Making Ancient Civilizations cool. Because Cleopatra was queen of the side-eye. | Mentoring in the Middle

Making Ancient Civilizations cool. Because Cleopatra was queen of the side-eye.

 Ancient civilizations can be fascinating for students if you include projects, timelines, activities, maps, and other cultural projects.  This blog post is a compilation of random resources and projects I have used to make ancient history come alive!

Cleopatra, the original teen queen

My students' fascination with Cleopatra came from just a few books that I had in my classroom library, but once one of them started reading, they passed these few books around.  They found more in the school library, but "Ms. Cleo" was a hot topic for a while!  

  1. Cleopatra Rules: The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen by Vicky Alvear Shecter
  2. Cleopatra VII, Daughter of the Nile, Egypt, 57 B.C. by Kristiana Gregory (part of The Royal Diaries book series)
  3. You Wouldn't Want to Be Cleopatra: An Egyptian Ruler You'd Rather Not Be by Jim Pipe and illustrated by David Antram 

Make a human timeline

I was fascinated to teach about ancient cultures.  Sixth graders don't have a good sense of time, so creating timelines or talking about thousands of years in the past wasn't a concept they easily grasped.

That's one of the reasons I made a human timeline with my students at the beginning of our studies.  They were usually blown away by how much happened in a relatively few years when compared with the evolution of life on this planet.  We usually went out to the fields by our school to do it.  Representing 40,000 years takes a lot of space!  

Research your own history

As we explored some of the dominant ancient cultures, my students would tell me about relatives who still lived in those countries, or that they thought they had a certain ancestry in their background.  Because I was both an ELA and Social Studies teacher, it made sense to combine those two and let students research their backgrounds.

Read related passages

What were the differences between cowboys and Samurai?  Do you study ancient Japan?  Let your students make the connection between the rugged guardians of the Wild West and the noble guardians of their ancient homeland.

A Samurai and a Cowboy

Mary Jenkins, a colleague, friend, and Social Studies teacher, loves ancient history.  She wrote several blog posts about how to use vocabulary and primary source documents in the ancient history classroom.  Take a look!

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