What lessons can we learn from golden age civilizations and/or from their falls, and why do those lessons matter to us today?
This project introduces students to the concept of a “golden age” in the history of civilizations around the world—a time when a civilization flourished and there was peace, prosperity, and achievement. Working in teams, students choose a particular civilization, such as Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome; the Tang Dynasty in China; the African empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai; the Maya, Inca, and Aztecs; Indus Valley Civilization and the Gupta Empire in India; and 8th–14th-century Islam. Students conduct research on their civilization’s golden age and why it declined or ended, then they communicate their learning to the public through a museum exhibit.
Each team creates a museum exhibit that showcases their civilization’s golden age and explains why it came to an end. The exhibits are displayed at a community/school event to which other students, parents, and community members are invited. Students are prepared to summarize their conclusions when asked by visitors to their museum exhibit.
Individually, students write an argument for what lessons we can learn from history that can be applied to our own civilization in the present day. They publish these arguments in a booklet that serves as a companion guide to the museum exhibit.