Lesson Plan Title : Introduction to Early Civilizations
Grade: 5
Subject : Social Studies
Province : Ontario
Time needed: 90 minutes
Vocabulary: Civilization, Civil, City, Culture, Society, Community
Innovation, Invention, Discovery, Science, Technology
artefact, abacus, calendar, irrigation, aqueducts
Lesson Learning Objectives/Outcomes:
Students will
  • Review and build upon knowledge gained earlier (specifically concerning Medieval society studied in Grade 4).
  • Distinguish between innovative and non-innovative.
  • Look at items from our daily lives and consider what they say about us.
  • Discuss and share ideas about an earlier innovation (an abacus).
  • Plan their summative project, creating a “Museum of Innovations”.
Curriculum Expectations:
There are five lessons planned for this unit, leading up to the culminating task, “The Museum of Innovation”. It is intended to meet overall expectations in Social Studies, Language, Visual Arts, and Mathematics.

This lesson is the first of the unit and hence the introduction to the topic. It will meet these specific expectations from Social Studies and Language.

Social Studies Specific Expectations, Grade 5

Knowledge and understanding
Identify some scientific and technological advances made
by two or more early civilizations (e.g., written language,
calendar, time-keeping methods, invention of the
wheel, medicine, sculpture, irrigation, building methods,
architecture, embalming, aqueducts, metal work).

Make connections between some elements of modern
life and similar elements from early civilizations (e.g.,
the Olympic ideal, democracy, money as a medium of
exchange, citizenship, philosophy, mythology, trade,
social structures, legal systems, theatre, architecture).

Language Specific Expectations, Grade 5
Oral Communication 2.3

Communicate orally in a clear, coherent manner, presenting
ideas, opinions, and information in a readily understandable
form (e.g., present an argument that has a clearly stated
purpose, point-by-point development, and relevant
supporting details).

Materials required: large T-chart with Yes/No columns, pictures of common objects,
box, water bottle, cell phone, flashlight,
abacus, “give one, get one” sheets
Description of Activity:

We have divided this 90 minute class into 4 manageable activities; Yes/No chart, Mystery Box, “Give and Get”, and “Museum of Innovations” plan.

Y/N Chart (20 minutes): This is the opening to the whole unit and it is important to get and maintain student interest. Using the T-chart and pictures, students are shown how items can be classified either “innovative” or “non-innovative”. Pictures of different objects are placed on the T-chart. Students then decide whether remaining items are innovative or not. This is to get students thinking about the nature of innovation and excited about the lesson.

Mystery Box (20 minutes): A water bottle, cell phone, and flashlight are put in a box. Two items are taken out one at a time and discussed by the class (What is it? What does it do? Where is it from?). The last item is then subjected to a “Think-Pair-Share”, where students come to their own conclusions, are paired with a partner to discuss, and then joined with a larger group to share their conclusions.

“Give one, get one” (40 minutes): The class is shown an abacus and given “give one, get one” sheets. Students write down all the possible uses for an abacus and then walk about the room and share their ideas. They keep adding new ideas to their own sheets. Then students are shown how an abacus is used and explained its history. This leads to a discussion of different counting and writing systems. I would use Chinese characters and numbers as an example.

“Museum of Innovation” Introduction (10 minutes): Now that students are excited about the past but also getting tired, I would wrap up by looking ahead to the project they are to complete by the end of the unit. I want students to start thinking of ideas for the innovation they will research and present. Selecting an early civilization and choosing an innovation may be their homework. They are to end the lesson not exhausted, but eager to continue with the subject.

Because this is the first lesson of the unit, we will be assessing for learning. This means we will activate prior knowledge, and draw upon the past experiences, educational or otherwise, of students. Assessment for learning for this lesson will include teacher observation and a self-assessment checklist.

Assessment of learning for the whole unit will be evaluated through the use of a rubric focusing on the culminating task, the “Museum of Innovations” project.
Extended activities:

I believe if anything we will be short of time this block if we attempt to do all four activities, however some students can be expected to complete their work before others. If they do, they will be instructed to illustrate the objects looked at, describe their function, and list key vocabulary. They can be asked to think about earlier innovations, or perhaps common objects from other societies that they are aware of that are rare in our own.

To show possible accommodations, let's look at the Language Oral Communication 2.3 expectation;

Communicate orally in a clear, coherent manner, presenting
ideas, opinions, and information in a readily understandable
form (e.g., present an argument that has a clearly stated
purpose, point-by-point development, and relevant
supporting details).

A stage 1 ELL would be expected to "Communicate orally using short, rehearsed words and phrases (e.g., make a short presentation about a chosen topic)". Modifications are unnecessary for ELLs at higher stages and they should be given support earlier in the lesson.

For modification to instruction, let's look at the first activity, using the "Yes/No" chart to determine whether objects are "innovative/non-innovative". The lesson plan states;

••Demonstrate, using a large T-chart and a series of pictures, how to sort items into the categories “Innovation” and “Non-
•• Students work independently to sort the remaining pictures.
•• Lead a class discussion to clarify the concept of “innovation.”

Assessment for learning

This activity provides information about students’ prior knowledge, which will inform planning and instruction.

Benjime may need to work with another student at the beginning of this task. If he demonstrates that he understands this concept, allow him to complete his chart independently.

Work with Min-su for a few minutes to confirm his understanding of both the instructions and concept. Assist him with names of any unfamiliar pictures. He may need to use his bilingual dictionary for some unfamiliar vocabulary.

Include Olesya in the class discussion and help her to extend her use of academic language (e.g., concept, innovation, invention).

Use pictures so that all learners can engage easily in the task.
Select pictures of common objects that would be familiar to everyone, including recently arrived students.
Be sure to make the connection between invention and innovation, and that they may be used interchangeably in this context.