Jun 18, 2015

Ancient History: Fertile Crescent, Mesopotamia, Nomads, Sumaria, Hammurabi, and Abraham

This is our third topic of Ancient History and, as you can probably tell from the title, it covered a lot of different things. The first two topics can be found at


Noah and the Ice Age

We read:

The appropriate Mystery of History chapters

The appropriate chapters of Genesis (that dealt with after the Tower of Babel and Abraham)

Adam and His Kin

and not much else... there isn't a lot that is appropriate for children concerning this time period. I summarized some of the different books that I read, let the kids watch  the Star Trek retelling of the story of Gilgamesh, which they loved since we they are science fiction fans, and left it at that.

We did:

One of their favorite activities was trying their hand at cuneiform. I printed off some cuneiform letters and cuneiform numbers, passed out some kinetic sand from Brookstone (because we were out of playdough and I was too lazy to make more), craft sticks and toothpicks, and let them have at it. Playdough would have been better though, because the sand, while super-cool, was a little too soft and yielding to use as clay tablets. It was hard for the kids to write on.

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 I also had them write some cuneiform in their notebooks so they had something to keep.

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We discussed Hammurabi and his code. We read a lot of this site: You Be the Judge of Hammurabi's Code. We filled out this Laws worksheet (which I found here), which they folded up and put in an envelope. Then they glued the envelope into their notebooks. We spent a lot of time talking about laws and rules and why they are necessary. We read some of Hammurabi's laws and the kids debated if they were fair or not. I was intrigued to find that the Puritan method of determining the guilt/innocence of a witch was actually derived from Hammurabi's code. The kids were aghast at how un-logical this method is. :)

I printed out these animal tracks, cut up the sheets and had them figure out which track was from which animal. Then they glued them into books. While they worked, we talked about nomads, how they lived, and why it was important for them to be able to "read" a track. Then they narrated what they learned while I scribed it into their books.

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 I let them pretend to be a nomad tribe, build a tent, gather food, hunt, track animals, observe nature, and travel as Abraham would have done.

We played the royal game of Ur. Well, sort of. I printed out the game board that she made, but I was not about to attempt the struggle of making triangular dice. So we used regular dice and paper clips to play a slightly tweaked version of the game. Other than the pieces, we stuck to the basic rules and the kids had a lot of fun playing the "oldest game in the world"!

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 I printed out some pages from this Mesopotamia lapbook and they cut them up and glued them into their notebooks while we discussed the information.

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We used Story of the World and Mystery of History mapping exercises to label these maps.

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What I wanted to do but we didn't get to:

make a ziggurat with Lego, but they did make one on Minecraft
cave painting check this out

Next up, the Egyptians!

Find links to all my ancient history posts at the
Ancient History landing page

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