Middle School Students Study World Geography and Cultures

Students in Alta Vista's World Geography and Cultures course explore the relationship between place and culture. The goal of this course is to empower students to analyze this relationship in multiple contexts. Beginning with the study of early humans, students engage with geography and culture in a variety of ways, including hands-on activities to reinforce geographic and cultural concepts. Collaborative questioning is a central thread throughout this course: Students follow their curiosity through investigations into student-generated inquiry, to find the latest evidence about topics, and to report their understanding of findings back to the classroom community.

This spring semester, WGC students have learned about the Indus River Valley civilization, an ancient civilization located in the region of present-day Pakistan and northwest India. Students began by creating maps of important geographical features and reading the latest research about climate change in the Indus River Valley.

Students took notes on recent archeological findings on the highly organized systems of urban planning and bartering in the Indus River Valley cities, and watched computational neuroscientist Rajesh Rao give his TED talk about the use of archeology and computer science to create a “Rosetta Stone” for the still-untranslated Indus Script. The students, who had learned about Mesopotamia in 5th grade, were able to tap into this prior knowledge when choosing artifacts from either Mesopotamia or the Indus River Valley for their recreation of an ancient marketplace.

Click through the slideshow to see the artifacts and bartering exercise that Alta Vista's student-artisans created!



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