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Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary that students will see in their readings or presentations aids in overall comprehension and retention. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary related to the study of Ancient India.

Students will preview the terms and definitions and use whole class or small group discussion to demonstrate their understanding of each meaning. When students define and illustrate each term, they master the application of it and retain it as part of their lexicon.

Vocabulary for Ancient India

ascetic: A person who gives up worldly pleasures.

Brahmanism: An ancient Indian religion in which the Brahmins (priests and religious scholars) are the dominant class.

Caste system: A social order that has determined one's place in ancient Indian society.

Dharma: A key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and others. It means one's spiritual duties or "right way of living" and "path of rightness". It is symbolized by the "Dharma Wheel."

edict: A command that is obeyed like a law. King Ashoka had his edicts carved into walls, rocks and pillars to promote Buddhist values, general welfare, justice and security.

glacier: A huge mass of ice that slowly slides over a land area.

Harappa: India's first civilization located along the Indus River.

Karma: The effect a person's actions have on their soul and their next life.

metallurgy: The art and science of working with metals (metalwork) such as gold, copper and iron which was founded in Ancient India.

Meditation: Focusing one's mind on spiritual ideas.

Mohenjo-Daro: One of the first major settlements in ancient India that became a center of the Indus valley civilization.

Moksha: Achieved when one is released from the cycle of rebirth.

monastery: A home for monks.

monsoon: A strong wind that brings heavy rain to southern Asia in the summer.

mural: A wall painting.

nirvana: An ideal state of happiness and peace.

pilgrimage: A journey to a holy place.

plateau: A flat area of land that is elevated, or raised, above the land around it.

reincarnation: The belief that a person's soul is reborn into a new body after death.

Sanskrit: An ancient language of India.

scroll: A roll of material for writing like paper or papyrus.

sewer system: A network of pipes that disposes of sewage or wastewater. Was developed in Mohenjo-Daro around 2000 BCE.

Subcontinent: A large landmass smaller than a continent especially; a major subdivision of a continent.

Vedas: A collection of Hindu sacred writings.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary relating to Ancient India.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title boxes, identify the key terms you have chosen.
  3. In the description boxes, write the definition of the term.
  4. Create an illustration for each term using appropriate scenes, characters, and items. To find images that relate to Ancient India, type “India” into the search bar.

Requirements: Must have 3 terms, correct definitions, and appropriate illustrations for each that demonstrate your understanding of the words.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Visual Vocabulary Boards

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/3] Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/4] Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/6] Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Define and illustrate each of the key terms.
7 Points
4 Points
1 Points
The vocabulary words are correctly defined.
The meaning of the vocabulary words can be understood but it is somewhat unclear.
The vocabulary word is not clearly defined
The storyboard illustrations clearly depict the meaning of the vocabulary words.
The illustrations relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words but it they are difficult to understand.
The illustrations do not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

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Ancient India

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