Digital Skills: Developing Online Assessment Skills in Everyday Classroom Activities Western Reserve Public Media
Civilization Comparison
Students will use an online graphic organizer to compare two civilizations before writing a comparison in an informative essay.
I can:

Compare two civilizations.

Tech Skills:
  • Keyboarding

Materials and Resources:

Teacher selected research materials

Online T-Chart from ReadWriteThink found here.


Grade Level:
  • 5th-7th Grade
Subject Area:
  • Social Studies
Supplemental Area:
  • Language Arts

Activity 1

  • Based on your grade level’s content standards, choose two civilizations to compare. Or, select two civilizations that have been previously studied.

  • Select a subtopic, or multiple subtopics, for students to research.

    For example, students in sixth-grade could gather information about forms of writing in ancient Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia.

    Other examples of subtopics could include government, religion, agriculture, geography, or contribution to modern societies.

  • Split the student group in half.

  • Have one half of the students research one or more subtopics for one civilization (i.e. Egypt) while the other half researches one or more subtopics for a second civilization (i.e. Mesopotamia.)

  • Allow students sufficient time, such as 1-3 class periods to gather information.

  • Next, pair students together so that each pair of students has one person who has researched each civilization.

  • Allow students sufficient time to compare notes.

  • Direct students to an online T-chart here.

  • Allow students sufficient time to complete the T-chart. Note that there is no option to save the T-chart, so students will need to complete any T-charts in one sitting. Students can print the T-charts when they are finished.  

  • Allow students time to complete multiple T-charts if they researched multiple subtopics.


Activity 2

Students will complete a cross-curricular activity by writing an essay.

  • Using their T-charts, allow students time to organize and complete an informational, comparative essay by using a word processor, such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word.
  • Students may require a class period to organize their writing prior to beginning typing the essay..

  • Depending on the number of subtopics a student researched, the essay may consist of 3-5 paragraphs.

    For example, if a student completed one subtopic, then a reasonable essay expectation would be for the student to have an introduction, one to two body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

  • Students can print their essays to turn them in, or submit them digitally, such as through Google Classroom.



Extension Activity

You may wish to allow students to make a presentation from their research and essays to present to the class. Visual aids, such as creating a Google Slides presentation, would lead to further keyboarding skills practice.


Grade 5: History Strand, Content Statement 2
Early Indian civilizations (Maya, Inca, Aztec, Mississippian) existed in the Western Hemisphere prior to the arrival of Europeans. These civilizations had developed unique governments, social structures, religions, technologies, and agricultural practices and products.

Grade 6: History Strand, Content Statement 2
Early civilizations (India, Egypt, China and Mesopotamia) with unique governments, economic systems, social structures, religions, technologies and agricultural practices and products flourished as a result of favorable geographic characteristics. The cultural practices and products of these early civilizations can be used to help understand the Eastern Hemisphere today.

Grade 7: History Strand, Content Statement 2
The civilizations that developed in Greece and Rome had an enduring impact on later civilizations. This legacy includes governance and law, engineering and technology, art and architecture, as well as literature and history. The Roman Empire also played an instrumental role in the spread of Christianity.

Supplemental Standards:
Language Arts
Grades 5-7 standard W.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

Supplementary Resources:

The AIR Test rubrics may be useful in grading the essays. Find the 3rd- 5th grade rubric here and the 6th-12th grade rubric here.

Alternative T-Chart

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