Inquiry Based Activities - World History

Cultural "Art"-ifacts: Learning About World Cultures Through Art
In this New York Times lesson, students explore how culture is reflected through art. After researching the art of a specific culture, students create replicas of art objects that reflect the ideals, values, and history of the culture.

Stonehenge: Solving Ancient Mysteries
In this high school lesson, students become detectives as they investigate a mystery at Stonehenge, featured on the Thirteen/WNET New York program, SECRETS OF THE DEAD: MURDER AT STONEHENGE. They learn about archeologists and anthropologists and the tools and methods they use to gather and interpret scientific evidence. They research current archaeological excavations and contact the scientists working at these digs. Students then advise a colleague on how to proceed with the excavation of a mysterious skeleton.

Follow the Marx: Learning About Communism
In this New York Times lesson, students explore communism from historical and theoretical perspectives to present to fellow classmates at a teach-in.

Race for the Super Bomb
There are some quirky but fascinating features at this site, including a Panic Quiz and a Nuclear Blast Map. Visitors to the site can simulate the drop of 50s-era atomic bombs on American cities and get death and damage reports. Visitors are also treated to interviews, film footage of explosions, a map of target sites in the U.S., a weapons stockpile list for 1945 to 1997, a timeline, primary sources, transcripts, a teacher's guide and a people and events section

Was Hitler a Passionate Lunatic?
This exercise is aimed at getting pupils to look at conflicting evidence and assessing their reliability. It can be used as an introduction to looking at the issue of appeasement and the decisions that were made in the run up to the outbreak of the war.

Chamberlain and Hitler, 1938: What was Chamberlain trying to do?
Chamberlain's account of his meeting with Hitler over the Sudetenland crisis of 1938 is the centre of this activity. Is it unfair to criticize Chamberlain for misjudging Hitler? Students could try to construct the case for Chamberlain.

Asylum Talk Show
Role play various real-life persons in the case of the SS St. Louis, a German ship containing Jewish refugees seeking asylum from Nazi persecution in the late 1930s. PBS.

"The Daily Athenian": A Greek Newspaper Project
Working in small groups, students will work produce sections of an historical newspaper or journal for publication in democratic Athens. Using the resources of a PBS Web site (as well as books and other resources listed in the Research Links & Resources Page) pick an approximate date and research stories for the newspaper. This section has been tailored for a newspaper about Athens during the time of Pericles, because of the greater amount of information available for that period. However, with some adaptation and additional research it would be possible to compile newspapers for early or later periods. Grades 5 - 12

German Occupation of the Rhineland, 1936: What should Britain do about it?
Documents reveal the motives and attitudes of the British government as they discuss their options. The extracts from the Cabinet minutes also show how little room for manoeuvre British politicians actually had. A good case-study of British appeasement policy.

Renaissance Connection
The Renaissance Connection, the Allentown Art Museum's interactive educational web site, explorers Renaissance visual arts and innovations. There is a collection of online activities and resources for middle school students and teachers to help visitors design their own innovations, investigate Renaissance artworks in depth, and discover how past innovations impact life today. Fun, educational site for middle school students.

The Black Plague
Find out about the plague during modern times and during the Middle Ages. Students use a journal to keep track of what they find out along the way. SCORE activity for middle schoolers

Mesopotamia Web Site Staff Room
The British Museum site on Mesopotamia offers a 'Challenge' -- an activity that allows pupils to practice certain skills (historical, analytical, mathematical, observational) within the context of a theme or topic relevant to Mesopotamia.

You Be the Judge: Hammurabi's Code
Using Hammurabi's Code, you decide the proper punishment for shoddy workmen, straying wives, and abusive landlords.

Inside the Great Pyramid
In this PBS activity you will crawl online through Khufu's narrow passageways and navigate your way through to the King's burial chamber. This tour requires a Quicktime plugin.

Oedipus the King: Ancient Greek Drama
Read Sophocles' famous work and explore what it reveals about ancient Greek culture. Grades 5 - 12.

Religion's Role in the Empire
Learn about the place of religion in the Roman Empire through this PBS activity and research leaders throughout history who have used religion and god-like status to rule their people. Grades 9 - 12.

Ideas for Projects - Ancient China
From historyforkids.org, is produced by Dr. Karen Carr who is an associate professor of History at Portland State University. Also provides suggestions for lesson plans, scavenger hunts, and hands-on crafts.

In Celebration of the Silk Road
Students play the role of a member of the Council of National Treasures, selected to travel to the province of Xinjiang, China, to represent his/her country at the First International Celebration of the Silk Road. Students sart making preparations for their trip, display, and press conference. The display should be eye-catching, historically accurate, and must follow guidelines.

Searching for China (Webquest)
This WebQuest combines an understanding of Chinese History with current Sino-American relations. Students must research China and make policy recommendations to the U.S. government.

Monsoon Winds to the "Land of Gold"
This integrated unit introduces students to the trading networks and geographic factors that influenced the maritime spice trade from Southeast Asia to the Roman Empire and Han China during the period 100 BC to 100 AD. Students work in cooperative groups in a series of activities to learn how the ancient world was unified by this sea trade.

Banpo Village: Gone, But Not Forgotten
Students play the role of a renowned scholar of neolithic society who has the exciting opportunity through the Chinese Ministry of Culture to compete in the Battle of the Scholars in discovering the mysteries of one of the most important finds of the late 20th century. Students use their skills to explain the meaning behind the cultural artifacts and physical remains found at Banpo neolithic village site near Xi'an, China.

The Three Doctrines & Legalism
Lesson from teacher Don Donn. Give each student a handout (included) that lists seven questions. Direct students to write down how they feel an individual would answer these questions if they were, in turn, a Buddhist, a Taoist, a follower of Confucianism, or a loyal citizen governed by Legalism. Middle School.

Slave Kingdoms
Ghana was the first European sub-Saharan slave port, and some scholars say that the African trade routes could not have started without the support of Ghana's ruling class. One of America's leading scholars on African American culture and history retraces his family roots to Ghana and explores the psychological impact of the slave trade on his identity as an African American. Create a newspaper about Ghana's history, culture, and role in the slave trade.

Assessing Africa: Examining Issues in Africa and Responses By Local Countries and the International Community
In this New York Times lesson, students research important issues in Africa and how the concerns are being addressed both nationally and internationally. They then prepare briefing presentations for the American President to influence concerns of foreign policy.

Conquistadors Teaching Guide: Different Views of the World
Was the fall of the Aztec Empire inevitable? Was Cortes a hero or a villain? What would the world be like today if the Aztecs had been the "conquistadors" and conquered Europe?

Unmasking the Middle East: Examining the Political, Religious and Ethnic Relationships Among Middle Eastern Countries
In this New York Times lesson, students explore many of the countries in the Middle East, developing research-based posters and a "spider web" illustrating the relationships among the countries. They then write letters to fictional peers in Middle Eastern countries.

Exploring Islamic Lands
In this PBS high school lesson students explore what it's like to be a teenager living today in an Islamic country in the Middle East. They will begin by gaining background information about the religion and the region from which it sprang by using the PBS series ISLAM: EMPIRE OF FAITH and other resources. Once students gain a historical understanding, they choose a particular modern day Middle Eastern country to explore in depth using resources such as the Library of Congress Web site and epals. In the end, they will create a personal narrative of what it's like to live in that country.

Muslim Women Through Time
Students will learn that monolithic cultures and accurate stereotypes of Muslim women do not exist. A combination of factors affects the role of Muslim women as a group and individually over time. Grades 9 - 12.

Experiencing India's Caste System
After taking on the role of a person from Ancient India (3000 yrs ago) including status in a specific caste, students create 3 journal entries and share them with the class. Grade 6 WebQuest.

Did God Really help the English Defeat the Spanish Armada?
This work fits into the unit on the Making of the United Kingdom and could be used as a straight account of events, illustrating English foreign relations. It could also be used to explore the role of propaganda in Elizabeth's reign. From the National Archives Learning Curve

How Did the British React to July 1789?
Students look at primary source material from 1789, including a London newspaper report, and personal letters this snapshot and examine the British reaction to the events that began the French Revolution. From the National Archives Learning Curve

 

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