One of the units of study that we cover in 6th grade World Civilizations is ancient Mesopotamia. When teaching ancient civilizations, I strive to bring history to life. With today's technology, there are some amazing tools that we can use to not only make history interactive but also weave in the social studies skills of observation, reasoning, critical thinking, and communicating.
Ancient Mesopotamia Geography
To begin a study of ancient Mesopotamia our students need to understand the physical characteristics of places, and by focusing first on the geography of the region, our students can develop a spatial perspective. Through the use of various maps, satellite images and photographs, video, and informational text we can help explain the relationships between the location of places and their political, cultural, and economic dynamics.
I've created an interactive digital activity that focuses on the geography of ancient Mesopotamia. This activity is set up as a virtual field trip with students traveling to 5 destinations. This activity includes reading to build background information, map skills activities, video content, Google Earth exploration (360-degree views), and response questions.
5 Geographic Location Destinations Include:
:: Black Sea
:: Persian Gulf
:: Tigris-Euphrates River System
:: Mediterranean Sea
:: Zagros Mountains
Ancient Mesopotamia History:
I've combined a slide presentation, interactive notebooks, and drag & drop key terms activities to cover the history of ancient Mesopotamia. I personally like using interactive notebooks because I find my students are more engaged with note-taking and many like to personalize their notebooks. I don't rely entirely on interactive notebooks, because it can be tedious and time-consuming, so I often have students glue in a reference page to their booklet or we take Cornell notes.
With many schools going back remotely, I did some revamping of my interactive notebooks so that they include a digital option too.
Ancient Mesopotamia Ziggurats:
Have you ever considered taking your students up close the the Great Ziggurat of Ur? With today's technology, it is possible for students to explore ancient history up close and personal. Google Earth is an amazing tool that provides 360-degree views! I've put together a virtual tour!
This digital activity includes destinations to:
:: Great Ziggurat of Ur
:: Chogha Zanbil
:: Tepe Sialk
This activity is structured with informational text and response questions included throughout to keep students accountable and engaged. The response questions are editable so that teachers can tailor to better fit their class needs.
Even though school might look a bit different this year, with the growth of technology there are ways we can bring ancient history to life like never before!
You can find all of the materials mentioned in this blog post here: