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Ancient Civilizations

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Here is a collection of activities for teaching various Ancient Civilizations including Egypt, Rome, Greece, China, India, Mesopotamia.
ancient civilizations
Posted by:SUe #76377

I am sure you want to do a lesson that engages the kids so you will have less behavior problems. One activity I loved doing dealt with hieroglyphics from the Egyptians. You can already have hieroglyphic worksheets made up that they have to decode or you can have them make their own messages, and then have them switch with a partner and have them decode each others. When I did this lesson, I discussed how Egyptians communicated, described their system of writing and then showed them some authentic pictures of hieroglyphics, and then let them decode and make their own. They loved it!

Hope this helps!

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museum project
Posted by:CD #37152

Last year was my first year teaching 5th grade after working in primary for 5 years. I was looking for a way to get a lot of learning/info for the students in a small amount of time. The librarian provided mw with books on the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. The kids had a day to look through the assortment and decide what aspect of ancient life they wanted to study.(we had read about the civilizations in our s.s. book prior to this) I allowed them to work in partners and then they created a museum piece for a classroom presentation.

The work they did was terrific and kids took all different aspects of life(housing, art, pottery, weapons, etc) I made sure no one doubled up, so that we didn't end up with 12 clay bowls! The kids wrote a "blurb" to place next to their project(like in...

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Posted by:Melanie from Rhode Island #77363

I taught Greece to 4th graders---Get the video, Ancient Civilizations for Kids: Ancient Greece---it's great.

Also I put the kids in groups and each group was assigned a polis or city--we had the Spartans, Athenians, Corthians, etc. They would do projects and different things to earn points---this led to talking about how competion was HUGE in Greece---I had a handout with over 60 projects they could do with an assign point value--they each had to earn 150 points for their team. Projects ranged from taking pictures in their community of the 3 different columns to making Greek coins out of clay to wearing a "toga" during the school day (which surprisingly the kids LOVED dressing as a Greek for the day)!
Hope that helps!


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Ancient Egypt / Greece
Posted by:Lori 2 #36528

I don't know what grade level you have but here are a few ideas --

Ancient Egypt

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise McGraw
The Golden Goblet by Eloise McGraw
The Egypt Game by Snyder

Ancient Greece

Dateline Troy by Paul Fleischman
Black Ships Befor Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff
The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff

Ancient Rome

Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld

These would be upper elementary/middle school. If you teach younger students I have some good picture books or the Magic Tree House books set in those times are fun. (Mummies in the Morning, Hour of the Oympics, and Vacation under the Volcano) Let me know.


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Greece and Olympics
Posted by:Lori #80943

Mary Pope Osborne's Hour of the Olympics, one of her Magic Tree House books makes a great tie in with some ancient Greek history and mythology. There is also a non-fiction guide to the book that is just right for the primary level. While neither focus's on the Olympics in Athens today, they make a wonderful basis for an Olympic unit that can be reused no matter where the games are held. Also, the children love Magic Tree House books -- they are great read alouds.


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Do Olympics
Posted by:gabanndor #110217

When I taught Ancient Greece, I always had a Greecian Olympics. I put the groups together and gave them information about how that city state would have behaved. They participated in a variety of games (toss paper balls into the trash, javiline-pencil throw). They were awarded medals made from paper. The city state with the most medals won the Olympics. I would suggest that you google it. I used a great site that had Mr. in the title.

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Counting Like Greeks
Posted by:Debbie #25384

I just finished student teaching in a 6th grade class that was studying about ancient Greece. We taught them how to count like Greeks using the Greek number system. We also had them solve many math problems using only Greek numbers. The students seemed to really enjoy it. If you want me to email you a copy of the number system page let me know and I will try to scan it.

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Ancient Rome
Posted by:Jade #73165

My sixth grade teacher divided us into groups and we had to write and perform a skit about life in ancient Rome. We really got into it, right down to researching some of the foods they would have eaten. I was assigned to provide the honey for the play! We even convinced our moms that we needed old bedsheets for togas!

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Posted by:iteach4 #120800

When we studied Ancient Rome, one of the projects we had our students complete was a Mosiac Art picture. They used Fruity Pebbles (the cheap version) and drew a picture of an animal on a piece of cardboard and filled it is as if using real mosiac tiles. They came out very cute. I've also done this project with tiny construction squares.
Have fun! :p

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fertile crescent
Posted by:cathy #85590

Stat with the importance of farming and the need for fertile soil. THen talk about how rivers are important for civilization. The students might not remember fertile crescent or mesopotamia in 10 years but they should remember what is needed to create a civilization. Make this fun and hands on. Oh also the importance of writing. You could have students be scribes and see if they can write down everything that happens in a day. They could tell their parents, the parents have to write it down like scribes then the students bring the stories back and see if they change like oral history. You could have them be archetects of their own Ziggurat. Have fun

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books for the ancient civs.
Posted by:Peggy #18029

I taught 6th grade English & Social Studies a few years ago and here are some books I found helpful.
The story of Gilgamesh for Mesopotamia, "the Egypt Game" by Snyder, "Mummies Made in Egypt" by Aliki, "Pyramids" by MacCauley, Greek Myths by D'Aulaire, Aesop's Fables, "The Midwife's Apprentice" and "Catherine Called Birdy" by oops I forgot! I'll look it and get back to you. Also, "Parzival" and lots of Robin Hood and King Arthur stories. There are lots of good fiction and non-fiction books out there and as I remember them I'll let you know. good luck.

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Posted by:Lori 2 #37179

Here are a few ideas. Some may be too old for your students to read for themselves, however, so take a look at them in a library to see if you can use them.

Picture a Country: Egypt by Henry Pluckrose -- Nice easy photo book format

Ms. Frizzle's Andventures: Ancient Egypt by Joanna Cole -- The teacher of Magic School Bus Fame goes on summer vacation to Ancient Egypt! -- My daughter's current favorite book!

Senefer: A Young Genius in Old Egypt by Beatrice Lumpkin -- picture book

Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki -- neat picture book about mummies -- a reading rainbow book

Look What Came From Egypt by Miles Harvey

The Star-Bearer: A Creation Myth From Ancient Egypt by Dianne Hofmey

Vinnie in Egypt by Elizabeth Bott

The Shipwrecked Sailor: An Egyptian Tale of Heirogyphs by Tamara Bower

I am...

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Ancient India
Posted by:silvercat323 #136026

One of my coworkers did an amazing project for Ancient India. Her class created a model of the Taj Mahal. They did research about India and prepared speeches as if they were tour guides. Then they invited other classes to come in, and her students gave factual tours about Ancient India. She also played Indian music while the tours were going on.

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Ancient China
Posted by:silvercat323 #136027

Here are a couple of activities I did with 3rd graders:

*Each student colored and cut out a portion of the Great Wall, and we displayed them around the room.
*Students chose one of China's inventions--paper, porcelain, the Great Wall, etc and wrote a speech persuading the class why that was the most important invention. Then I allowed students to have a friendly debate with each other.
*We read Mrs. Frizzle's Adventures in Imperial China and kept a T-chart of fact and fiction from the book.

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