Ancient India

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In this unit, students will explore the geography of India, the Ganges and Indus Rivers, and the development of the first civilization in the Indus valley, where modern-day western India, Pakistan, and northeastern Afghanistan are located, emphasizing the importance of rivers on the growth of civilization.

In the unit’s six chapters, students will study the culture and beliefs associated with ancient India. They will learn about the Aryan invaders, who came to the Indus valley from other parts of Asia, and whose beliefs became interwoven with those of the Indus people, resulting in the development of a new religion called Hinduism. Students will investigate three important Hindu deities, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; the most important Hindu holy books, the Vedas; the castes, or different social levels; and Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

Students will explore Buddhism, which also began in this region. They will learn about the Buddha, what he taught, and how Buddhism spread to other lands. They will study one of the Buddha’s Jataka tales and how such stories helped him spread his teachings, and examine the life of King Asoka, the ancient king who put Buddha’s teachings into practice.

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