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Unit 1: Redefining World Society and Culture

Lesson D: Life and Times in the Pre-Modern World

Lesson Overview

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City [1]

"History" is full of names, dates, and wars, but these things do not help us understand how people in the past lived their daily lives. How did the art, religion, science, social structures, and political and economic systems shape past civilizations? How did these factors influence how individuals lived, worked, and played in history? How do we know what people in past civilizations valued? What types of buildings and artwork did people in the past create? How did rich and poor people live? In this lesson, we will explore key aspects that shaped the daily life of civilizations prior to the late 14th century.

Key Questions

  1. Why are some aspects of world civilizations, such as religion, social structure, and artistic achievements so long lasting and influential?
  2. How did people in the past live their daily lives?
  3. How did how people in the past lived their daily lives lay the foundation for our world today?

Student Outcomes

  1. Evaluate the role of gender, including inheritance laws, marriages, and legal status in societies such as those in western Europe, China, India, and the Middle East and Africa.
  2. Compare the political systems found in China, Japan, and Europe.
  3. Compare the artistic and architectural styles found in different societies, such as those found in classical Greece and Rome, the Byzantine Empire, the Tang and Song Dynasties, South and Southeast Asia, the Sudanic Empire, and different regions of the Americas.
  4. Identify the major scientific, mathematical, and technological achievements in different empires, such as the Gupta Empire, the Tang and Song Dynasties, and the Islamic Caliphates.
  5. Evaluate the impact of the fall of empires on the cultural and social aspects of life in different regions of the world.
  6. Draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues as well as large-scale or long-term developments that transcend regional and temporal boundaries. (Historical Thinking Skill)

Key Terms

Student Resources

Chart of Activities:

Activities to Complete Estimated Time
Pre-Assessment: Life and Times in the Pre-Modern World
5 minutes
Key Term
5 minutes
Activator: Life and Times in the Pre-Modern World
5 minutes
Opening: PERSIA
15 minutes
Activity 1: Analyzing Images
15 minutes
Activity 2: Political, Economic, and Religious Aspects of Civilization
5 minutes
Activity 3: China
10 minutes
Activity 4: Western Europe
10 minutes
Activity 5: Japan
10 minutes
Activity 6: Civilization Knowledge Check
5 minutes
Activity 7: Role of Women
20 minutes
Activity 8: Intellectual and Technological Advancements
25 minutes
Activity 9: Technology Knowledge Check
5 minutes
Activity 10: Art and Architecture
20 minutes
Activity 11: Art and Architecture Knowledge Check
10 minutes
Activity 12: Putting Civilizations Together
40 minutes
Review and Assessment
25 minutes
Lesson Summary
5 minutes

Lesson Completion Time

The total estimated time to complete this lesson is 235 minutes.


Page Notes:

[1] This image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BeijingForbiddenCity3.jpg is licensed with Creative Commons Attribution. Attribution: giladr.