Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
A Message of Ancient Days

Understanding Primary Sources:
A Day in the Life of a Hunter-Gatherer

Objective: Students research various aspects of early man's life, including food, clothing, and shelter, then combine their findings into a class report using a variety of media.

What You Need:

Suggested Time:
4-5 hours over 3-4 days

Building Background:
Give students a brief overview of the lifestyle of early man. Like modern hunter-gatherers, Homo sapiensfrom 30,000 years ago used tools for hunting and making items, lived and worked in groups, and had cultural artifacts and rituals. Tell students they will learn about the daily activities and objects of these people and combine their knowledge in a multimedia class report.

What To Do:

1. Divide students into groups and assign research topics. Topics might include: food, what and how it was obtained; shelter, what materials were put together in what ways; clothing, made from what materials; cultural and religious practices, including art and burial practices. Send groups to the library to find books and articles. Our Unit 2 Bibliography has suggestions for materials that might be helpful.

2. Allow groups time to research their topics. Remind students to keep notes of specific details they want to include in their class report.

3. When each group has finished, have them give you a brief preview of their report away from the rest of the class. Are they comfortable that they have enough of the right kind of information to adequately cover the topic? Point out any missing pieces and offer guidance as needed.

4. Once each group has given you their preview and both of you are satisfied that they have covered the assigned topic, have them plan their oral reports/presentations. Encourage students to be creative. Suggest that they combine a variety of media and three-dimensional objects to enrich their presentation, including photos, charts, food samples, drawings, and clay models. Remind them to work out which person in the group will create and present different parts.

5. Have each group give its presentation to the rest of the class. Allow enough time for both the report and follow-up questions, and encourage discussion between the presenting group and the rest of the class.

When every group has finished its report, ask the class to write a one page description of a day in the life of an early man or woman. Remind them to use all the details they have learned to make the essay as detailed as possible.


Social Studies Center | Houghton Mifflin Social Studies | Unit Activities and Resources
Education Place | Site Index

Copyright © 1999 Houghton Mifflin Company. All Rights Reserved.