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Ancient Sumerian Activity 1: Tower of Babel
First we read about the Tower of Babel, which has been theorized to be somewhere in the area of Sumeria, and some have even said it’s a forerunner of the Babylonian empire (several thousand years later).
I was going to have them build the tallest tower they could out of various building supplies, but that particular day we ran out of time. So, we moved on to the next lesson: Ziggurats.
Ancient Sumerian Acitivty 2: Zigguerats
After reading about Ziggurats, we got out the Legos and started building with them.
But, I very quickly noticed their building didn’t look like the ziggurat we discussed building. It looked like a fort, with modern fortifications. THAT was not the assignment. So we started over, with me showing them how to build on a smaller scale, one that won’t fit a guy, but fulfills the assignment.
Ancient Sumerian Activity 3: Cuneiform tablets
The next day we learned about their writing style. The Sumerians wrote on clay tablets because they didn’t have paper (not invented yet) or papyrus (wrong area).
The kids were somewhat intrigued by this, and since I’d just bought a giant tub of air dry clay, and the kids hadn’t used it up yet. We dug it out and created our own tablets.
As a side note, we did this same activity several years ago when the boys were in kinder, only that time we did it with cookie dough (which was just about as popular).
Though, being sugar cookies, with the wrong kind of flour used, you can’t really tell what they did.
Ancient Sumerian Activity 4: Epic of Gilgamesh
Our last activity we learned about the epic of Gilgamesh,
I’d recommend watching it first because there’s a few things I’d prefer weren’t in there and the video is removed from youtube, so instead try reading this Epic of Gilgamesh picture book*.
And of course then I remembered there’s a Star Trek Next Generation* episode with Gilgamesh in it, I’d rather forgotten that it was only a few minute reference over halfway into the episode. So we watched that too.
Which led to the usual discussion between Jeff and I if it’s reasonable for an entire language to be made of metaphors.
Final Ancient Sumerian activity: Notebooking what we learned
Then when all of the hands on learning of the Sumerian activities was done, we printed out pictures and wrote briefly about them in their notebooks, with much groaning and rolling of eyes (you know that is torture, right Mommy? I thought we agreed no writing.).
Oh the horrible whining and complaining, but they got it done, unfortunately, being my kids, some of their pages were lost…… The pictures above are a compilation of all three kids’ things.
Looking for more Ancient Sumerian ideas?
Then you need to check out my Mystery of History 1 pinterest board.