Understanding the History of Civilization

Contributor: Victoria Surface. Lesson ID: 10276

What does it mean to be a civilization? In this lesson, you will explore the development and characteristics of civilizations through videos, online resources, and creative projects.



learning style
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Before civilization began, people wandered around hunting and gathering food. We don’t have to do that anymore. Why not? What caused the changes in the way that people live? What does it mean to be a civilization?

Let’s explore the history of civilizations to find out how they developed and what they are like.

1. Use the Graphic Organizer - Circle Map, found in the Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar, to take notes about the history of civilization.

In the center circle, write "History of Civilization." You will write or draw things you learn from the video in step #2 of this section.

Watch How Do You Use a Circle Map? (below) to learn how to use a circle map.

2. Watch The History of Civilization for Kids: How Civilization Began from FreeSchool (below) to learn about the history of civilization. Pause the video as you learn something new and write or draw it on the circle map. When you are finished watching the video, share the information you learned with a friend or family member.

Use the following questions to guide your thoughts on the circle map:

  • How did people live long, long ago?
  • What do we call the people of long, long ago?
  • What are archaeologists?
  • What did archaeologists learn about hunter-gatherers?
  • What were the effects of agriculture or farming?
  • What did people need to do in order to farm?
  • What happened when people stayed in one place with extra food?
  • What happened in the villages because there was so much food available?
  • What are some examples of the kinds of work they were able to do?
  • What were they able to do with the goods they made?
  • What types of inventions allowed people to grow even more food?
  • What effect did more food have on villages?
  • How did people keep track of trades and their increasingly complicated lives?
  • Through all of these changes, what did people develop?
  • What is a civilization?
  • What are the characteristics of a civilization -- what is it like?


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