Ch 2: Early Civilizations - ORELA Middle Grades Social Science

About This Chapter

Refresh your knowledge of ancient civilizations by reviewing this chapter. These lessons will address significant civilizations, leaders, and events throughout the ancient world in an attempt to better prepare you for the early civilization test questions on the ORELA Middle Grades Social Science exam.

Early Civilizations: ORELA Middle Grades Social Science - Chapter Summary

The lessons in this chapter detail the history of early world civilizations from those in Mesopotamia to Mesoamerica. In addition to a discussion of noteworthy civilizations, these lessons will also address significant historical leaders and the impact of time periods and transitions including the Neolithic Revolution and the Bronze Age on early civilizations. An understanding of these civilizations and historical facts will aid your ability to answer pertinent history questions on the ORELA Middle Grades Social Science exam. These lessons will address the following subjects:

  • The causes of the Neolithic Revolution
  • Mesopotamia and the four empires it sustained
  • Ancient Egypt, with a focus on the Bronze Age, Queen Hatshepsut and Ramses the Great
  • The Kush civilization
  • Histories of the Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, Persian, and Maurya empires
  • Civilization in early China
  • The Mayans and Mesoamericans
  • Africa's Ghana empire

These lessons will be led by expert instructors who will be available to you throughout your studies. As you review the videos, you may read the accompanying transcripts which will highlight pertinent vocabulary terms that may prove beneficial to know for the exam.

Historical Research & Writing: ORELA Middle Grades Social Science Objectives

The ORELA Middle Grades Social Science exam has approximately 150 multiple-choice questions focused on four different types of subject matter, with the history section containing 50% of these questions. One of the main objectives of the history portion relates to major world historic events up until 1350 B.C.E. More specifically, this portion of the exam may ask questions relating to the characteristics of early civilizations and trends throughout the world.

The lessons of this chapter will detail significant early civilizations and noteworthy information in an attempt to strengthen your knowledge of this topic so you may feel confident regarding this segment of the exam.

13 Lessons in Chapter 2: Early Civilizations - ORELA Middle Grades Social Science
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Neolithic Agricultural Revolution: Causes and Implications

1. Neolithic Agricultural Revolution: Causes and Implications

A long, long time ago, human beings roamed the earth looking for food. Then the agricultural revolution struck! What are the benefits of an agrarian society, and how have they shaped the way we live today?

Mesopotamia: The First Civilization

2. Mesopotamia: The First Civilization

In this lesson, we explore the beginning of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Mesopotamia. We specifically discuss the factors that encouraged settlement in the region.

The Four Empires of Mesopotamia

3. The Four Empires of Mesopotamia

Whereas a number of dynasties ruled Egypt, it was often completely different cultures to rule Mesopotamia. This lesson looks at four of those cultures that were able to build empires.

Ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age

4. Ancient Egypt in the Bronze Age

This lecture first compares the natural features of the Nile valley to those of Mesopotamia, enumerating the advantages that geography offered the Egyptians. This is followed by a brief discussion of why Egyptian material culture survives while so much of Mesopotamian culture has been lost. The lecture ends with a a whirlwind tour through 3,000 years of Egyptian history broken up into traditional historical periods.

Queen Hatshepsut & Ramses the Great of Egypt

5. Queen Hatshepsut & Ramses the Great of Egypt

While the pharaohs of Egypt may have ruled the land along the Nile for thousands of years throughout many dynasties, two names deserve special recognition as perhaps the greatest rulers. Learn more about Ramses the Great and Hatshepsut.

What Is the Kush Civilization?

6. What Is the Kush Civilization?

While they may not get all the attention of other Egyptian neighbors, such as the Persians or Hittites, the Kush were a major factor in many of Egypt's decisions, both regarding trade and warfare. Learn about the Kush in this lesson.

The Neo-Babylonian & Neo-Assyrian Empires

7. The Neo-Babylonian & Neo-Assyrian Empires

With the arrival of iron, the political landscape of Mesopotamia would change forever. Learn how a metal changed the course of history for the Neo-Assyrians and the Neo-Babylonians in this lesson.

History of the Persian Empire

8. History of the Persian Empire

The Persian Empire has all the great aspects of an amazing story - an unlikely rise to power against an evil king, a ruler who is beloved by his people, and a military that was centuries ahead of its time.

The Growth of the Maurya Empire

9. The Growth of the Maurya Empire

Almost immediately following the collapse of Alexander the Great's empire, the Mauryan Empire stretched from the limits of Alexander's frontiers well into the southernmost parts of India. Learn more about the Mauryan Empire in this lesson.

Early Chinese Civilization in the Huang-He River Valley

10. Early Chinese Civilization in the Huang-He River Valley

Although Chinese civilization developed along rivers much like cultures in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the idea of royal power took a completely different direction. Learn how the Mandate of Heaven ruled all in Ancient China.

The Rise of the Maya Civilization

11. The Rise of the Maya Civilization

In this lesson, you will explore the origins of the great Maya civilization that developed in Central America. Then, you will be able to test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Mesoamerican Civilizations: The Olmecs to Cortes

12. Mesoamerican Civilizations: The Olmecs to Cortes

This lesson focuses on the early cultures of Mesoamerica. The Olmec, Maya, and Aztecs developed great civilizations in Mesoamerica over millennia. Then, after all of this development and the building of a great empire, the Aztec were quickly defeated by Hernando Cortes.

The Ghana Empire in Africa (830-1235 CE)

13. The Ghana Empire in Africa (830-1235 CE)

This lesson explores the Ghana Empire of West Africa. In doing so, it highlights the gold and salt trade of the region, which made the empire wealthy. It also discusses the importance of iron smelting and taxation.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Other Chapters

Other chapters within the ORELA Middle Grades Social Science: Practice & Study Guide course

Support