As we’ve been going through our ancient history lessons I’ve been looking for opportunities to use Legos and Minecraft. They are both things my kids enjoy, so when we reached the Hanging Gardens of Babylon I knew they needed to be built.
I sent the kids upstairs to find as many plant Legos as we could track down, which with a bit of help they scavenged up quite a bit.
Then we grabbed my laptop and looked up as many pictures of the Hanging Gardens for inspiration as I could find. Princess was quite intrigued by the structures and all the flowers.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon with Legos
After a lot of discussion we set to work building.
Their first construction was a lot like many of their other constructions. A giant walled fortress with a lot of soldiers. I rejected the stormtrooper laden edifice and required they go back and try that one again. This time I reminded them of why it was built because the King’s wife missed the gardens she’d seen at home.
I also reminded them of what the samples we found looked like. And they got to work again. Eventually with much reminding by me we are not trying to create a giant battle ground. Seriously they were going to put in 50 or so stormtroopers. I may exaggerate slightly because I don’t think we really have 50 of them.
Eventually we compromised, they were allowed to have some in there as guards for the queen. But in the end it was closer to what I was thinking. I had to practically tie my hands behind my back not to interfere with their greater “vision.”
Hanging Gardens of Babylon with Minecraft
After we’d put the Legos away and the kids were ready for the next phase I challenged them to create a garden in Minecraft on a similar scale. They need to think through how they will get water to the plants and design a working system to see all of the plants.
They really enjoyed this and spent a couple of hours designing just the right building structures, and quite a beautiful garden. They were quite proud of themselves with it.
Finally we ended our lesson with making our own drawings of it, and creating a version of the Ishtar Gate which Babylon was famous for. They were quite intrigued to discover you could see it in a museum now, NOT the British Museum like so many others, and there’s now a complete replica of it built. I found the coolest paper replica you could buy, but it was 30 pounds, and would have to be mailed from Britain…… Not quite practical for a lesson that day.
Some other Hanging Gardens of Babylon lessons
Archimedes Screw and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon– I wanted to do this, but didn’t have the supplies/patience for it
Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Pulley System– A great “how to solve the problem” lesson as the kids figured out how to water the plants using simple machines. I love the combination of history and science
I’m linking over to History and Geography linkie, and hopefully tonight Jeff can help me figure out what happened to my computer that I can’t use Livewriter AND my snip-it program. Sigh, poor me, it’s so sad it’s not working. Witness my great pity party.