You are on page 1of 31

Big History Mini-Unit

Junior Social Science Course

Introduction Lesson:
Learning Objective By the end of this lesson you will understand
the core concepts of Big History
Congratulations!! Youve finished the hardest year you have had so far. Youve come a long way
through the Year 9 Social Studies Curriculum and youve made it to the end of the exams. There are
about three weeks left and youre going to start something completely new. For the rest of the year
youll be studying early humans of the stoneage.
Youre part of an experiment; a new curriculum from the USA that looks at history right from the Big
Bang all the way through to the present day and beyond.
If you havent watched the intro video yet, have a look here:
Obviously you dont have nearly enough time to cover all of that in three weeks so were just going
to cover the last few million years up to around 20000 years ago.
There are a couple of important ideas we all need to understand first, these are:
Thresholds of Increasing Complexity
Goldilocks Conditions
Think Pair Share
In a pair discuss what you think these ideas might mean and write down your thoughts. Once you
have written down your idea, watch this clip about each and write down your definition -
Your Idea Your Definition
Thresholds of Increasing

Goldilocks Conditions

How close was your definition for Goldilocks Conditions to the one on
this page?

If youre ever wondering about these ideas refer back to this chart.
For a useful introduction to Big History you could watch the following clip

If youd like to take a look at some more Big History stuff then go to

You could also go to the following YouTube channel and have an explore
Lesson 1 What do I know about the history of me?
Learning Objective By the end of this lesson you will understand
some of your own personal history and ways that you and other
people think about the past

In the space below write a history of yourself (you have 5 minutes)

Thinking and Discussion point
When youre done, your teacher will ask you a series of questions such as, how many of you wrote
your time in high school
your childhood
your parents
your parents childhoods
your grandparents
anything that happened over 100 years ago
anything that happened over 1000 years ago
You probably wrote about your childhood and your parents, but you may not have written about
your grandparents, and you probably didnt write about anything more than 100 years ago.
Also, did you talk about anything thats further away than New Zealand? What is the most distant
place you mentioned?
In the spaces below write down some of your own reflections or the reflections of others;
Why did you pick the facts and events that you

How did you decide what was important enough
to include?

Is it ever possible for a history of you to be

Theres a natural scale in time and space that people in our society think of when writing a
biography or autobiography. For example, in telling your own story, you probably thought that your
parents were worth mentioning, and possibly your grandparents, but probably not more distant
ancestors. (Many other cultures think differently about this!) You might have included events before
your conception and birth, but probably not more than 100 years before, and almost certainly
(unless you are already thinking very, very big!) not more than 1,000 or 10,000 years before. Why
not? Did events that happened hundreds or thousands or millions or billions of years ago affect your

Conceptual Thinking
How would your story change if you had written
it starting 1000 years ago, or 100000 or one

What if you framed it as part of the Milky Ways

Do you think these are meaningful things to do?

You probably think about your story, or anyone elses story, on a certain scale, but in Big History we
look at these stories on many different scales, and you will see and discover different patterns as
you do that.

Reflection Point
Youve finished the introduction to Big History. Obviously theres loads more we could do about the
origins of the universe and our place in it, but weve still only got 12 days of school time to work on
this stuff. Your task now, given what you have learnt today, is to reflect on the following by writing a
definition and drawing a picture to represent each of the following ideas that youve been working
on today:
Concept Your Definition Picture
Big History

Thresholds of Increasing

Goldilocks Conditions

Scales of Time

Lesson 2 What do we know about early humans?
Learning Objective By the end of this lesson you will understand
how human beings evolved, how they have changed over time, and
what makes them different from other animals
Have a go at ordering the following images from the earliest ancestors of humans to the most
recent: 1 =oldest and 5 = most recent

Homo erectus


Homo sapiens


Homo habilis

Once you have completed the attempt at ordering these images your teacher will show you the
correct order and information about each type of early human make sure you update your
answers to show the correct order, and copy in the information about each of our early ancestors

Now write the correct order onto the timeline below

Thinking Point
What do you think makes humans different from other animals?
Your Ideas:

Watch this video about what makes humans different from other animals
Write down the definition for Collective Memory from the video (3.30mins)

Your next task is to read the following article by David Christian (the guy from the video he created
this course)
As you read the article on the following pages write information in to the table below. Once you
have finished swap answers with your neighbour and discuss any similarities/differences.
What must the lioness know
in order to survive?

What ability do humans have
that is different from lions?

In what two ways does
collective learning empower
Way 1

Way 2

Information is power why?

What do you need to be able
to talk about to communicate
a concept such as football?

years ago
If you were an archaeologist,
what would you expect a
species capable of collective
learning to leave behind?

What are some of the
estimates for how far back in
time collective learning goes?

Look up hafting on a digital
device what is it?

How could collective learning
explain the emergence of a
technology of this kind?

What is collective learning?

Look at the technology around you: your phone, your computer, your car. Think about how
complicated it was to create these technologies. Now ask yourself: If, during your lifetime, you could
never speak to another human being, how much of that technology could you dream up? How much
of it could you actually build? No matter how smart and creative you might be, the answer is
probably simple: Not much!
The same is true of other parts of human society. Religions, the law, literature, and the sciences all
represent collective knowledge. Each of us is pretty smart, but all that makes up human culture is
not the product of individual geniuses. Instead, all the creative things that define our species were
slowly built up over time. They appeared as millions of individuals shared their ideas over many

The power of information

A species with lots of information about its environment can take advantage of that environment. To
feed herself and her cubs, a lioness needs to know where to hunt. If she doesnt have this
information, she and her cubs will die. But if she can learn about the movements of, say, antelopes,
she will have a steady diet and will prosper. Her hunting will probably result in more offspring.
But the lioness is still like a single computer. She has only as much memory as she can gather in her
lifetime. Humans are more like linked computers, with unlimited memory to expand. Our ability to
share knowledge means we can tap into a huge information network assembled by millions of
humans, living and dead. No one person knows it all. Human knowledge is shared when necessary,
and passed on and added to by each generation.

For example, before there was farming, elders passed on what they knew to younger individuals.
They taught how to hunt and what seasons were best for particular foods. As a result, each human
learned the knowledge that had been gathered by previous generations. In turn, each individual
could add to that body of knowledge. Our species has a huge amount of information about the
world. All that information equals a lot of power.

Collective learning empowers humans in another way, too, because individuals who share
information can work together better. In fact, we humans now share information so well that we can
work together in teams of people stretching across the entire globe. No other creature is capable of
teamwork on this scale.

Sharing information doesnt give us power just over our surroundings. It also gives us power over
other humans. Powerful individuals or groups are usually those with the most information. Well-
connected individuals also have larger networks and can form larger and more powerful alliances.
Information really is power!

Language and human history

If the sharing of ideas is so important, why dont chimps exchange ideas the way humans do? Its
probably not because they arent smart enough. The problem is in the sharing. Chimp language does
not allow chimps to share enough information with each other.

To get an idea of how powerful human language is, try telling a friend how to play football without
talking, writing, or drawing. With gestures you can really only exchange ideas about what is right in
front of you. You need to be able to talk about the future and the past, and things that dont yet
Think of the power of a simple phrase such as pink elephant. By saying those two words, I can
plant in your mind a picture of something that does not exist and never will. Chimp language cannot
do such things, but humans regularly exchange word pictures. This ability for symbolic language
has allowed us to cross a major threshold in our ability to communicate: that of collective learning.
Human language explains why we can share detailed ideas across generations. Over perhaps
200,000 years, humans have gathered a huge amount of technologies, rituals, stories, and traditions.
These have combined to give us more powerful ways of dealing with our surroundings and with each

Thats why I believe collective learning is the key to understanding human history!

When did collective learning begin?

Thats really a way of asking, When did human history begin? To tackle this difficult and important
question, we need to think like an archaeologist.
If you were an archaeologist, what would you expect a
species capable of collective learning to leave behind?
One possible answer: technologies such as stone
tools. Thats exactly why Louis Leakey thought that we
should regard Homo habilis as humans. As early as 2
million years ago, they were making simple stone
tools. But theres a problem. Thanks to the work of
Leakeys protg Jane Goodall and other
primatologists, we now know that chimps can make
tools; for example, they use twigs to get termites out
of termite mounds. In fact, lots of animals use tools,
but none seem to build on new technologies over
time as well as humans do.

On the other hand, by about 50,000 years ago, we
know that some humans had migrated to Australia. To
do so they must have crossed approximately 40 miles
of open water. This meant they had great boat-
building and navigational skills. At the same time, in
Eurasia, new types of tools and new kinds of art
started to emerge.

But collective learning likely goes back more than
50,000 years ago. At sites in Africa, there is strong
evidence for innovative thinking and new technologies from 100,000 years ago or even earlier.
Delicately made stone tools may have appeared 200,000 years ago.
We also find signs that people learned to attach stone blades to sticks. This technique, hafting, is
unique to humans and shows how collective learning works. As the use of small stone blades
became common, we presume that these early humans knew how to use their sharp stone edges to
shape wooden spears or digging sticks. We also know that hunters often used natural resins and
fibres to carefully bind shaped blades to shafts, to form spears or arrows. Combine these ideas and
you have a new technology: hafting.

Extra for Experts if you are keen to find out more, why not take a look at some of the following
How did our ancestors evolve? 10 mins

Crash Course Big History: Human Evolution 15 mins

And if you want to really get into human evolution you could check out this Documentary 90 mins

Lesson 3 How do we know about early humans?
Learning Objective By the end of this three part lesson you will
understand the fields of anthropology and archaeology and how
they have contributed to what we know about the past

Part 1: Anthropology
The definition for anthropology has already been done for you; your first task is to look up the
words adaptation and paleo, and write down their definitions
Anthropology The study of human cultures and societies

Adaptation -

Paleo -

Next, watch this video and write down what it is that anthropologists look for when they are
studying cultures and societies

What do physical anthropologists study?

What do paleo-anthropologists study?

What is the challenge of paleo-anthropology?

In a small group
You are a team of Anthropologists at the University of Auckland who have been sent a humanoid
skeleton from the distant past. Write down four questions that your group wants answers to about
this skeleton
Question 1.

Question 2.

Question 3.

Question 4.

Great now write down the reasons that your group asked each question why did you want to
know these answers as anthropologists?
Reason for Q1.

Reason for Q2.

Reason for Q3.

Reason for Q4.

Wider Class Discussion
Next your teacher will guide a wider class discussion about questions and reasons for questions that
the class had about anthropology. Remember your teacher is not an anthropologist and might have
the same amount of knowledge about the social science of anthropology as you have.

Part 2: Archaeology
Your next task is to look up the word archaeology and write down the definition
Archaeology -

Next, watch this video and write down your answers to the questions below - note you will need to
pause the video frequently to write down your answers.
Archaeology is divided into two fields:
1. Historical
2. Pre-historical

What kinds of records does historical archaeologist focus on?

What kinds of records does the pre-historical archaeologist focus on?

How long was the stone age?

Three of the scientific disciplines that archaeologists have to deal with are Geologists,
Palaeontologists and Climatologists. Why?

1. Geologists

2. Palaeontologists

3. Climatologists

A big question in archaeology is what drove human evolution and the increase in brain size and why
did that happen?

What are the sub-questions that archaeologists ask to try to think about this question

Sub-question 1.

Sub-question 2.

Sub-question 3.

Another big question that archaeologists ask is why did our ancestors switch from hunting and
gathering to farming

What are the sub-questions that archaeologists ask to try to think about this question

Sub-question 1.

Sub-question 2.

In a small group
You are a team of Archaeologists at the University of Auckland who have been sent a range of
recently discovered stone tools. Write down four questions that your group wants answers to about
these tools
Question 1.

Question 2.

Question 3.

Question 4.

Great now write down the reasons that your group asked each question why did you want to
know these answers as archaeologists?
Reason for Q1.

Reason for Q2.

Reason for Q3.

Reason for Q4.

Wider Class Discussion
Next your teacher will guide a wider class discussion about questions and reasons for questions that
the class had about archaeology. Remember your teacher is not an archaeologist and might have the
same amount of knowledge about the social science of archaeology as you have.

Part 3 Historos Cave Activity
Earlier in this lesson, you learned about the fields of archaeology and anthropology. Now youll be
putting that information to use as you attempt to describe how early humans at a fictional site
would have lived. While Historos Cave is fictional, the images in this activity are from a variety of
sites in the area around Blombos Cave, South Africa. This activity will allow you to draw on
information from earlier in the lesson as well as new research in order to draw conclusions about
how early humans lived.
Blombos Cave is an archaeological site on the southern coast of South Africa, not far from Cape
Town. In 1991, archaeologists began to excavate a wealth of artifacts that gave them new
information about the early humans who had lived in the cave off and on starting about 100,000
years ago. Scientists have used the tools, fossils, paintings, and other clues found at Blombos to
learn a great deal about the lives of early humans.
Historos Cave is a fictional cave similar in geography and composition to Blombos. Youll examine the
photographs of the objects on the Historos Cave Worksheet, all of which were found at this fictional
site, to paint a picture of the daily lives of the people who lived there.
Often, as at Blombos Cave, scientists from different disciplines work together to analyse the objects
and other clues found at a site. Together, theyre able to develop a detailed idea of the lives of the
people who lived there. Now youll have a chance to be part of the interdisciplinary team working at
Historos Cave.
Your class will be divided into teams. Each member of a team will assume the role of a scientist.
More than one scientist from the same discipline may work together. Choose from the following
You heard a couple of different scientists describing archaeology and anthropology in the videos, but
you may need to do some research about geology and palaeontology before tackling the questions.

Directions: Your teacher will give a set of evidence for each group. Examine these images of
materials found at a fictional site to help paint a picture of the individuals that lived there and their
daily lives.
Describe what each scientist would focus on when investigating the cave
What would an anthropologist be looking for?

What would an Archaeologist be looking for?

What would a Geologist be looking for?

What would a Palaeontologist be looking for?

Think about how your discipline would answer the following questions:
What were some of the physical traits of the early humans living in this cave?

What were they eating and how did they get their food?

What was a day in the life of an early human like here?

Extra for Experts if you are keen to find out more, why not have a look at the following videos:
Life for the common (hu)man - 3 mins
Early evidence of collective learning - 3 mins

Lesson 4 How did early humans survive in the wild?
Learning Objective By the end of this lesson you will understand
how human beings survived in the wild over millions of years
Part 1: Foraging
Thinking Question
If you had lived during the Palaeolithic era (the Stone Age approximately the last 2.5 million
years) what would your life have been like?
Imagine this scenario. You have five minutes to make a list of things to do today as a Palaeolithic
hunter gatherer

Of your tasks for the day, what was the most important?

Your next task is to read the following article and create a Flow-Chart in the space provided to show
the significant evolutionary steps that hominines (early humans) took towards becoming fully human
in the way that we are today
The Evolution of Foraging

Finding food is no problem for most humans today. We live with mass-produced food, markets, and
restaurants in nearly every town. Now imagine trying to find food every day in nature. Yet that is just
what humans (Homo sapiens) have done for most of their time on Earth. We first appeared about
200,000 years ago. It wasnt until 11,000 years ago that we began to develop agriculture. Before
Homo sapiens evolved, our hominine ancestors foraged for millions of years.

Foraging means relying on food provided by nature. We gathered plants and small animals, birds,
and insects; picked up animals killed by other predators; and hunted. Foraging is often described as
hunting and gathering.

Humans are not the only creatures who forage; many animals do too. What is different about human
foraging? Its hard to say. Yet, the common idea would be that humans, by means of our ability to
use words, can share knowledge weve gathered over time. We passed it on to younger generations,
and worked together cooperatively. These skills allowed humans to gradually make foraging easier
and easier. They make us different from the rest of the animal kingdom.

In fact, one could say that foraging made us human. As fruit trees in the rain forest became less
abundant in the cooling, drying climate, the hominines who survived had to find other food sources.
As they did, many traits evolved. We began walking on two feet, lost most of our body hair,
developed smaller intestines and larger brains, and became better communicators. These are the
hallmarks of being human.

One of the most significant steps that hominines ever took was to learn to control fire. They
probably did this by tending fires started by lightning. No one knows exactly when this occurred.
Scientists believe hominines may have used fire to cook more than a million years ago.

Cooked food provided more nutrition. Most importantly, it contributed to brain development. Eating
and chatting together around a fire may have promoted language development. Improvements in
language contributed to awareness and collective learning.

Humans gradually developed their skill in hunting. At first, hominines probably scavenged meat
killed by other animals. Theyd find a carcass and drag it to a safe place. Then theyd use their stone
tools to butcher it. As they developed better weapons and learned to hunt together, they were able
to take down larger animals.

Flow chart showing development of hominines into humans

Next you are going to read about how we know about foraging. As you read, think about who would
be studying foragers and complete the sentences below.
An ________________________ is a person who studies hunter-gather or foraging societies
An ________________________ is a person who examines the records left behind by foragers

The Economics of Foraging

Climate and environment determine the life of any specific group of humans. However, we make
generalizations about foragers. They must have possessed a detailed knowledge of their
environment. They must have had a large territory in which to forage. If they lived in harsh
environmental conditions that provided fewer food resources, they would need a very large area. A
smaller area would suffice if food was abundant.

Most foragers lived by moving frequently. They slept in temporary camps. They might move with the
seasons to follow animal migrations or the ripening of different plant food sources. Foragers usually
lived in small groups of 15 to 30. When food became scarce, or conflicts arose, they split up further.

Populations grew extremely slowly, if at all. Mothers milk provided the only food for infants.
Because nursing lasted for three to four years, it often prevented a new pregnancy. In any case,
mothers could not carry more than one infant at a time. In these close-knit groups, foragers usually
shared food. Apparently, foraging societies were the fairest in human history.

Case Study The Bushmen of Southern Africa

Until relatively recently, five different groups of people had been living as foragers in the same place
for 30,000 years. And its a semi-desert the Kalahari Desert of Botswana, Namibia, and South
Africa. The groups each have a name. But, collectively they are known as the San, or the First People.
They are most commonly called Bushmen.

How did the Bushmen survive as foragers in such harsh environmental conditions for so many years?
Their survival has given the human community a valuable example of the skills of foragers in
extremely challenging surroundings.

The Bushmen moved every day during the rainy season in search of greens to eat. They constructed
simple shelters against the rain at night. During the dry season, however, they built more stable huts
of branches and grass around water sources. Finding water was their main activity. Sometimes they
had to dig deep holes wherever the sand was damp. Theyd put hollow grass straws into the holes to
sip water through. Often theyd store water in ostrich eggshells, which held about five cups, more
than a days supply.

The tools of the Bushmen were simple. Men used a bow with poison-tipped arrows and spears for
hunting deer, antelope, and buffalo. For gathering, the women used a blanket, a sling made of hide,
a cloak to carry wood and food, smaller carrying bags, and a digging stick about three feet long and
about an inch in diameter.

Nuts and roots were the basis of their diet. Women also collected fruit, berries, onions, and ostrich
eggs. Insects grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and termites supplied a
portion of the Bushmens protein. Hunting was 20 per cent of the total diet. Gathering provided the
other 80 per cent.

The Bushmen spent a large portion of their time in
leisure activities conversation, joking, singing, and
dancing. Decisions were reached as a group. Women
were relatively equal with men.

Studies of the Bushmen began in the 1950s when they
still lived in the traditional way. By the 1990s, most
had been forced to adopt farming. Some of their
former hunting territories were turned into game
preserves by African governments.

Finally read the article below to determine the three main areas of debate about foragers or hunter-
gatherers, and summarise them briefly in the space provided
Debates about foraging

People who study foragers are archaeologists and anthropologists. Archaeologists examine human
societies through material, cultural, and environmental records left behind. Their work includes
human societies from the development of the first tools up to recent decades. Anthropologists study
societies that today still live much like the ones before agriculture.

Both types of study are challenging and open to interpretation. Conclusions about ancient foragers
reached from studying modern foragers are especially uncertain. Comparing them to ancient
foragers is difficult since modern foragers cannot escape completely the world around them. Todays
foraging communities often use modern tools and partially rely on recent advances in technology.
Their lands have also been greatly limited by development and the overall increase in the global

Traditionally, archaeologists and anthropologists have thought that men did the hunting in foraging
societies. It was thought that women did the gathering. However, recent studies have challenged
this view. People studying apes often point out that the females can provide for themselves and
their offspring. They dont need male assistance.

Among many current foraging societies, men and women are flexible about who hunts birds and
animals. In some cultures, hunting and gathering roles are even exchanged. The current view holds
that past foragers had flexible gender roles. Men or women might fill different jobs depending on
individual skills, knowledge, and the local environment.

Another on-going debate among experts concerns the quality of life among foragers. Traditionally,
foragers were viewed as having short, miserable lives, barely surviving. In the 1960s, fieldwork done
among surviving foragers (the Bushmen in Botswana, the Aboriginals in Australia, and the Yanomami
in the Brazilian rain forest) revealed that foragers enjoy good nutrition obtained in a few hours a
day. The rest of their day is spent socializing and grooming. By the 1980s, this view was challenged.
No agreement has yet been reached.

A third debate concerns how much
human foragers affected their
environment. For a long time, it
was assumed that humans had little
effect on nature until they
developed agriculture.
Since the 1960s, scientists have
questioned this assumption. They
have pointed to two indications
that foragers did make a significant
impact. For one thing,
archaeologists have found evidence
that foragers set fire to large areas
of land. Presumably they did this to
drive animals out for killing.
Burning land also promotes the
growth of fresh plants that would
provide food and attract animals.
The Australian Aboriginal use of this
practice was given the name
firestick farming. These fires
turned scrubland into grassland and
suppressed some species, altering
the environment.

In addition, whenever humans migrated into new parts of the world, a wave of extinctions of large
animals occurred. In North and South America, about 75 per cent of the animals weighing more than
100 pounds went extinct within a couple of thousand years after humans arrived. These animals
included mastodons, camels, horses, and sabre-toothed tigers.

In Australia, humans are thought to have arrived about 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. Similar
extinctions occurred there roughly 30,000 years ago. The rate of extinction was about 85 per cent
and included giant kangaroos and marsupial lions. In Eurasia, the extinctions occurred more
gradually and included mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, and giant elk.

The debate continues. Yet, it may be that a combination of changing climate, human hunting, and
other changes brought about by humans may have made these large animals extinct.

Debate #1 _________________ Debate #2 _________________ Debate #3 _________________
Brief Summary

Brief Summary Brief Summary

Extra for experts if youd like to know more about hunter-gatherer societies and how we know
about them have a look at this video - 10 mins

Part 2 Hunter-gatherer menu
You will do some research on foraging diets and how our foraging ancestors might have used a
variety of tools to hunt and gather. You have to choose menu items that a typical forager might have
hunted and gathered in the location you specify. This activity will allow you to learn about the
variety of different food items available in certain areas and how early foragers would have procured
these items.
Your first task for part to is going to be to watch the following video entitled From Foraging to
Shopping and follow the following directions
First you will need to research what early humans ate. You have some information from the video
you have just watched, and could find more at some of the following websites: - you will find plenty of diets of this kind with a
simple search thread of paleo diet

Record your research into different types of food that early humans ate in this box

Next, choose a name, location, and date for your imaginary restaurant. Using the information youve
found during your research, put together a basic menu based on what a typical forager might have
been able to find or catch at the time and region youve chosen. You must include information on
the tools used to forage that particular food item as well as information about where the food item
was located.

Restaurant Name:



Appetizers & Snacks
Name of Dish Foraged From Tools Used

Name of Dish Foraged From Tools Used

Name of Dish Foraged From Tools Used

Finally, design a menu using the information you have gathered. This could be done as a website, on
a poster or just on A4 paper. Make sure you include information such as the name of the restaurant,
where it is and when it is you should include a brief paragraph explaining the choices you have

Lesson 5 How did early humans spread around the world?
Learning Objective By the end of this lesson you will understand
how human beings travelled to all of the habitable continents over
Read the following article and transfer the information from it onto a map on the following page.
Make sure you label the places with their modern names and the dates that the migrations took
place. Draw arrows to represent the migration routes. Dont forget your mapping conventions!
Thinking Question: New Zealand is not in the article. Why not?
Our species is an African one: Africa is where we first evolved, and where we have spent the
majority of our time on Earth. The earliest fossils of recognizably modern Homo sapiens appear in
the fossil record at Omo Kibish in Ethiopia, around 200,000 years ago. Although earlier fossils may be
found over the coming years, this is our best understanding of when and approximately where we
According to the genetic and paleontological record, we only started to leave Africa between 60,000
and 70,000 years ago. What set this in motion is uncertain, but we think it has something to do with
major climatic shifts that were happening around that timea sudden cooling in the Earths climate
driven by the onset of one of the worst parts of the last Ice Age. This cold snap would have made life
difficult for our African ancestors, and the genetic evidence points to a sharp reduction in population
size around this time. In fact, the human population likely dropped to fewer than 10,000. We were
holding on by a thread.

Once the climate started to improve, after 70,000 years ago, we came back from this near-extinction
event. The population expanded, and some intrepid explorers ventured beyond Africa. The earliest
people to colonize the Eurasian landmass likely did so across the Bab-al-Mandab Strait separating
present-day Yemen from Djibouti. These early beachcombers expanded rapidly along the coast to
India, and reached Southeast Asia and Australia by 50,000 years ago. The first great foray of our
species beyond Africa had led us all the way across the globe.

Slightly later, a little after 50,000 years ago, a second group appears to have set out on an inland
trek, leaving behind the certainties of life in the tropics to head out into the Middle East and
southern Central Asia. From these base camps, they were poised to colonize the northern latitudes
of Asia, Europe, and beyond.

Around 20,000 years ago a small group of these Asian hunters headed into the face of the storm,
entering the East Asian Arctic during the Last Glacial Maximum. At this time the great ice sheets
covering the far north had literally sucked up much of the Earths moisture in their vast expanses of
white wasteland, dropping sea levels by more than 300 feet. This exposed a land bridge that
connected the Old World to the New, joining Asia to the Americas. In crossing it, the hunters had
made the final great leap of the human journey. By 15,000 years ago they had penetrated the land
south of the ice, and within 1,000 years they had made it all the way to the tip of South America.
Some may have even made the journey by sea.
Extra for Experts If you have time, add more detail by going to the following website and clicking
through the right arrow -, you could also watch this
video for more information - or take a look at this much longer

Test your knowledge! Match the terms below to their definitions by placing the number of each in
the appropriate box. There is only one term for each definition.
1. anthropology

5. culture 9. Homo sapiens 13. Palaeolithic era
2. archaeology

6. foraging 10. migration 14. primate
3. bipedalism

7. genetics 11. Neanderthal 15. symbiosis
4. collective learning 8. Homo ergaster or
Homo erectus
12. nomadic 16. symbolic language


_____ A Species of hominine very closely
related to own species, which went
extinct roughly 35,000 to 30,000
years ago
_____ A hominine species that originated in
Africa around two million years ago
and migrated into Eurasia. Almost as
tall as modern humans, their brains
were larger than those of Homo
habilis, and they may have been able
to control fire.
_____ The ability to walk on two rear limbs
_____ The scientific study of human activity
in the past, primarily by finding and
examining objects that humans
created or interacted with.
_____ A long, early era of human history
that featured the creation and use of
many different types of stone tools;
literally means Old Stone Age.
_____ The customs, values, beliefs, and
general patterns of behavior of a
particular group of people.
_____ The scientific study of human beings
and human culture, including beliefs,
customs, and archaeological records.
_____ An interdependent relationship
between two different species that
live in close contact with one
another, may be beneficial to both
species, or beneficial but neutral or
harmful to the other.
_____ The scientific name for our species,
which is thought to have evolved in
Africa between 200000 and 300000
years ago.
_____ A powerful form of communication;
much more powerful than
communication by other animals
because it can convey much more
information, much more precisely.
_____ The ability to share, preserve, and
build upon ideas over time.
_____ The scientific study of how traits are

Your score out of 16

_____ Movement of animals from one place
to another, often in search of more
abundant resources.
_____ A way of life in which people move
from place to place rather than
settling in a single location;
movements are often dictated by
climate and availability of food
_____ A member of the order of mammals
appearing between 60 and 70 million
years ago that is characterised by a
relatively large brain, hands with
multiple movable fingers and nails
instead of claws, and eyes positioned
on the front of the skull.
_____ Relying on wild (uncultivated) plants
and animals for sustenance; hunting
and gathering. The dominant way of
life during the Palaeolithic era.
Well done you have come to the end of our journey through the history of
early humans. Now that youve finished developing your understanding you
are going to apply this new knowledge by researching an aspect of
Palaeolithic (Stone Age) life in groups and making five educational activities
for students who are studying it.
Your Task is outlined below. You will have four periods of class time to create the educational
activities and there will be two periods for presentation at the end of the term. There will be a prize
for the best group.
One: youre going to research any aspect or aspects of Palaeolithic (Stone Age) life that you have
encountered so far in this unit.
You will have time using ICT resources to put your information together. The research process will
not end; inquiry learning is about constantly updating what you know.
Two: youre going to design and complete a series of five activities that require you to go deeper
into the topic. The difference here is that you come up with the activity for yourself. You will create
one activity for each of the following levels of thinking, and then present them as a completed
package to the class. Below are the areas that you will be designing activities for. Each of these is a
style of thinking.
Remember it Gathering information, facts and data

Get it Showing that you understand

Use it

Applying your knowledge and information to new situations
Weigh it up

Comparing and contrasting your evidence in order to make judgements
Create it

Acting like an inventor to generate new products, new ideas, or new ways of thinking

Some ideas for activities are listed below. You can regard the as being a space in which you can
insert your own words about your own particular topic.

Level Verbs (doing
Make an A-Z list of
Name all the
Describe what happened at
Bookmark a list of websites on
Repeat what said about
What is(facts/definitions etc.)
State 10 facts about
Search the internet for
List the ways that you are like

Get it Classify
Explain howhas impacted on
Describe in clear logical steps
Use a metaphor to help you understand
Paraphrase in your own words
Using words, pictures and icons, restate what you know
Give reasons for
Research songs to assist you to understand
State three things you know about

Use it Calculate
Apply previously learnt knowledge to construct
Interview a group of people about
Formulate 4 questions based on your knowledge of
Write a letter to the editor pointing out
Construct a flow chart for

Weigh it up Argue (For/Against)
To what extent
Justify the decision of
Determine which is more effective
Evaluate the effectiveness of
Rankfrom least

Create it Create
Design a database for
Formulate a set of criteria to judge
Compose a song, jingle, rhyme or rap to
Develop an argument to persuade people to
Generate key questions to
Create a role play to
Design a personal action plan to

The finished product of each activity will contain the activity instructions and the result of you
completing the activity. For example if the activity was to write a diary of a cave man, you would
need to present the instructions and the written diary.

You will need to use the planning space below to put your groups ideas down on paper as you go.
Remember there is a prize for the best presentation and you will be marking each others work.
Level Activities
Remember it

Get it

Use it

Weigh it up

Create it

Your presentation is to the whole class. It must be visually appealing. Below are some ideas for
presentations that people have used before. You can use these ideas or any others that you come up
with. Remember that you need to create five activities.
Powerpoint or Prezi Documentary-style
Present a Role Play

Create a 3D model or
Formal Written Report

Poster or Wall Chart

Conduct an Interview Create a Timeline

Create a map Take a test Write a diary Write a poem

Draw a Cartoon Generate Questions Create a newspaper
Produce an artefact
When you finally present your findings you will have ten minutes to show the rest of the class your
work and they will judge it using the assessment criteria outlined on the next page. This requires you
to make mature decisions about your classmates work, and in return they will be making mature
decisions about yours.