Ancient Civilizations – Computer
In the computer-based Ancient Civilizations activity, students create their own civilization and see how it fares over the years based on choices they make for location, animals, plants and materials. Students trade resources between their civilizations, repeatedly go to war with unnamed enemies, and learn some fun facts about real-world ancient civilizations along the way. This activity was inspired by Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.

This lesson is centered around my Polygon Transformer web app:

Topics addressed:
Value of natural resources in ancient civilizations
Impact of ecological and pathological events on populations

Primary CT concept: abstraction. It would be foolish to try and explain all of ancient history by looking at just the natural resources available to a civilization, but for the purposes of this lesson, we abstract away all other details to focus on this important aspect of burgeoning civilizations.

Students will be able to:
Describe the impact of the Bubonic Plague and understand how some civilizations developed immunities, giving them significant advantage over other civilizations
Understand that some animals, plants and materials are more valuable to a burgeoning civilization than others
Understand how certain resources can be beneficial during periods of war

Create a classroom code using the web app linked above. This will allow your students to trade with one another.
If you’re focused on a particular ancient civilization, you could consider limiting the resources student can pick from to those that were plausibly in that civilization. In this way, you could repeat this activity in subsequent units with different civilizations.

Suggested lesson breakdown:
This activity is incredibly flexible. Students can play for a few minutes a day over several weeks, or they can play a full game within a sixty minute class period.

For further information and relevant standards, please visit


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Created: Jan 23, 2017

Updated: Feb 22, 2018

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Creative Commons "Sharealike"

Creative Commons "Sharealike"