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New Teachers New York:
Lesson Plans by New Teachers, For New Teachers
Cooperative Lesson Plan on Indus Valley Geography and Civilization An ancient civilization that owes many of its achievements to its geographic location. Created by Ramon Lopez 
Location: Paul Robeson H.S. 
District: 73
Grade: 9th grade
Subject: Global History and Geography class

If you have any questions regarding this activity, please contact Ramon at: Cedeiras1@aol.com


Students will be able to:

  • Read and critically analyze maps and geographical features
  • Identify the geographic features of the Indus Valley.
  • Locate and identify the major sites of the Indus Valley Civilization on a map
  • Create a detailed map of the Indus Valley.


  • blank sheets of paper
  • coloring pens or markers
  • overhead projector
  • transparencies and transparency markers
  • Any high school World History book which includes a section or chapter on the Indus Valley civilization (make sure that the textbook or other source used includes a map, and geographical description of the Indus Valley)
  • physical map of India


  1. To prepare for the presentations, the groups must research the subject first, using the textbook.
  2. They may also use the map of India displayed on the bulletin board, and/or a map of Asia.
  3. To ensure participation by all group members, each one must perform a specific task. The group may decide what each member will do (if they cannot agree on this, the teacher can assign each member a task).
  4. The tasks to be assigned are:
    1. Finding research material about the geography of India from the maps in the book and on the bulletin board  
    2. Finding research material about the sites of the Indus Valley Civilization in the textbook  
    3. Identifying physical features and sites on the map  
    4. Drawing the map for the presentation
    5. Preparing notes for the group's presentations.
  1. Each member of the group will produce a map of their own using the information gathered by all the members on a blank sheet of paper.
  2. The group will then produce a single map on a transparency sheet to use for their presentation (Draw your map on a sheet of paper before you put it on the transparency).
  3. All work will be collected and graded.

Cooperative Group Activity (45 Minutes.)

  1. Divide the class into groups of 4-5 students.
  2. Introduce the activity to class and hand out instructions, read instructions and answer any questions the students may have.
  3. Hand out coloring pens and paper to each group.
  4. Each group will produce a map of India, showing the major geographical features of the Indus Valley, and the main cities of its ancient civilization.


Group presentations: (20 - 25 Minutes.)
Each group will have 5 minutes of class time to present their map and the findings of their research.

  1. They will present their map on a transparency to the rest of the class.
  2. Each group will produce a map of India, showing the major geographical features and the most important sites of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  3. Each group will have 5 minutes to present their finished maps to the rest of the class.
  4. It is the responsibility of the other groups to pay close attention to the presentation and to grade the presentation based on the following guidelines:
    1. Does the map show the major geographical features of the Indus Valley?
    2. Does the map show the major sites of the Indus Valley Civilization?
    3. Is the map attractive and easy to read?
    4. Was the presentation well organized?   
  5. Take notes on these questions on a separate sheet of paper as the different groups present their maps.


  1. With the other members of the group, come up with a grade for each group in the class, with the exception of your own group. The grade must be based on a scale of 0-4, with 4 being the highest score.
  2. Explain the grade you have assigned each group. Example: If a group's presentation has only touched on 3 of the specified guidelines they should receive a score of 3, along with an explanation of why they assigned that score.

Discussion and Assessments:

  1. Ask how geographic location affected the rise of civilization in the Indus Valley.
  2. Ask which geographic features affected the rise of Egyptian and Sumerian Civilization.
  3. Ask students to describe 2 ways in which geography affected the life of people in the Indus Valley. Have these responses listed on the blackboard.
  4. Groups will evaluate each other's presentations based on the rubric provided (the previously mentioned 0-4 grading system).
  5. Ask students to write down 3 things they have learned about the Indus Valley, and one question they have on the back of their individual maps.
  6. Collect maps and transparencies as well as group assessment forms.

Teacher Notes:

I was very pleased with the outcome; every student stayed on task and did their assignment. I even received praise from my principal who walked in on the lesson. I found cooperative groups an effective strategy to keep students engaged.  Any textbook on world history can be used with this lesson as long as it covers the ancient civilizations of the Indus valley.


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