Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt
A Complete Unit Plan for World History in Middle School or High School
The second unit of my World History Curriculum focuses on the first civilizations in the Fertile Crescent and Mesopotamia as well as the rise of Ancient Egypt.
This is always a fascinating unit for students as they learn about pyramids, pharaohs, and the development of ancient societies. There’s a variety of activities for each day in the unit so that students are always getting creative with hands-on materials.
The unit begins with a look at the civilizations that developed between the Tigris and Euphrates River Valleys, some of the oldest known cultures. There is a PowerPoint and guided notes (along with Google Slides and "flipped classroom" video options) to introduce students to the geography and early civilizations in the Fertile Crescent. Following this, students work on a map activity or interactive notebook map to better understand the geography of the region.
Lesson two centers around Hammurabi’s Code, one of the oldest, best-preserved sets of laws in history. Teachers can go through some of the laws with students through a PowerPoint and chart that is helpful for students who find the laws challenging to understand. Another option is to allows students to review them in groups or individually with this analysis activity on Hammurabi's Code .
There are several helpful video links available for this lesson as well as a worksheet on the cuneiform alphabet and a digital notebook activity that works well here.
The next lesson focuses on the rise and fall of Mesopotamia's conquering city states like Ur, Babylon, Sumer, and others. An excellent PowerPoint and guided notes (also with Google Slides and video) starts off the lesson before students work on either a Mesopotamia Brochure project of reading activity on Sumerian achievements.
The unit then moves on to look at the civilization that developed along the Nile River in Ancient Egypt. A PowerPoint and guided notes is available to introduce students to the main concepts. A reading activity follows this on the three kingdoms of Ancient Egypt to help students understand the time periods. A mapping activity is also included here to help students understand the geography of the Nile River Valley and Delta.
There's also an amazing 3D PowerPoint on Ancient Egypt as well that brings the pyramids and ancient world to life in your classroom. Several videos are also available to use here before students analyze a primary source from Ancient Egypt and the Hittites.
The next lesson has students learning about Ancient Egyptian religion and culture. First, kids learn about major Egyptian deities with a stations activity before they complete a "design your tomb" project or review a primary source of the Book of the Dead.
The unit concludes with a lesson on the origins of Judaism and the Hebrews. A PowerPoint and guided notes serves as an introduction before students work on a timeline activity. Lastly, students complete a digital or interactive notebook Venn Diagram comparing monotheism & polytheism.
The unit concludes with several review games and resources followed by an editable test, with a Google Forms version also available for easy grading.
You can use the links above to download any resource individually and see reviews from teachers who've used them. The entire unit can be downloaded here and immediately saved to your desktop. You can also access the lessons and resources through a subscription, which grants you access to the ENTIRE World History curriculum.
If you’re unsure which option might be best, you can read about the differences between subscriptions and TpT here.