The Unit Plan: Ancient Civilizations
by Mary A. Chavers and Megan Stranzin
Grade 1, Rosewood Magnet School

Essential Question/Big Idea:
How do problems help change the world?
Meaningful Text(s):
  • What Do You Do with a Problem?
  • Coppernickel The Invention
  • Who Built the Pyramids?
  • The Rain Player
  • The Sad Night
  • The Egyptian News
  • The Aztec News
Learning Goal: Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text
Alignment with standards:
R.L.1.1. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
R.L.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson
R.I.1.1. Ask and answer key details in a text.
*R.I.1.2. Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text
R.L.2.5. Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types
S.S.1.A.2.1. Understands history tells the story of people and events of other times and places
S.S.1.A.2.2. Compare life now with life in the past.
1.W.1.3. Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
1.S.L.2.4. Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.
1.S.L.2.5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Summative Assessments:  
  • Students will be given scrolls of problems from different civilizations.  In small groups they will act out through tableaus how each civilization solved their problems by pulling text evidence from previous taught text to show how the three ancient civilizations solved their problems. They will be asked to create dialogue to go along with their tableaus.
  • Students will answer the following open ended questions:
  1. Name a problem which the Ancient Egyptians faced and how they solved their problem and how it changed their world.
  2. Name a problem which the Ancient Mayans faced and how they solved their problem and how it changed their world.
  3. Name a problem which the Ancient Aztecs faced and how they solved their problem and how it changed their world.
  4. Answer the essential question: How did people from long ago shape our world today?


Cumulative Project:
  • Students will be placed in small groups.
  • Each group will choose an ancient civilization and a problem that civilization faced.
  • Groups will create a storyboard depicting the problem, the changing action, and the solution.
  • Groups will then write a story to go along with their storyboard depicting a beginning(problem), the middle (changing action), and the end(solution).
  • Roles will be then assigned for each group as they practice reading their stories and adding sound effects.
  • Each group will record their story.
  • Students will then create shadow puppets and background images for their stories.
  • Students will practice their shadow puppet show on an overhead projector.  
  • Groups will then present their shadow puppets show along with their recorded stories.
Unit Plan 
Rubric for Summative Performance Task
Thank you to our generous community partners for your support, including
United Way, Impact 100, John's Island Community Service League, and John's Island Foundation
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