Ancient ruins cut from stone cliffs
Social Studies

A Civilized World

Where is the line between “primitive society” and “civilization”?

Project Summary

In this project, students investigate concepts of “primitive,” “civilized,” and “civilization.” Through the design of a multimedia exhibit, students unpack and critique the practice of dividing societies into “civilized” and “primitive.” Student teams each select and research an ancient society and gather artifacts to present as part of their exhibit. Teams choose a theme and title for the exhibit and consider how to present the complexity of the society they are studying. Throughout the project, students consider what labels such as “civilized” and “primitive” tell us about the values and biases that inform how cultures view one another, as well as our own values and biases. Students’ culminating exhibitions offer a compelling picture of ancient societies while critiquing the labels placed upon them.