Ask: Where were the early civilizations located?

Step 1: Watch the following videos:

Step 2: Go to the ArcGIS Online map, Cradles of Civilization. Take a minute and explore the map. With the Details button depressed, click on the Content button.

Step 3: Click the latitude lines that bound the early river valley civilizations.

  • What was the general geographic location of those civilizations?

Step 4: Note the connections between temperature and temperate climate zones. Continental climates tend to have warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters.

Acquire: What geographic factor was essential for the start of early civilizations?

Step 5: Turn on the layer, Major Rivers

  • What did each early civilization have in common?

Explore: What benefits did the rivers provide?

Step 6: Click each river valley civilization and read the text and look at the photo. (Hint: You might need to click the arrow in the upper-right corner of the pop-up window.)

  • What could be some possible effects of seasonal flooding on these river valley civilizations?

Analyze: What other geographic features were important?

Step 7: Turn on the layer, Arid, and semi-arid lands. Click Bookmarks and select the Nile.

  • What geographic features do you observe near the Nile civilization?

Step 8: Repeat the two previous steps for each of the other three river valley civilizations.

  • What geographic features do you observe with the remaining three civilizations?
  • What geographic features do you observe with the remaining three civilizations?
  • Why did the river valley civilizations develop where they did and persist over time?

Act: How did the population grow over time?

Step 9: Turn off the layer, Arid and semi-arid lands.

Step 10: Turn on the layer, World Population Density 2015.

Step 11: Using the bookmarks and the zoom and pan tools, observe the current population density patterns at each early civilization site.

  • How does the population density today compare to the locations of the early river valley civilizations?


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Human Geography Lab Manual by R. Adam Dastrup, MA, GISP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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