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Mesopotamia and Ancient History with Maps101

Posted on October 02 2022

Mesopotamia and Ancient History with Maps101


Dear Educator,

With the school year starting, many classes will start to look at the Cradle of Civilization—ancient Mesopotamia. Key to understanding the rise of civilizations is recognizing the human relationship to water resources. All of the early civilizations developed in river valleys. Rivers provided water to drink and for farming, as well as a means for transportation and thus trade. We will begin our journey back to the earliest period of human settlement across the globe.

Project this map of the beginnings of civilization on the board. Have students identify the civilizations on the map and the bodies of water near where they settled. Then, project a political map of your state today and note how many cities and towns were established near sources of water, to make a connection between ancient people and modern society. Simply type your state name into the Maps101 search bar to find an appropriate map to compare.

Expand upon students’ mapping skills with this GeoInquiries activity from Esri. Student will use a layered map as the basis for the activity that explores the cradles of civilization. This gives them practical experience working with maps as well as further introduces key ideas in ancient history studies.


With a visual command of ancient history through maps, students are ready to read an article that explains the dawn of Mesopotamia. This article is also accompanied by a map, as GNN articles reinforce concepts with a sense of place.


This map focuses more specifically on civilization in the Middle East and northern Africa. We started out looking at all early civilizations, but now we are focusing in more specifically. Mesopotamia is credited with being the first known civilization to spring up, as people settled and began farming. Students should understand that the agricultural revolution was a major breakthrough in the story of human development. Have students identify the main bodies of water in this region. They should explain why this region is known as the “Fertile Crescent,” just from the map alone. Then, interested students can extend the concept to identify the countries and cities that are located in this region today. Is this region still important? Why or why not?


So far, we have expanded upon concepts in ancient history to extend your lesson. We also have a complete lesson, for both students and teachers, that brings everything together. Students can learn all about the earliest civilizations through this interactive lesson. Then, you have a complete teacher edition with leveled activities for every subheading in the student edition. With Maps101, you have a complete resource to teach one of the most important topics in world history.


We hope you have enjoyed this mini-sample of Maps101 content about early civilization. This is by no means a complete listing, but it will give you an idea of the type of content available with your subscription. We hope your weekly tour of topics in the GeoJournal helps not just inform you of themes you can focus on throughout the year, but that it also draws your attention to content you may not have realized is available. Happy hunting for more content that benefits your class this school year. And don’t forget to favorite to save what you use often for easy access.

High-quality geography products for the classroom. From globes to wall maps, atlases to games, offers a wealth of products to help put your classroom on the map.
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