The Americas: Geography and Earliest Civilizations


Social Studies Middle School The Americas: Geography and Earliest Civilizations
Students are introduced to the geography and earliest civilizations of the Americas by looking at a map. They learn how the Americas were originally populated and where the earliest civilizations developed. Then, they focus on the Olmec civilization—the earliest civilization in the Americas. Finally, they compare the emergence of civilizations in the Americas with those in the four early river valley civilizations.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

1:1 Devices
Teacher Pack

The Pack contains associated resources for the learning experience, typically in the form of articles and videos. There is a teacher Pack (with only teacher information) and a student Pack (which contains only student information). As a teacher, you can toggle between both to see everything.

Here are the teacher pack items for The Americas: Geography and Earliest Civilizations:

Preview - Scene 1
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Overview

In this experience, students are introduced to the geography and earliest civilizations of the Americas by looking at a map. They learn how the Americas were originally populated and where the earliest civilizations developed. Then, they focus on the Olmec civilization—the earliest civilization in the Americas. Finally, they compare the emergence of civilizations in the Americas with those in the four early river valley civilizations.

In scene 4, students compare and contrast the emergence of civilizations in the Americas with the four early river valley civilizations. One of the best ways to have students complete this scene is to have them review the experience Emergence of Civilizations in River Valleys. The Student Pack contains a background article that students can use to help complete the comparison.

Objectives

  • Locate and describe the physical geography of earliest civilizations in the Americas.
  • Describe the earliest civilizations in the Americas.


What’s the farthest trip you have ever gone on? It’s probably not as far as the migration of the earliest residents of the Americas. You’ll see why in this experience!

Objectives

  • Locate and describe the physical geography of earliest civilizations in the Americas.
  • Describe the earliest civilizations in the Americas.


Look at this map of the Americas. Label countries and bodies of water that you can locate.


Discuss what students were able to label.


Now look at this map to see what you labeled correctly. You may return to your map now and add details.




Map of the Americas


List at least one thing you know about the geography and early civilizations of the Americas. If someone has already listed the fact that you know, try to think of a different one to post.



Discuss students lists. You may hear a number of misconceptions from students; for example, some may think that when the Europeans arrived, there were very few people living in the Americas. You don’t have to correct these misconceptions now because students will learn more in this experience. However, you might want to highlight facts they name and ask them to look for information that may confirm or refute that information.


What questions do you have about the geography and earliest civilizations of the Americas?



Use student questions as a guide for how to focus discussion throughout the experience.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

End of Preview
The Complete List of Learning Experiences in The Americas Unit.
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