Grade 7
My Class to Yours


Three Empires Dating Service
Use with Unit 4
Written by Scott Wetzell
Calle Mayor Middle School
Torrance, California

Activity: Mongols, Mughals, and Ottomans Dating Service

I. Gathering information

  1. Students will gather as much information as possible about their particular group. They will work individually at first. (Students need an information-gathering worksheet)
  2. Students need to find five vocabulary words they do not know and answer them.
  3. They will then write down the most positive things they can think of about their group (accomplishments, conquests, etc.).
  4. Students should list the negative things about each, but spin that information so that it sounds pleasing. (Be creative, stretch the truth, etc.).

II. Meeting with groups

  1. Students will then meet with the other five to six people that have their group. (Note: we will have two sets of students working on the same groups.)
    • Mongols: 2 sets of 6-7 students
    • Mughals: 2 sets of 6-7 students
    • Ottomans: 2 sets of 6-7 students
  2. Students compare notes and begin to have directions handed out. Directions will come from a handout (a surprise!).
  3. Students will then have the opportunity to create a dating service for their group. Your group (empire) is having a difficult time finding a date, so you need to help them.
    • Be creative: use a poster, color, etc.
    • Include your ideas about what was positive about each empire.
    • Include your ideas about what was negative, but don't let on that it was negative (remember, you are trying to convince a prospective date that your empire is a great group!).
    • Present the poster or video or script idea to the class.
III. Presenting information
  1. Students will have a rubric/score guide to accompany project.
  2. Students in audience should take notes about all they see from each presentation (this fulfills the jigsaw aspect of the assignment).

Three Empires Travel Brochure
Use with Unit 4
Written by John M. Kirkpatrick
Edison Middle School
Champaign, Illinois USA

I found this to be an enjoyable activity giving students creative options. Although I used it with Chapter 7 "Three Empires," it could be easily adapted to one of the other units and even to other grade levels and subjects.

I had the students read through the chapter before assigning the project to give them a better idea of which empire they would prefer. I encouraged them to keep their brief descriptions very brief and showed examples of travel brochures from various places. I also encouraged them to use space wisely. The following instructions were given to each student:

Three Empires Travel Brochure
Across The Centuries Chapter 7 pp. 160–189
Directions: Select one of the three empires from chapter 7 ( Mongol, Ottoman, or Mughal). Create a tri-fold travel brochure about the empire you have selected. You may use your textbook, atlases, encyclopedias, Internet, etc. to research this project. Your brochure must meet the criteria listed below:

  1. A brief historical summary of the empire
  2. A brief highlight of one historically significant person from this empire
  3. A colorful illustration of one culturally significant site
  4. A brief description of the site illustrated in number 3
  5. A colorful map of the empire at its height including the capital, other important cities, and color coded stages of growth in the empire
  6. A colorful map of the same region today with the names of present day countries with important cities

Explorer Companion Journals
Use with Unit Number 6
Written by Erin Bakkom
Portsmouth Middle School
Portsmouth, New Hampshire USA

After completing Chapter 14, The Age of Exploration, I assign a class/homework project of creating an explorer journal. Each student picks an explorer to research (library and computer time is provided) and they create a journal with entries as if they were a traveler with their explorer. I find that old black and white composition books work well for journals and they can decorate the cover to look old and weathered with various materials. They must include 20 entries that show information gained from research: points traveled to, ship conditions, what was found at stops, reasons for voyage, etc. While the basis of the trip is based on fact, their character is fictional and students use great creativity and details to bring them to life.

Writing Haiku Poems
Use with Unit Number 4
Written by Amy Illingworth
San Diego, California USA

While studying the culture of Japan (Chapter 9), I point out the importance of nature to my students. Once they have seen evidence of nature's importance in Japanese culture (art, music, poetry, theater) I teach my students the art of writing Haiku Poems (5, 7, 5 syllables) using themes from nature. This is a great connection for the kids to make.

Persuasive Posters - Crusades
Use Unit Number 5, Chapter 11, Lesson 3
Written by Amy N. Cummings
Triway Junior High
Wooster, Ohio USA

I had my students create persuasive posters, trying to persuade people to join the crusades! I brought in examples of ads from magazines and we talked about "more is less," when it comes to creating an ad. My kids loved this activity and the posters really turned out nice! In lesson 3, the book tells us that there were three reasons that the peasants joined the crusades.

  1. If the peasant was to die fighting in the crusades his soul was automatically saved in heaven.
  2. The peasants could be free of bonds to his feudal lord while on a crusade.
  3. The crusade offered peasants an adventure.
I had my kids use one of these three ideas, or create one of their own. The kids were first asked to brainstorm on a sheet of notebook paper, and then I gave them drawing paper to complete the assignment using crayons, colored pencils, or markers.

Two Feudal Societies
Use with Across the Centuries pages: 23, 271-274, and 298
Written by Joan Horvath
Mentor Teacher
Standley Junior High School
San Diego, California USA

Objective: Students will compare and contrast the Japanese Samurai Feudal Society with the European Knight Feudal Society. Art, note taking, and checking for students' understanding will be the outcome for the assignments. Student worksheets will be followed by teacher's notes.

Teacher's Notes

Two Feudal Societies (pages 271-274)
The Samurai of Japan and The Knights of Europe:

  1. Both the samurai and the knight wore armor. They rode horses to defend their lords, land, and people in Japan during the 1100's - 1800's and in Europe during the 800's - 1300's.

  2. Both the samurai and knight wore armor -- the samurai had lacquered steel plates sewn together with leather and the knight wore chain mail. As time progressed, the knight was encased in steel.

  3. Both men spent their lives preparing for battle for their lords. Each practiced a code of honor -- the samurai practiced bushido and the knight practiced chivalry.

  4. The samurai followed the Buddhist and Shinto religion. The knight practiced Christianity.

  5. Following the lecture, students complete the boxes based on the example. Students write a question, draw a picture and answer in complete sentences based on the information gained from the lecture. The students can add color to their drawings.

Coconut Lesson
Use with Unit 7, Chapter 5
Written by Darin Clark
Dartmouth Middle School
Hemet, California USA

While studying early-man, I have students try to open coconuts using only natural tools such as sticks or rocks. The trick is to open the coconuts without losing the juice. There is a writing assignment and discussion afterwards.

Flash Cards
Use with Unit 3
Written by Mrs. Pokka
Grade 6-7 teacher
Brown Middle School

You make flash cards, with one having the word and another a definition, or you write questions. The children just play different games such as Go Fish with them. My students only had one B on their pop quiz. It works very well.

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