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Guns Germs & Steel Guns Germs & Steel Guns Germs & Steel
For Educators
 
Lesson Plans

Guns, Germs and Steel provides enormous educational scope. These lesson plans are designed to accompany specific episodes in the three-part PBS series.

Each lesson focuses on a specific part of Diamond's theory that the history and the development of some of the world's great civilizations and that power and prosperity is based on geography and available resources in specified areas.

The lessons were designed for students studying World History, geography, economics, current events, and life sciences in grades 6-12.

Episode 1: Geographic Luck
Grade level: 6-12

This lesson explores, in depth, the theory of "geographic luck" outlined in detail in Episode One. Learning the basics about Jared Diamond's theory, students will explore how the location, natural resources, and the native species and climate provided in certain geographic regions led these civilizations to become more profitable, stronger, and more powerful than others around them. From this lesson students will learn about the importance of cultivating specific crops and the domestication of certain animals species and how these two advances led to significant advantages that advanced technology and built significant wealth and power in the world.
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Episode 2: Steel - The Great Conqueror
Grade level: 6-12

The development of steel for use in weaponry provided certain civilizations with a distinct advantage over those they set out to conquer. Episode Two chronicles the success of the Spanish Conquistadors and how the use of steel weapons gave them the advantage they needed to overthrow a much larger Inca army, thus taking control of the land, the people, and their riches. This lesson teaches students about the historical significance of steel weaponry and examines the power and impact that advanced technology and weapons have provided to those who possess them throughout history.
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Episode 3: The Power of Germs
Grade level: 6-12

In Episode Three, students learn about the significant impact germs have had on the world's civilizations. Using this lesson, students will examine the role of germs in the great conquests of the world as well as the economic, social, and technological impact of the spread of germs and disease and how this continues to impact the balance of power in today's world.
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  - For Educators

- Episode 1: Geographic Luck

- Episode 2: Steel – the Great Conqueror

- Episode 3: The Power of Germs




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