Stages in the Progress of Civilization

Stages in the Progress of Civilization

…The Fundamental Needs Chart
…Many booklets: Stages in the progress of civilization each booklet contains pictures and corresponding labels.


Let’s look at one of these booklets – travel on the sea.

(The chart is put away and the booklet presented. The child puts the pictures down in any order.)

“Which boat looks like one that you might ride in today?”
( It is chosen and put to the right of the child)

“Which one do you think was the oldest boat used”
(Then look at the remaining boats and try to place them in the order of first to last trying to reason why. The teacher then presents a three period lesson naming each picture. In the first period, full descriptions are given for each picture, referring to various details in the picture. The child is then given the labels and matches them to the pictures. The child may then read the booklets.)

Age: 6 1/2 – 7 1/2

Vertical and Horizontal Studies of History


Vertical study means to study a specific subject. This is taking one subject: e.g.. shelter and looking at it through time. The purpose for this is to take a subject and look at how humans met their needs with this subject through history. The younger child finds this easier to work with and enjoys the comparison of different aspects of the same thing through time. This lesson is also more impressionistic for the young child, allowing her/him the opportunity to imagine what things were like at different ages. The vertical study is impersonal as it is involved with things.

Horizontal study means to look at one age and compare the fundamental needs of a human during that specific time. This work done after the vertical studies and is especially relevant at the 9-12 level. Each civilization can be looked at specifically, e.g. Roman times for its housing, food, music, art, lighting, etc., etc. This is the child’s first detailed research. The horizontal study is personal as it is involved with people.

A. Vertical Study of History

…Booklets of Stages in the Progress of Civilization
…Time line on which each space is a century with 100 centuries (10,000 years) are represented for B.C.E. in white, 20 centuries for C.E.
in red. Set of labels for each booklet, these with dates indicated on back.


Choose cards which the child can relate to: shelter or lighting. Give the pictures one at a time without regard to order. Give a story with each picture and the name orally.

After you have done this, have the child give you the names.

Ask if she has a picture of her own house or can she draw one. (this involves the child in the project more).

Give the reading labels and have the child place under the appropriate picture.

Repeat for the series in this way with other cards and lessons.

Extensions: A group of children can build shelters through the ages and do research on this.

B. Passage from Vertical to Horizontal


Take the picture cards again. By now, she knows the names and stories. Now give a time sequence to these images.

Order them with the child from left to right – oldest to youngest

Observe with the child that if we connect these, we have a time line of dwellings.

Remove the reading levels and put arrows there. The arrows say the same on the front as the reading labels.

See what is written on the back side. Turn each arrow over. Note that the dates go first by 1000’s, then by 100’s. This ordering will tell us if we have placed the picture cards in accurate order. 3000 BCE, 2000 BCE, 700 BCE, 300 BCE, 9th Century CE, 16th century, 19th century CE, etc.

Through this transition process, the child is entering the understanding of history.

C. Horizontal Study of History

Have a group of children working together:

1. Put down two or more sets of fundamental needs cards.

2. Have the child choose one period of time and ask which part interests him the most.

3. Put a red arrow at this point. Take away all other cards except this period of time.

4. Have group work to go through all of the lamps, dresses, vehicles, heating, transportation, etc. for that one period of time.

5. Now when we look at the horizontal study of 1890, we have a good impression of how humans met their fundamental needs for this period of time.

The deepened study of a particular time’s environment is the horizontal study of history.

Suggested time slots for Vertical/Horizontal Studies

Prehistoric Prior to 4000 BC
Early Civilizations 4000 BC-1000 BC
Greek 1000 BC – 146 BC
Roman 509 BC – 330 AD
Byzantine 330 AD – 800 AD
Middle Ages 800 AD – 1300 AD
Renaissance 1300 AD – 1600 AD
Baroque 1600 – 1700 AD
Classical 1700 – 1800 AD Eighteenth Century
Romantic 1800 – 1900 AD Nineteenth Century
Modern 1900 – 2000 AD Twentieth Century
2000 – Future

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?