Chapter 1


Giza Plateau pyramids (CC 4.0)

Chapter Overview

In the first chapter of this course we cover the vast majority of the history of humanity, starting from the earliest humans and moving (pretty quickly) on to the first civilizations of the world. A great deal of the time period of the stone age is trying to help students see how similar these people are to themselves in an attempt to let students see that humans have had quite similar issues over time despite the technological changes. After this initial conversation we move on to many of the early civilizations from around the world prior to 600 BCE. All attempts are made to cover different parts of the world during this era, but some civilizations are given slightly more time due to either historical significance or student interest. Students automatically find themselves interested in Ancient Egypt, but will often find civilizations that they are as interested in as the Egyptians as the chapter moves on. In the end the students learn a great deal about the Sumerians, Early Americans, Pre and Post Vedic India, the Early Chinese Dynasties and a handful of other groups.

Study The History

When we aren’t covering the material in person each of you will be responsible for learning the material as homework. The slides in this chapter can be used to fill out the guided notes in the same way we do in class. Everything you need to know will be covered on the slides.

Big Picture Questions

These are there for you to put all of the random facts together and realize how much of an impact the history in question had on the world. Each student will have to use answers from the guided notes to develop an answer for these larger questions. You will receive instructions in the guided notes on where to find this material.

Chapter Content


Guided Notes

PowerPoint Slides

Essential Questions


Jump To A Section

Each section has a specific focus. Use these links to jump to whatever section you choose. Once in the unit, you can move back and forth through the content at will.

Human Prehistory

This section covers the very beginning of humanity before the rise of major civilizations. These nomadic hunter-gatherer groups have much more of an impact on our lives than mot might expect.


Considered by many to be the earliest major civilizations on Earth. While current scholarship sees things as much more complex than this, these civilizations did set the tone for many years to come.


Everyone knows about the power of the Egyptians, but were you aware that there were other African civilizations that built pyramids?


The rise of the most consistently powerful country in history took some time. This section covers the beginning of unification.


Fantastic early city-states rise and fall, but we find fascinating leaders along with unique social hierarchies. Some of the more colorful historical epics you fill find anywhere.


A step behind others in creating major civilizations, but created some fascinating Kingdoms once they caught up (borrowing heavily from Egypt & Mesopotamia). Possible location of mythical Atlantis also.


Major civilizations take time to develop here. Fantastic hunters turn to wildly successful farmers after genetically manipulating a crop into existence. Complex civilizations explode after this.

Chapter In The News

I keep an eye out for stories that involve history in the news. Most of you would probably be suprised how often history has to be rewritten when given new documents or scientific studies to add to the historical record. 

Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash

Ancient Teeth Rewriting History?

Teeth that were found in China could possibly rewrite the movement patterns that we teach about when early man left Africa and spread throughout the globe. Read More….

Ancient Europeans Dark Skinned?

Many people are fascinated about the rise and development of race in ancient history. While this concept is generally a new one, this article covers one aspect of ancient race. Read More….

Monkeys Have Entered The Stone Age

One concept that people have wondered for years is whether monkeys could ever adapt in similar ways to humans. This article shows that monkeys are starting their own stone age. Read More….

How David Beats Goliath

How do the little guys win? This article uses history and couples that with scenarios from today to explain why it is that some weaker people can win in the right scenario. Read More….

How Did Egyptians Move The Massive Stones?

One of the great mysteries of history is how the Egyptian pyramids were built. This article uses recent studies to try to answer that question in a definitive way. Read More….

Terracotta Warriors (Creative Commons photo. Attribution to author and info can be found here)

Quote From History

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Sun Tzu

Chinese General from the Eastern Zhou Period