People and Places
Flood plains and river systems: The case of the Irrawaddy and the Kingdom of Bagan
This lesson examines how rice agriculture becomes central to the development of communities in lowland Southeast Asia. It uses the case of the Kingdom of Bagan, in the dry plains of nowadays Myanmar, as an example The lesson highlights the relationship religion and agriculture.
|Subject||History / Social Studies|
|Topic||Irrawaddy Flood Plains: The Kingdom of Bagan|
|Key idea||Across time, people respond to the varied natural environment of a region in multiple ways that shape their
worldviews and ways of life.
|Key concepts||Environment, highlands, lowlands, coastlands
People, worldviews, way of life
Commonalities and diversities
|No. of periods / lessons||1 period (1 period is approximately 50 minutes)|
|Facilities needed||Sources and handouts for distribution|
|Prerequisite Knowledge||No prerequisite knowledge required|
By the end of the lesson, the students will be able to:
Download the lesson plan for details on the talks and activities suggested below.
1. Introduction to topic
Comparing photographs of various lowland areas in Southeast Asia, students discuss the commonalities and diversities among these communities.
2. Group work: Map analysis
Students compare borders on a map of early Southeast Asia (9th to 14th centuries) and a contemporary map and discuss why early kingdoms developed in lowland near water bodies.
3. Teacher talk about the Kingdom of Bagan
The lecture presents how Bagan emerged as a powerful kingdom thanks to its position near the Irrawaddy rive and its capacity to develop rice farming.
Students observe pictures of ancient irrigation canals and discuss how water technology allowed farmland to expand.
5. Group work: Source analysis
Students analyze 2 inscriptions and reflect on the ancient rulers’ responsibilities related to agriculture.
The teacher summarizes the main points of the lesson and students reflect on their learning by filling in a handout.