No Series: Exploring the World of Ancient Civilizations


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • WHST:  Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6-12
  • 11-12:  11th & 12th Grades
  • 9: 
    Draw evidence from informational texts to support
    analysis, reflection, and research.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Exploring the World of Ancient Civilizations

Lesson Objective: Use gallery walks to give key information about ancient civilizations
Grades 9-12 / History / Civilizations


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does the gallery walk make students feel more accountable for quality work?
  2. How does this lesson allow students to learn lots of information in a short amount of time?
  3. Notice how naturally students work in teams and openly give feedback?


  • Private message to andrew patmon

This is a great example of how students can learn how to work in groups or work with their peers.  Everyone has a specific task and for everyone to be successful everybody has to take ownership of their specific task.  The gallery wlk was a great way for the students to be able to get feedback from their peers and have that student to student discussion and also be able to learn in a different and faster way.  When the students are empowered they will take control and try to impress their peers.

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  • Private message to Robert Bryan
I enjoyed the lesson, especially the students' engagement, the degree to which they collaborated constructively, and their interest in one another's work!
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  • Private message to valerie nelson
I enjoyed the video. I copied the lesson but how do you keep the students on task? What is the accountable talk during the presentation? How about analyzing, compare or demonstrate? OR because this is an introduction less they do more of that the next lesson?
Recommended (1)
  • Private message to Sulyana Guerrero
I enjoyed watching this video. Showing each of the students actively participate in their class work and diligently putting effort toward the topic they're learning. I loved seeing them take ownership of the quality of work they were producing to meet the rubric standards. Thank you for sharing this video.
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  • 01:00:00 Title open
    01:00:04 CAUFIELD: My name is Sarah Caufield and I teach Global History at the Urban Assembly New

    01:00:00 Title open
    01:00:04 CAUFIELD: My name is Sarah Caufield and I teach Global History at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island.
    01:00:10 Lesson Idea Title Card
    01:00:13 CAUFIELD: Today my 11th grade honors Global Studies class made posters on ancient civilizations.
    01:00:29 CAUFIELD: Pick out a topic: Indus Valley or Ancient China and pick out if you want to do religion, goods and trade, language and writing systems, or calendar systems. You’re going to pick both a region and a topic that you want to do. So put your desks together in a group of 4 people that you can work with.
    01:00:35 CAUFIELD: They would take back to their group a rubric, which had the six components that needed to be included which are: a title, the brief history of the topic, function and purpose of the topic, the connections to complex civilizations of the topic, graphics that relate to the topic and will help their classmates remember the topic. The students divided up the jobs…
    01:00:54 BOY 1: I have to make the poster look really pretty. So like all the ideas and stuff, like the color schemes and stuff you know. I had to make it look whoosh!
    01:01:03 GIRL 1: I’ll read the whole thing and just summarize it and you just do the…
    GIRL 2: If you guys find anything on the (?) purpose please tell me.
    GIRL 1: You too Mahmoud.
    01:01:11 CAUFIELD: …And then they make their posters.
    01:01:14 BOY 1: Well we’re doing religion in the Indus Valley or the Harappan Civilization. It’s really interesting because there’s not really a lot of documented facts about the civilization so like we have to interpret everything we know.
    01:01:28 GIRL3: This is basically a modern Chinese characters and this is the ancient characters that were used to symbolize heaven and tree [sic]. I’m just trying to split it up so they can get an easy idea of how complex the Chinese writing system was.
    01:01:46 CAUFIELD: Pack up your marker boxes. Bring up your rubric with your groups names and…
    01:01:50 CAUFIELD: And at the end they should bring the rubric up to the front so that when we do our gallery walk I can use the rubric to grade each group.
    01:01:57 CAUFIELD: This is looking a little bit rough.
    GIRL 4: I know…We’re going to fix it.
    01:02:01 CAUFIELD: The gallery walk is when the students take their posters and hang them around the room and they each get a sheet. They should write down what it says about brief history, what the poster says about the function and purpose of their topic, and then what the poster said about how it relates to civilization.
    01:02:16 GIRL 2: They changed from Thai to Taoism which was a whole forces of nature deal. Think about it. From Thai which was a royal village in to Tao which was forces of nature, they kind of got more rugged.
    01:02:26 CAUFIELD: Then they give their classmates a score: 1-10, 10 being the best, one being the lowest.
    01:02:32 CAUFIELD: I feel like your history is a little bit weak, but the rest of it I think is good.
    GIRL 5: Ashanti the history is weak!
    CAUFIELD: Not much about religion here…
    GIRL 6: I couldn’t understand it.
    GIRL 5: The history is weak!
    GIRL 6: They just saying they didn’t have enough to go on…
    GIRL 7: No, no, no, no…That’s all history.
    01:02:45 CAUFIELD: Students are seeing quality work and so they’re learning what to strive towards when there is quality work. They, also, are subject to their peers’ feedback, which I think is much more powerful than my feedback because you hear them at the end of the period saying, “wait! Is there going to be a gallery walk next time. Oh no, this has to be good!” I think it makes them more accountable.
    01:03:01 GIRL 1: It’s a faster way of learning information that we have to learn actually. And then it’s better than doing textbook work because it’s a fun way of like…while we are writing this, honestly, I memorize almost everything that I write. So, it comes in handy.
    01:03:13 CAUFIELD: In terms of doing the gallery walk they learn to summarize from what their fellow classmates have said so they have to be more succinct than what is on the poster and extract important information.
    01:03:23 GIRL 2: It’s usually one to two pages. It’s not that much reading. It’s everything in about a couple paragraphs.
    GIRL 1: And then you get to summarize it, meaning you get to put it into your own words so that you understand it your own way, meaning that you sort of it absorb it better.
    01:03:36 CAUFIELD: There’s a lot of material we have to cover and so this allows the students to learn a great amount of material in a short period of time and in a way that’s fun; it’s interactive...
    01:03:44 GIRL 2: You’re sitting there during text book work you’re just like “oh well.” You’re bored out of your mind so doing this its way easier and you get art skills out of it.
    01:03:51 GIRL 3: It comes along easy because we all just put our different thoughts to it and it makes the poster look nicer and more diverse.
    01:03:56 CAUFIELD: This lesson helps students develop literacy skills because they are required to read non-fiction pieces, summarize or synthesize information, reproduce the information in a way that is concise. I think it’s a great lesson because it allows all students in the class to participate and everyone feels ownership over what they create.
    01:04:16 GIRL 8: She made a mistake because she wrote cuneiform.
    GIRL 9: And it’s supposed to be…..aww shut up!
    GIRL 8: No, just do it over.
    GIRL 3: You have to write it over, because if you cut it it’s going to look messed up…
    GIRL 8: No, no, she wants to put whiteout and I’m like, no.
    01:04:29 CAUFIELD: And now we’ve gotten to the point that it’s clear that, that there is no I in team and that when your team is done you’re done. But until then there is no relaxing, everyone should be working to make sure it’s as good as possible.
    01:04:40 CREDITS

School Details

Urban Assembly New York Harbor School
10 South Street
New York NY 10004
Population: 532

Data Provided By:



Sarah Caulfield


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