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Big Era Two: Landscape Unit 2.1

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Human Beings Around the World
100,000 - 10,000 years ago

Why This Unit?

From 100,000 to 10,000 years ago humans moved out of Africa and into most of the rest of the world. In addition, human societies became more varied and complex. Evidence of this is in their development of exceptional technological creativity, which allowed humans to exploit a much wider range of ecological niches.

While some other animals have been able to move to a radically new environment, they have only been able to accomplish this by undergoing extreme biological change. The hairy mammoth, which was able to survive the extreme temperature of the tundra, was a relative of the African elephant, who lives in the tropics. Humans, without having to adapt themselves biologically, are the same genus and species in all environments where they live.

In this unit, students will hypothesize about the factors that may have urged humans to move into more challenging geographic environments. Students will also investigate the new skills and technologies early humans might have learned to accomplish these moves. This complex problem-solving capacity is unique to humans and differentiates them from other animal species. While humans have been able to extend their habitat to encompass the entire globe, including outer space, chimpanzees, for example, are confined to an ever-shrinking habitat in western Africa. The lesson in this unit explores using maps and descriptions of biomes describing how humans adapted to a wide range of environments.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Define the term biome and to explain how it is different from the term ecosystem.

2. Describe features of the world’s biomes (various climate and vegetative zones) and to locate them on a map.

3. Explain what factors may have led early humans to migrate to new biomes.

4. Identify the skills needed by early humans to enable them to migrate to new biomes.

5. Explain how humans are different from other mammals in their ability to move from one habitat to another.

Time and Materials

Time: This lesson takes 30-45 minutes to complete.

Materials:

  • Migrations Map and Student Biome Handouts, paper and pencils. Atlases and other maps with climate and topographical information are helpful.

Table of Contents

Why This Unit?

2

Unit Objectives

2

Time and Materials

2

Authors

2

The Historical Context

4

This Unit in the Big Era Timeline

4

Lesson: Meeting New Challenges--Early Humans on the Move

5

This Unit and the Three Essential Questions

16

This Unit and the Seven Key Themes

16

This Unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

16

Resources

17

Correlations to National and State Standards and to Textbooks

18

Conceptual Link to Other Teaching Units

18

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

 

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