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PBL: Create Your Own Ancient Empire

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Rebecca Whitmer

on 20 November 2014

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Transcript of PBL: Create Your Own Ancient Empire

DAYS 1 & 2
Students will be...EXPLORERS!
1 hour per day
The students will
at least 10 features of their assigned empire locations in their group notebooks, discovering these features using Google Earth and other online sources.

Driving Question
How would I develop my own empire in ancient times?
Each group will have
10 minutes
to present its
artistic representation
of its empire to the audience (written component will be turned in to the teacher). During their presentation they will be allowed to wear
similar to that which would be worn in their empires and bring in
additional materials
to enhance the experience.

The audience will include
and a
(e.g. history professor who previously visited). The
special teachers
, and the
other 6th grade class
will be invited as well.

During the presentations, the groups will be formally critiqued by the professional, the teacher, and one group of peers (all groups will receive the opportunity to critique one other group).

Following the presentations, we will have an ancient empire
with food and decorations to celebrate their hard work. Activities from throughout the PBL (i.e. flags, molded transportation, etc.) will be
throughout the classroom for parents and others to appreciate. Additionally, each student will complete a one-paragraph
about 3 specific things they learned throughout the PBL and one final
group member review
about themselves and their group members.
"Create Your Own Ancient Empire"
Miss Whitmer's 6th Grade Class
Ancient World History PBL

Social Studies
Ancient World History
3. Societies are shaped by beliefs, idea, and diversity.
4. Societies experience continuity and change over time.
5. Relationships between people, place, idea, and environments are dynamic.
The students will
an ancient empire
by considering several characteristics and completing a 2-part culminating project composed of 1 artistic representation to be judged by a checklist and 1 written composition to be graded by a rubric; students must complete all items on the checklist for the artistic representation and score at least a 75% on the written composition.
Prior Knowledge Required
understanding of ancient empires
(e.g. Rome, Greece, Egypt, etc.)
technological experience
(i.e. Google Earth and multimedia tools [e.g. Prezi, PowToon, Animoto, etc.])
cooperative learning experience
(review group etiquette using http://www.dailyteachingtools.com/cooperative-learning-tasks.html)
basic researching using Internet sources
(i.e. how to utilize search engines, which sources are reliable, etc.; use pre-activities, possible reliable information scavenger hunt in groups)
PBL group folders and nametags
(i.e. classroom laptops)
location cards
(at least 7)
1) 9 10'55.64" S, 75­ 00'08.02" W
2) 68 33'38.20" N, 146 07'57.89" E
3) 46 04'06.69" N, 48 07'33.14" E
4) 31 47'37.43" N, 7 04'49.71" W
5) 28 14'26.34" S, 153 27'00.23" E
6) 16­ 22'21.91" N, 120 37'56.18" E
7) 19 42'36.86" S, 46 31'22.88" E
Essential Questions
1) What is the name of my empire?
2) Where is my empire located in the world?
3) What is the geography of my empire?
Each group will agree on a name for its empire and record it on the label on the outside of its group folder. Groups will access Google Earth, enter the coordinates listed on their unique location cards, and begin exploring the general area, noting topography, climate, vegetation,
and nearby landforms (they will need to zoom out
for a larger vantage point). Additionally, they
can utilize Google to research about
the area.
Content Areas/Standards
MS.History of Earth
Standard 10:
The student understands basic operations and concepts.
Benchmark 1:
The student demonstrates a sound understanding of the nature of operation of technology systems. (2. use computer resources, CD-Roms, and Internet to collaborate with peers, experts and others to investigate curriculum-related problems, issues and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom. )

Students will be...SETTLERS!
1 hour
The students will
at least 10 occupations they desire the residents of their empires to hold as written on a numbered worksheet.
PBL group folders and nametags
population handout
colored pencils
Essential Questions
1) How many people settle in my empire?
2) What jobs or roles do residents hold?
3) What do homes and buildings look like?
4) What do residents wear?
The students will first decide the population and demographics of their empires. They will list these facts and the jobs/roles residents must have to ensure the empire is successful. These will be listed on a handout
and stored in their folders. They will consider the
climate and natural resources of their empire
and design clothing and buildings, using
colored pencils to design these.
Content Areas/Standards
Social Studies
Standard 5:
Relationships among people, places, ideas, and environments are dynamic.
Benchmark 5.4:
The student will use his/her understanding of these dynamic relationships to create a
personal, community, state, and/or national narrative.
Standard 1:
Understanding and Applying Media Techniques and Processes (Intermediate).
Benchmark 4:
The student selects and applies different media, techniques, and processes to communicate through works of art.

Friday Work Day
30 minutes
Groups will catch up on the week's activites. Each group member will fill out a member review and place it in the classroom PBL box (similar to a ballot box).

Students can earn 10 participation points each week by actively participating in their groups. These points will be calculated using documented teacher observation and member reviews.

Students will be...DESIGNERS!
1 hour
The students will
outfits, homes, and
general buildings on paper using colored
pencils, sketching at least 1 design per
category for 3 minimum.
Entry Event
Play a video featuring several ancient
empires and civilizations. For example:

Issue the challenge described in the driving
question. Are students ready to create
their own empires?
Introduce the PBL and the driving question.
Briefly explain the culminating project. Using www.
superteachertools.net, randomly divide students into groups of 3. Distribute 1 location card to each group.

Provide each group with a folder containing notebook paper. Although all group members are expected to contribute in all activities, each student in a group will be assigned a rotating group role
for each day of the PBL and will clip a task
nametag with a list of responsibilities
on their shirts.

Let's Dive In!
Group Roles
keep group on task and ensure every voice is heard.
take notes on the paper and return to group folder.
remain positive and support group however possible; maneuver on technology when needed.
Students will be...LEADERS!
1 hour
The students will
a government for their empires in a 1-page informative essay, scoring at least 15 out of 20 as evaluated using a rubric.
Students will be...LEGISLATORS!
1 hour
The students will
a set of at least 5 basic
laws for their empires as described on a paper
and added to their group folders.
PBL group folders and nametags
classroom laptops & Microsoft Word
essay rubric
Essential Questions
1) What government is established in my empire?
2) What laws govern the residents?
The students will determine the government they desire for their empire. Having previously learned about several governments (e.g. democracy, monarchy, aristocracy, dictatorship, oligarchy, etc.), the students will decide which they believe will work best in their empire and describe their reasoning in a 1-page informative essay. They also will lay out the major laws by which
they expect empire residents to abide,
listing at least 5.
Content Areas/Standards
Social Studies
Standard 1:
Choices have consequences.
Benchmark 1.4:
The student will use his/her understanding of choices and consequences to construct
a decision-making process and to justify a decision.
Standard 2:
Individuals have rights and responsibilities.
Benchmark 2.1:
The student will recognize and evaluate the rights and responsibilities of people living in
Standard 3:
Societies are shaped by beliefs, idea, and diversity.
Benchmark 3.2:
The student will draw conclusions about significant beliefs, contributions, and ideas,
analyzing the origins and context under which these competing ideals were reached and
the multiple perspectives from which they come.
ELA (Writing)
Text Types and Purposes (W.6.2):
Write informative/explanatory texts to
examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through
the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Students will be...GATHERERS!
1 hour
The students will
at least 3 natural
resources found in their empire's location and at least 3 crops which could grow successfully in the area using a graphic organizer of their choice.
Students will be...ECONOMISTS!
1 hour
The students will
a system of currency and assign value using pre-cut shapes or cutting shapes of their own and designing
them, creating at least 3 levels
of value.
PBL group folders and nametags
historian/history professor
classroom laptops
at least 5 types of graphic organizers
pre-cut cardstock shapes (i.e. circles and rectangles)
Essential Questions
1) What natural resources are abundant in my empire?
2) What system of currency is be used?
Using one of the graphic organizers prepared for them, groups will record natural resources (e.g. oil, fish, lumber, etc.) which can be found in their empires and identify at least 1 crop (e.g. corn) which could be grown and used as food or for trade. Before determining the system of currency to be used in
their empire and designing 3 levels (e.g. dollar, quarter,
dime) using cardstock, markers, and scissors, the
groups will hear from a historian or professor
of ancient history who will share various
types of currency used in
ancient times.
Content Areas/Standards
MS.History of Earth
Ratios and Proportional Relationships 6.RP (Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.):
3d. Use ratio and rate reasoning to convert measurement units; manipulate and transform units appropriately when multiplying or dividing quantities.
DAY 11
Students will be...VEXILLOGRAPHERS!
1 hour
The students will
a flag for their empires using cardstock and pre-cut tesserae to make mosaics, using 2 colors of tesserae at minimum.
DAY 12
Students will be...TRAVELERS!
1 hour
The students will
at least 1 form of transportation in their empires (e.g. boat
on a river or sled in the snow) using
PBL group folders and nametags
white cardstock (1 per group)
pre-cut tesserae (multicolored construction paper pieces for mosaic)
glue sticks
themed music
Essential Questions
1) What does the flag of my empire look like?
2) What modes of transportation are prevalent?
The students will create mosaics depicting the flags of their empires on white cardstock using pre-cut tesserae. All students in a group will contribute to a single mosaic. These will be displayed either in the hall or classroom. As they are creating these flags, they will be treated to "ancient empire-themed" music to inspire them. Transportation will be considered based on the environment, topography, and landforms. Although groups collectively determine the best modes of transportation for their
empires, each individual student will choose one
mode to mold using
Content Areas/Standards
Standard 3:
Creating Art Works Through Choice of Subjects, Symbols, and Ideas (Proficient).
Benchmark 2:
The student interprets and represents images, symbols, and ideas in art works.
Standard 4:
Understanding the Visual Arts in Relation to History and Cultures (Advanced).
Benchmark 3
: The student creates art work in the context of cultures, times, and/or places.
DAYS 13 & 14
Students will be...DIPLOMATS!
1 hour per day
The students will
an empire-to-empire meeting during which they organize trade and tout the positive aspects of their empires, naming at least 5 positive aspects during negotiations and giving a 1 minute speech.
PBL group folders and nametags
audience (another class, parents, communications professor, etc.)
Essential Questions
1) With which empires does my empire trade?
2) What does my empire trade?
3) How can I sell my empire?
On the first day of this activity, the students will meet in their groups and discuss what materials or resources in their empires could be desireable by other empires. They will decide how to best represent their empire through a one-minute speech. One person from each group will be the delegated speaker. On the second day they will meet in a "United Empires"
meeting. One by one, each delegate will come forward and give his or
her speech. Then, the groups will convene in corners of the room
and decide with which empires they are interested in trading.
Both empires must agree to the trade, and it will be
solidified with signatures from both group
members on a contract.
Content Areas/Standards
Social Studies
Standard 1:
Choices have consequences.
Benchmark 1.4:
The student will use his/her understanding of choices and consequences to construct a decision-making process and to justify a decision.
ELA (Speaking & Listening)
Comprehension and Collaboration (SL.6.1):
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
DAYS 16 & 17
Students will be...PROBLEM SOLVERS!
1 hour per day
The students will
a solution to a potential major problem which their empire could face, identifying at least one problem and at least one coordinating solution.
PBL group folders and nametags
technology (e.g. classroom laptops)
Essential Questions
1) What potential problems (e.g. natural disasters, undesirable weather, water shortage, invading empires, etc.) could my empire face?
2) How can I prepare my empire to face this problem?
During these two days the groups will be identifying one major problem they foresee occurring in their empires based on their location, geography, landforms, etc. After they have selected an issue, they will brainstorm a possible way to
prepare for such a disaster or even lessen the potential damage. They will
compose one paragraph of at least 5 sentences describing their problem and
one describing their solution. They can identify more than one problem
and/or solution, but it is not required. They should use the internet to
research solutions used in the past for similar problems (e.g. how
have people attempted to lessen damage from hurricanes?). They
will list a reputable internet source describing such a
situation. However, for their own solution,
they will have to be creative and consider the
resources they have in an ancient
Content Areas/Standards
Social Studies
Standard 1:
Choices have consequences.
Benchmark 1.4:
The student will use his/her understanding of choices and consequences to construct a decision-making process and to justify a decision.
ELA (Writing)
Text Types & Purposes (W.6.3):
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
MS.History of Earth
MS.Weather and Climate
MS.Human Impacts
Standard 11:
The student demonstrates knowledge of social, ethical, and
human issues.
Benchmark 2:
The student practices responsible use of technology systems, information, and software.
Student Guidelines for Culminating Project
DAYS 18-24
30 minutes-1 hour per day (time dependent)
Introduce the culminating project. This will take the place of a traditional paper/pencil assessment.

The students will have 6 days in class to develop their group projects.

Day 18:
Introduce guidelines, discuss rubric point-by-point, answer questions
Day 19:
Plan (what information will be included, what types of projects will be produced, etc.)
Day 20:
Work Day
Day 21:
Work Day
Day 22:
Work Day
Day 23:
Critical Peers (preview presentations: 1 positive, 1 question, 1 "something to think about")
Day 24:
Revisions (Final Work Day!)
Rubric for Written Component of Culminating Project
The culminating project is composed of 2 distinct components:

1) Written Paper

1) 2-4 pages
2) introduction
3) paragraphs describing at least 7 empire characteristics as explored during days 1-17
4) conclusion
5) correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure

2) Artistic Representation of Empire
Model of Choice:
options include diorama, Prezi with pictures, PowToon, movie, play written and acted by group members, song, etc.; if groups would like to explore a different format, they will clear it with the teacher.
Must Include (CHECKLIST):

1) name of country
2) general location, geographical features, natural resources, etc.
3) government and laws
4) habitats
5) flag
6) any additional characteristics of choice

Day 25
Presentation Day (Time TBD)
Content Areas/Standards
(for culminating project components)
ELA (Speaking & Listening)
Presentation of Knowledge & Ideas (SL.6.4):
Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
Presentation of Knowledge & Ideas (SL.6.5):
Include multimedia components (e.g. graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
ELA (Writing)
Text Types and Purposes (W.6.2):
Write informative/explanatory texts to
examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through
the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Standard 1
: Understanding and Applying Media Techniques and Processes (Advanced).
Benchmark 3
: The student applies various media, techniques, and processes with skill, confidence, and sensitivity in creating
art works.
Standard 12:
The student uses technology productivity tools.
Benchmark 1:
The student uses technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote

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