Heritage of the Fertile Crescent

Heritage of the Fertile Crescent

Explore the roots of human achievement in Mesopotamia.


5 - 8


Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography, Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations

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Idea for Use in Classroom

Begin by having students find the following items on both the inset map and the larger map: the Euphrates River, the Tigris River, and the Persian Gulf. Have students hypothesize how these bodies of water might have contributed to the growth of civilization, and then introduce Mesopotamia as the birthplace of civilization. Next, have volunteers read aloud the text in the inset and the description under the map title, and then brainstorm a list of the key features of civilizations, such as irrigation and written language. Based on this information, ask them what they expect the map to show.

Have students identify the nine archaeological sites depicted by arrows. Ask students to share anything they already know about these sites (they are most likely to recognize Babylon, Ur, and, perhaps, Nineveh). Have volunteers read each text block. Then assign small groups to each city to research other important contributions their city made to the world’s cultural heritage. Have each group present their findings.

Use the map and research to discuss either how in each city people from different parts of the world came together, or how each city otherwise contributed to the world’s cultural heritage. Finally, have students cast secret ballots for the city they believe made the greatest contribution to world heritage, and then share their reasoning after ballots are tallied.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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