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Big Era Five: Panorama Unit

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Patterns of Interregional Unity
300-1500 CE

Why This Unit?

This teaching unit will help students understand and appreciate the many types of interactions that took place among the world’s peoples during the period 300-1500 CE. While many teachers and students are familiar with the histories and contributions of individual civilizations and regions, traditional instructional materials provide few opportunities to link and compare developments that connected societies across regions and around the world. This unit provides an overview of several important varieties of change. Students will get a “big picture” of the rise and fall of empires and states. They will learn how world population changed during this era. They will view examples of cultural exchanges involving trade, migrations, religious expansion, transfer of knowledge, and diffusion of inventions and crops. These exchanges all contributed in one way or another to the speedup of technological, cultural, political, and economic change in the world.

This unit leads teachers and students to appreciate the cross-cultural exchanges that preceded and laid the groundwork for scientific, technological, and other developments often incorrectly assumed to have originated only in Europe. Cultural achievements typically associated only with one particular civilization or another are presented in the larger context of dynamic interrelations among diverse peoples.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Analyze connections between demographic change, migrations, trade, and empire-building, on one hand, and the intensification of cultural exchanges among human societies, on the other, between 300 and 1500 CE.

2. Give examples of exchanges that took place in the political, economic, technological, scientific, and cultural spheres, 300-1500 CE.

3. Assess the effects of some of the important cultural exchanges that took place during this era.

Time and Materials

Time

Time devoted to this unit may vary depending on the number of lessons taught and class time spent on each. Time needed might range anywhere from 60 to 400 minutes.

Materials

  • Butcher paper
  • Black markers for large writing
  • Crayons or transparent water-based paint

Table of Contents

Why this unit?

2

Unit objectives

2

Time and materials

2

Authors

2

Introductory activity

3

Lesson 1: Population and migration

7

Lesson 2: States and empires

8

Lesson 3: Trade and transfers of products and technology

13

Lesson 4: Spread of religion

16

Lesson 5: Scientific and intellectual exchanges

21

Lesson 6: Transfer of crops and agriculture

26

This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

33

Resources

33

Correlations to National and State Standards

35

 

Complete Unit in PDF format


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