Lesson Plan

Mesopotamia- How geography affected the development of the world's first civilization.

Students will love geography after this lesson
David L.
School district administrator
Kanawha County Schools
Charleston, United States
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts, World Languages, English-Language Learning, Health & Wellness

Evaluate the effects of physical geography and the changing nature of the earth’s
surface on transportation, culture, economic activities, and urban areas.

Compare and contrast the geographic factors that contributed to the rise of early
civilizations and native cultures.

Social Studies
Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes


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Engage the students by asking the following question as a bell ringer activity: How do physical features/geography affect the development of a civilization? Using Google Docs, students will work on a collaborative document that addresses this question. Having students work on a shared document allows them to view all of their classmate’s responses, giving them more ideas to consider and a broader perspective on the question being asked. The teacher should use the responses to lead a discussion on how rivers, mountains, climate, and deserts play an important role in the development of civilizations.


Next, the teacher will ask the students what physical features they think affected Mesopotamia and its development. Explain to them that they will be using a physical map to locate the land and water features that surrounded and made-up Ancient Mesopotamia. After they have identified the location of these features, they will create their own map with a key and symbols that represent each feature. Allowing student to label the physical features of Mesopotamia gives the students spatial perspective and an opportunity to visualize how rivers, mountains, and deserts played a part in how Mesopotamia grew. Encourage your students to be creative with their symbols and to have fun. A great app that students can use to create their maps and keys is Animation & Drawing by Do Ink.


After the class has labeled their map, they will read an article about how geography affected the development of the world’s first civilization- Ancient Mesopotamia. Our school district uses schoology as a learning management system. This would be a great place to house this document, as it allows students to quickly access material digitally. As a formative assessment, the students will work in groups to complete questions to check their understanding of the text. Schoology allows teachers to create tests. The advantage of creating a digital assessment is that the instructor/students get immediate feedback. This lets the teacher know what concepts the students are finding difficult to master.


Thus far the students have located the physical features of Ancient Mesopotamia on a map and created symbols that represent each one. They have also read background knowledge about the geography of Mesopotamia and answered higher level thinking questions. They will use the knowledge they have gained from these activities to create a presentation and voice over that highlights why Ancient Mesopotamia was a great place to settle. A great app for creating presentations is the Explain Everything App. The Explain Everything App has lots of choices and ways to present material. Providing choices for students to demonstrate and apply their knowledge of a concept is a learning strategy that helps to develop responsibility for learning. Many teachers also discover that student motivation and their willingness to work on assignments increases when given the opportunity to make choices. However, the teacher must be sure that the presentation, when completed, demonstrate a mastery of the goals and objectives being taught. To help evaluate the presentations use RubiStar. RubiStar is a great tool to help teachers create rubrics for their students.


Students love to show off their work. After students have completed their presentations they will airplay them on the SmartBoard. The teacher will make comments as needed and send feedback through schoology. To further student learning the teacher will assign a BrainPOP video on Mesopotamia, take the quiz, and complete a graphic organizer.