Lesson 3: What Is A Civilization?

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • How do people change their environment?
  • What causes cultures to change over time?

Facts and Definitions

  • A civilization is a culture from the past that reached an advanced level of culture, science, industry, and government compared to other cultures of the time period.

Skills

  • Analyze the effects of change in communities and predict future changes. (SS)
  • Explain how science and technology have changed the way people meet their basic needs. (SS)
  • Look at how technology changes communities and cultures. (SS)
  • Identify uses of natural resources. (S)

Materials

  • Weslandia by Paul Fleischman
  • art materials
  • colored pencils or markers
  • poster board

Introduction

Ask your child if he has ever heard the term "civilization." Explain that a civilization is a culture from the past that reached an advanced level of culture, science, business, and government compared to other cultures of the time period. The elements of culture are all part of a civilization. In addition, a civilization might have had technology, a written language, schools, government, and a common currency (money).
Reading and Questions
Materials: Weslandia by Paul Fleischman
Ask your child to read Weslandia aloud, and then ask him the following questions.
Questions
  1. In what ways is Wesley different from other kids?
    Wesley does not like pizza, soda, or professional football. He also refuses to wear his hair in the popular fashion.
  2. In what ways are you similar to Wesley? Different from him?
    Answers will vary.
  3. Does Wesley change in the story? If so, how?
    Wesley becomes happier and finds a place where he fits in. He also gains friends by starting his own civilization and letting his schoolmates become a part of it.
  4. How does Wesley change his environment?
    He allows a new type of plant to grow in his backyard and cultivates it, using it for all his needs.
  5. Why do the other kids start to play with Wesley?
    Answers will vary but might include that they are interested by his new plants and ways or they are curious about how he is spending his time.
  6. What does Wesley develop in his civilization?
    He makes a new language, games, an 80-letter alphabet, and a new clothing style. He also develops several uses for his plant (swist) such as food, insect repellent, and cloth.
  7. Which of Wesley's ideas do you think is most interesting? Why?
    Answers will vary.
  8. Did you enjoy reading Weslandia? Why or why not?
    Answers will vary.