PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 6 Humanities Learning About Early Humans

The five themes of geography and the five Forever Factors are guiding our exploration into the evolution of hominids.  We are studying the Paleolithic Era, which began approximately 5 million years ago, through the Neolithic Era, which ended about 3,000 BCE. We’ve learned that paleontologists and archeologists analyze fossils and artifacts to gain an understanding of what early humans looked like and how they lived.  We’ve created timelines that illustrated the evolution of hominids and now we are going deeper by becoming experts on specific topics.

Students have developed their own research questions by sharing their initial question with their peers in Socratic seminar format and responding to feedback from their classmates.  The goal was for each student to develop a research question that was open ended and contributed to our understanding of how early humans affected the growth of other civilizations.

Sample questions students developed:

  • How did the type of art early humans created relate to where they came from?
  • Why did early humans brains become bigger and how did brain evolution help Early Humans survive?
  • How did weapons evolve over time?
  • How did the creation of structures advance humans as a species?How did early human migration affect social capabilities between large groups of early humans?

We noticed while developing the questions that beginning with words like “How” and “Why” guided us to think more about process and cause and effect relationships.  As we continue to research, we will be focusing on synthesizing our information and understanding how the contributions of Early Humans continue to influence our lives.