Using a G.R.A.P.E.S. Chart to organize information about ancient Civilizations is a useful tool to enhance students' analysis of the characteristics and contributions of a society. Going further and including visuals helps students to better retain the details of each category. Ancient India developed a caste system that is still felt today. In this activity, students will create a social pyramid to illustrate the social structure/caste system of ancient India. They should include the different types of people and professions that fall under each section. Students can come together after they’ve created their storyboards to share what they’ve learned. The full G.R.A.P.E.S. Chart can be used as a post assessment after students have presented.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Objective: Create a Social Pyramid focusing on the different characteristics of the Social Structure or Caste System of ancient India.
Requirements: Label each level of the Social Pyramid of ancient India. Include appropriate scenes or characters to illustrate the cell. 2-3 sentence description to demonstrate your understanding.
Explain the terms "jati" (sub-castes) and "varna system" (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras). Describe caste as a system of social and vocational stratification. Discuss with students the origin of this caste system and the roles and responsibilities of each caste.
Discuss how religion especially Hinduism played a major role in introducing this caste system. Explain to the students how religion had a major say in the lives of people at that time and what other beliefs were present in the civilization during that time.
Discuss with students how the caste system had a major impact on society as well as individuals. Explain to students how people were destined to live life according to the castes they got by birth. Ask the students thought-provoking questions such as why the individuals adhere to this caste system and their thoughts and reviews on this social structure.
Discuss the relevance of this caste system in modern day and society. Ask the students to research if this system is still followed by India today and how the change in beliefs and faiths impacted this social structure. Provide the students with some reading material that discusses the evolution of this system throughout time.
Summarize the conversation by highlighting the significance of appreciating and comprehending the many cultural pasts while striving for a society that is more equal and inclusive. Encourage the students to reflect on the experiences of different individuals who have been a part of this caste system and write a report on how social stratification can impact a society.
Depending on their social standing, each varna was assigned particular obligations. For example, Brahmins were in charge of conducting religious rituals and offering spiritual advice, whilst Kshatriyas were in control of administration and military. According to the higher or lower level of each caste, their responsibilities were also differentiated.
Many facets of daily life, including one's profession, relationships with others, and even marriage, are influenced by the social structure. It had an impact on religious customs as well because every varna had distinct religious obligations.
Many pointed out that the caste system encouraged prejudice, restricted opportunity, and maintained inequity. Its rigidity and lack of flexibility also drew criticism. Nowadays, though the caste system is not as prevalent as before it still exists in modern-day India.