Central Question: Did the caste system unite ancient Indian society?



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Lesson: 6th grade

Central Question: Did the caste system unite ancient Indian society?

California History-Social Science Standards:

6.5.3 Explain the major beliefs and practices of Brahmanism in India and how they evolved into early Hinduism.

6.5.4 Outline the social structure of the caste system.

Common Core State Standards

R.H.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

R.H.9 Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.

Overview of Procedures:

Warm-Up: Simulation.



  1. Pre-Activity Set-Up

Divide Students into 3-4 groups; depending on class size

  1. Group Set-Up (Items Provided to each group)

  1. Scissors + Glue + Tape; Cardboard

  2. Scissors; Cardstock

  3. Glue; Newspaper

  4. Nothing; Kleenex/Paper towels

  1. Task

Tell Students they have 15-20 min. to build a Structure; house, building, etc… (Provide NO Instruction/Support)

  1. Judging

Give the winning team (HINT: Team A) a prize/reward.

  1. Question

Ask students if the (Insert Teacher Name Here) system united the classroom?

Ex: Did the Gomez System unite the classroom?



The thinking behind the simulation is for students to understand that in ancient Indian society people had different resources/opportunities available to them based on their caste.

Into:


1. Teacher provides background information on the beliefs and practices of Brahmanism in India and how this evolved into early Hinduism. The social structure of the caste system would be part of the background information provided.

There is some helpful reading here: http://www.historyteacher.net/GlobalStudies/Readings/reading-castesystem.pdf and http://www.ushistory.org/civ/8b.asp

2. Introduce the question: Did the caste system unite ancient Indian society?

3. Teacher models a close reading of The Ancient South Asian World “A Place for Everyone: Caste and Society” (p.3-4)

Possible text dependent questions:


  1. Who wrote this source?

  2. What is this person’s occupation? Does that mean he/she is qualified to write about ancient India?

  3. What changes occurred in India in the 1st century?

  4. How was the Code of Manu (or Book of Manu) a response to these changes?

  5. How could bad karma affect a person’s life?

  6. What could a person improve their karma?

4. Students jigsaw the two readings on the caste system “A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms” (p.5) and “Untouchables” (p.6) using the Annotation and Evidence Collection Guide (it’s one of the attachments) to gather information on one source. They are then paired up with a student(s) who have a different source to share information.

5. Whole group discussion about what they discovered regarding the sources. Some possible questions:



  1. What was ancient Indian society like? How do we know?

  2. When was Source 2 written? What is the perspective of the source? What can we learn from the source?

  3. Does Source 2 support the idea that the caste system united Indian society? If yes, what evidence would you point to in the reading? If no, what evidence would you point to in the reading?

  4. When was Source 3 written? What is the perspective of the source? What can we learn from the source?

  5. Does the author of Source 3 believe that the caste system united Indian society? If yes, what evidence would you point to in the reading? If no, what evidence would you point to in the reading?

6. Optional: The teacher could introduce one more source—the video clip from the BBC’s Story of India Episode 2: Power of Ideas; from 2:00 to 6:58. It’s available on Youtube--https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63Jw0Ky6ZpQ4

Assessment:



Students respond to the question using evidence from the source. Use the PIE handout.

Source 1: The Ancient South Asian World “A Place for Everyone: Caste and Society”

Authors: Jonathan Mark Kenoyer and Kimberley Heuston*

Published 2005



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