Ancient India: Back
to the Future
A WebQuest for
Ancient India was a place of
great beauty and mystery, a place that witnessed the birth of two great
world religions, a unique culture that survives to this day, and numerous
scientific and medical advancements. The ancient Indians also lived during
a very uncertain time when unpredictable weather and nomadic invaders forever
changed their way of life, their beliefs, and their future.
Although archeologists have made
important discoveries about this land and people that existed so long ago
(~2500 BCE), much remains to be discovered. What a help it would be if
the people of ancient India had created and stored time capsules for modern-day
researchers to find and examine, time capsules that contained important
artifacts from their religions, their culture, their empires, artifacts
that would reveal what life in ancient India was really like...
You are a member of a team
of researchers that has been transported back in time to ancient India.
Your team's mission is to construct a time capsule containing artifacts
and information to bring back to the future for study. Because the civilizations
of ancient India offer so much to sift through, many teams will go back
on this mission to find, analyze, compare and contrast various items, concepts
and works of art, then decide which to bring back in the limited space
of their time capsule.
At the end of this time-traveling
experience, each group will make a presentation and explain to the class
what they determined to be the most important artifact and information
to bring back.
These final presentations should
be an actual group-constructed time capsule containing an artifact that
members can take out, discuss, and share with the class.
is to build a time capsule
filled with an artifact and the information your team thinks is most important
and most revealing of what life was really like in ancient India. Since
time capsules have limited space, you will focus your efforts on one of
these aspects of ancient Indian civilization:
Tips on organizing your findings:
Make sure to take notes during your group's discussion and reflection regarding
what will go in your time capsule, because what you write down will form
the content of your presentation. Why your group chose what they chose
is all important. Keep your group's notes together in class so that they're
available if one of you is absent.
daily life in Harappa and/or Mohenjodaro
Arts and entertainment in ancient
India (up to around 500 BCE)
the origins, beliefs, and spread of
the origins, beliefs, and spread of
To find out about daily life
visit the following websites, read
about Harappan civilization, examine the various artifacts and read their
descriptions. Based on all that you have seen and read, you and your team
members must determine which artifact should be brought back to the future
in your time capsule. Consider what would best reveal what daily life was
like for the ancient Indians and what seemed most important to them. Be
prepared to detail your reasoning, answer questions about your presentation,
and explain why you didn't choose other items.
Ancient India Daily Life/Medicine websites:
you and your group first need to decide
which religion you want to study:
Hinduism or Buddhism. Next,
go to the following sites and learn all you can about the origins, beliefs
and spread of either Hinduism or Buddhism. Then, for the religion your
team chose, determine the following:
You and your group will have many
choices to make as you go about this project. So, it is expected that you
will have good reasons for choosing the items and information that you
bring back in your time capsule, reasons you will explain during your presentation.
Now, on to your research...and remember: you're expected to also use the
books and reference materials we have in the library in addition to the
What object can you put in your time
capsule that best symbolizes the religion?
Which person or gods most influence(d)
Which work of art best reveals the
What two beliefs make either Hinduism
or Buddhism different from your own religion or different from each
Which one religious document should
be brought back in your time capsule?
What are the two most positive aspects
of the religion?
What is the most surprising thing
you learned about the religion?
You will be graded on your presentation
to the class. That grade will apply to the group, so it's important that
everyone do his or her share and that everyone participates equally. The
following chart shows what is expected in each area of the presentation:
shows minimal planning and research as well as evidence that not all group
members contributed. Practice not evident.
shows some planning and research and that all group members contributed.
Some practice evident.
shows substantial planning and research and that all group members contributed.
Some pride is taken in the work; substantial practice evident.
shows superior planning and research; many members went beyond requirements.
Great pride is taken in the work, evidenced by a near-perfect presentation.
Execution of presentation
show little excitement or interest in the subjects, not all members contribute
a fair share, little valid reasoning is revealed concerning why items/data
were chosen. Little eye contact with audience.
reveal some interest in subjects. All group members contribute something.
Reasoning behind time capsule choices understandable. Some eye contact
reveal honest interest in subjects. All members contribute a fair share.
Reasoning interesting and instructive. Good eye contact with audience.
exceptionally well organized and confidently delivered by all members.
Reasoning behind choices interesting, instructive, and fresh. Group sounds
"expert" on their subjects.
Question and Answer
can't answer audience questions.
can answer some audience questions.
can answer many audience questions.
can answer all audience questions.
Artifact and Information
Few or no items/data
to "show" during presentation, or quality of items is poor.
to show during presentation; quality of items average/good.
of items/data to show during presentation; quality good.
of items/data to show; quality excellent, pride evident; audience "wants
Timeline and due dates:
January 11 – 16: research in textbooks, among
class materials, and at home
January 17 – 21: some limited computer time
in school, “artifact-building” in class
January 22-23: finish artifacts, practice
presentations at home
January 24: presentations due
NOTE: all materials for artifact
design with the exception of paper must be supplied by group members. You
are free to choose what you make, but you are responsible for making that
Through this project you have gained
insight and knowledge about another time, another place, and different
ways of viewing the world. We hope this experience has generated a greater
understanding and appreciation of other cultures, your group members who
helped, and the WebQuest learning experience.
Designed by Russell Tomlin,
John Muir Middle School librarian & Stacy Kaplan JMMS History teacher
Credits & References
Original URL: http://www.california.com/~tomlinr/lesson-template1.htm
Graphics courtesy of Sudheer Birodkar at:
This WebQuest was originally created in
November/December of 2002 using a template available from the Bernie Dodge
WebQuest page (see below). "Ancient India: Back to the Future" was last
updated on December 10, 2002.
Permission is hereby granted to use this
"Ancient India: Back to the Future" WebQuest for educational purposes as
long as its designers are acknowledged.
Any suggestions for how to improve this
WebQuest should be sent to Russell Tomlin, firstname.lastname@example.org.
on August 15, 1999. Based on
a template from The