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Big Era Two: Landscape Unit 2.2

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Language: What Difference Does It Make?
200,000 - 40,000 BCE

Why This Unit?

The core of this unit is the question: What makes human language different from animal communication? The question is important because that difference has made possible much that characterizes humans, from abstract thought to collective learning and rapid cultural change. Simple exercises, discussion questions, and an illustrated handout help students to construct and refine a hypothesis about the question they are investigating, both promoting and demonstrating their understanding of the lessons in this unit.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Explain the key differences between animal communication and human language.

2. Relate the advantages of language to its short-range and long-range survival value.

3. Construct a hypothesis based on evidence, and revise it in the light of new information.

Time and Materials

Time: This unit will take 45-75 minutes. Actual time will vary with circumstances. If time is limited, the unit can be shortened by omitting the Introductory Activities.

Materials:

Table of Contents

Why This Unit?

2

Unit Objectives

2

Time and Materials

2

Authors

2

The Historical Context

2

This Unit in the Big Era Timeline

3

Lesson: What Makes Language Special?

5

This Unit and the Three Essential Questions

10

This Unit and the Seven Key Themes

10

This Unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

10

Resources

11

Correlations to National and State Standards

12

Conceptual Link to Other Teaching Units

12

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

 

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