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Civilizations and Climate Vulnerability: The Khmer Empire


As a High School or Undergraduate teacher of History or Social Sciences, you can use this set of computer-based tools to teach about civilizations, decline of civilizations or empires, and societal vulnerability to climate-related extreme events.

This lesson plan will help students to learn about Angkor and the Khmer empire—its history, the geographical boundaries, various rulers, the architecture and structures built during the period, culture (including religion and festivities), and possible reasons for the decline and demise of the empire, including climate-related extreme events. The activities will also help students to use 360 degree visualizations while learning about the significance of water and water systems in the life of the Khmer people.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in History or Social Sciences.

Learning Outcome

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  1. Give an account of the establishment, growth, and decline of Angkor and the Khmer empire.
  2. Describe the monuments and structures built during the reign of various Khmer rulers.
  3. Discuss the significance of water and water management systems in the Khmer empire.
  4. Discuss the possible reasons for the downfall of the Khmer empire.
  5. Explain how climate-related extreme events may have contributed to the decline of the Khmer empire.


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