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Big Era Three: Landscape Unit 3.1

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Getting a Grip On the Food Supply:
Domestication and Its Results
10,000 - 4000 BCE

Why This Unit?

Without the shift from hunting/gathering to farming/herding, the development of the complex societies that gave rise to our current way of life would not have been possible. This unit deals with the origins of agriculture, which first took place in Southwest Asia starting about 11,000 years ago. It also considers the results of the shift from collecting to producing food, which paved the way for the complex societies that first arose in the world about 5,000 years ago. This unit alerts students to the historical processes that led to farming and herding, one of the key turning points in human history. Note that the dates cited in this unit are approximate and provisional, subject to change as new research emerges.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Explain how the shift to domestication first came about.

2. Compare the life ways of Paleolithic hunter-gatherer communities (about 23,000 years ago) both with those of hunter-gatherers who relied significantly on wild grain (about 10,000 years ago) and with those of farmers (about 9,000 years ago).

3. Assess the advantages and disadvantages of the shift from a hunting/gathering to a farming/herding way of life.

4. Describe the changes brought about by the shift to agriculture in humans' relations to the environment, to other humans, and to ideas.

5. Articulate a concept of "progress" based on evidence.

Time and Materials

Time:
This teaching unit is versatile. Each of the two lessons may stand on its own, taking one or two 45-minute class periods each. Time taken will vary, depending on how long is spent on the introductory activities, lesson activities, discussion, assessment, and homework.

Materials:

Table of Contents

Why This Unit?

2

Unit Objectives

2

Time and Materials

2

Author

2

The Historical Context

3

This Unit in the Big Era Timeline

4

Lesson One: Be the first to practice domestication: An archaeology-based simulation

5

Lesson Two: Domestication accomplished: now what?

10

This Unit and the Three Essential Questions

19

This Unit and the Seven Key Themes

19

This Unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

19

Resources

20

Correlations to National and State Standards and to Textbooks

21

Conceptual Link to Other Teaching Units

22

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

 

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