That architecture displayed essentially art in the form of picture reliefs and hieroglyphic reliefs that serve as evidence of their beliefs.

Big Idea # 1 - Identify the ingredients of the Civilization Recipe -
Stable Food supply
System of Government
Social Levels
Specialization of Labor

Students will receive a paper called the "Civilization Recipe" (see document below) that will be kept in your binder for the entire school year. There are many different interpretations as to what "ingredients" are needed to make a civilization. My recipe tries to narrow the focus. Although, I must explain that culture in my interpretation includes many different aspects, such as, religion, architecture, writing, music, art, literature, education and virtually all other aspects found in a society.

Note: I have presented the parts of a civilization as a recipe which requires ingredients as a way of making the idea more memorable. More than likely when reading about what makes a civilization those sources will refer to it's different parts as aspects or characteristics. At times in the classroom I will also use the same terminology.

Big Idea # 2 - Understand how to interpret dates along a timeline. Describe the word chronology and how it relates to dates along a timeline; interpret how many years between two different events on a timeline; understand the abbreviations BC, AD, BCE, CE, and c.

Big Idea # 3 -Understand, describe and identify different historical sources - Be able to identify a primary and secondary source. Be able to describe the distinction between the two and each of their advantages and limitations. Also, identify sources as either written sources or non-written sources, and what types of non-written sources, artifacts, fossils or oral traditions. Understand how to think like a historian and learn to think critically. Be familiar with terms such as, point of view, inferencing, contextualization and bias.

Big Idea # 4 - Understand how agriculture changed the world! Agriculture may be the single most influential idea or invention in history. Agriculture or farming allowed people to settle in one place. Before agriculture people were basically hunter-gatherers. This meant that they moved from place to place searching for food. They lived in "bands", which are small groups of people, anywhere from about twenty to a hundred. When and where they moved might depend on the season and where wild crops were growing. Or it might depend on where herds of animals might be to hunt. Because they were on the move they had little for possessions. With the invention of agriculture people had a stable food supply. With agriculture people were able to settle in one spot. One person would be able to grow enough crops for ten people. Those people could specialize in other jobs and create things such as tools, pottery, clothes, buildings and other possessions. Agriculture makes civilization possible.

Big Idea # 5 - Understand why people form systems of government and the different kinds of governments

Big Idea # 6 - Understand how and why the Parthenon represents the ideas of what is called "Western Civilization" and what those ideas are

Big Idea # 7 - Understand what is meant by the word culture

Big Idea # 8 - Understand how different empires helped to spread ideas, prosperity, organization and economy

Big Idea # 9 - Understand what is meant by the phrase "specialization of labor" and how it contributed to the growth of civilizations

Big Idea # 10- Understand what is meant by the phrase "social levels", also called "social hierarchy" and "social classes"