We recently stopped using Story of the World as our curriculum spine. So I took some time out and searched for another spine. The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History is a great factual reference book that’s really easy for kids to read and learn from. It’s also really entertaining for adults because of the way its laid out. Of course I had to create a curriculum based on it and post all the links I could find!
The Encyclopedia and Curriculum Spine
The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History has four sections. We’re going to start year 1 in this post with the Ancient World, which is the second section in the encyclopedia. We are going to dip into the first section, Prehistory, for just a little bit to give an introduction.
I’ve tried to fit in all the parts that seem important to know about. Remember that when you do this year again, you can expand on concepts and do different activities. We’re doing the first grade year right now, so it’s more important to get an introduction to the different cultures and time periods than to learn about every detail. This year is meant to be repeated in 5th grade and then again in 9th grade, but expanded and with added complexity.
How To Use This List & Book
Much like my Ultimate List of SOTW Activities, this compilation is a giant list of activities, readings and printables that correlate to each section of the Usborne Encyclopedia. In general, each section has a whole bunch of one or two page spreads detailing a topic chronologically throughout history. I’ve taken these spreads and divided them into a 36 week curriculum. For the most part, this works for us. Occasionally we run into a concept or time period that takes us longer- and in that case, we’ll just spend as much time as we like on a topic. For the most part though, this system seems to allot the right amount of time to each section. Feel free to do whatever you need to make it work for you.
Here’s the way we use the list and book:
- borrow books from the library on this week’s topic
- look ahead and print out anything that’s necessary
- make sure links are still working for interactives!
- read a two page spread from the book
- write a notebooking page about what was learned
- locate the area on a map. Connect to a world map and compare to your location
- do a related online interactive, art or craft activity
- read some living story books
- read a related article or reading, possibly on a related concept – or read another spread if there are two this week
- write a notebooking page about what was learned
- mark the spot in history on your timeline
- do a related activity to Wednesday’s reading
- read some more living story books
Free. It’s All Free
The thing is, the internet is an amazing resource and there is soooo much out there. I didn’t even come close to exhausting resources. And yes, they are all free because knowledge should be free!
Resources for All Year
ONLINE LINKS: So the other cool thing about this encyclopedia, is that for a lot of the spreads, there is a linked website that the kiddo can go check out. You can find all the sites listed here on the Usborne website.
TIMELINE OPTIONS: To do a chronological history, you might want to have a timeline. There are many types. Some, like this one from Guest Hollow go in a binder.
This page has a wall timeline that you print out and have a long skinny line that can go around a room or just in rows on a wall.
Another type of timeline is this accordian folded timeline. You can fold it into a binder or you can hang it on the wall.
That same site from above has this crazy whole wall timeline made from wood slats. Having that much space would be awesome!
TIMELINE CARDS: Toward the bottom of this page find a link to some timeline cards. I printed them out half size to fit on our timeline.
TIMELINE CARDS & MORE: Hannah’s Homeschool Helps is a fantastic yahoo group that has tons and tons of resources, specifically for Story of the World, but can totally be used for this also. There are timeline cards too.
Week 1: History & Archaeology
CONCEPTS: what is history? maps, archaeology,
SORTING: explore how different items have changed over time with these printable cards showing a telephone, cars and people
WRITING: Make a family timeline
WRITING: Make a personal pull out timeline.
POETRY: Here are a bunch of poems about the continents
ART: Read a selection from Motel of the Mysteries (the best pages to read IMO are 22-33 and then starting on page 52, it goes through the treasures that were found). Have your child draw a common everyday object and come up with an incorrect interpretation of it. Alternative- offer a selection of photos of everyday items to choose from. Think- stapler, tape dispenser, drinking glass, ruler, blinds, silverware, etc… If they think a television is a way to communicate with the gods, then what would they think of a computer?
LAPBOOKS: Geography lapbooks and printables
MINI BOOK: Download this PDF about archeology.
SOCIAL STUDIES: once you’ve found your artifacts, put a pot back together to explore how archaeologists do it!
LOOK: Do a google image search for “archaeology dig” or “archaeology excavation” to see examples of digs. Of course if there was a dig near you, go see it if you can.
SCIENCE: Do an archaeology dig to find artifacts.
SCIENCE: Are you in an area where you can go look for arrowheads? The best time is in the spring near the rivers after the winter flooding has receded. Also, newly plowed fields can be good places to look if you know some have been found there before.
MAPWORK: Peel an orange or a tangerine to show how maps aren’t true depictions of the globe
MAPWORK: This is a pretty cool map maker
MAPWORK: Use Google to locate as many current archaeological digs as you can and mark them on a world map.
LESSON PLAN: Layer Cake Archaeology (grades k-2)
LESSON PLAN: What Will Survive? – PDF Download (grades 6-10)
LESSON PLAN: Trash Talks – PDF Download (grade 5-12)
VIDEOS: What is Archaeology?
COMPUTER GAME: Play Dig It Up where you may dig up an ancient Roman town
Week 2: The Earliest People
CONCEPTS – Nomads, Cave Dwellers, Cave Art
READ: pages 92-99 in the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History(EWH)
READ ONLINE: Learn more about Hunting and Gathering
LANGUAGE ARTS: Here’s a word search using vocabulary related to The Earliest People
LAPBOOK: Learn about animal tracks that the early nomads would have followed with this lapbook.
MINI BOOK: Download this PDF lapbook on Stone Age Peoples
NATURE STUDY / ART: Venture into a deep dark cave and make art by firelight, just like cavemen would have.
SCIENCE: Locate a cave and go spelunking!
SCIENCE: Take a nature walk to observe and gather a large river rock, berries, twigs, leaves, flower petals and maybe even some mud for a cave painting later in the week. Observe nature by pretending to be a nomad. How could you use the natural items you find on your walk? Where would you make your camp?
ART: Take this virtual tour of a cave in France, with cave paintings. Click explore to look closer, then click back to tour to continue. What do you see? Who do you think made those paintings? With what materials? More articles with photos – Pictures of Cave Paintings in France, cave painting of hands, located in Argentina, Cave painting of a hunt, cave painting of an ox. Here is another lesson on cave art.
ART: Paint like a cave man on a brown sheet of paper and distress the paper to replicate a cave wall
ART: Here’s another fun way to display what you’re learning about cave art.
ART: Locate a large river rock. Make a “cave painting” on your rock with the berries and mud and nature things you found earlier this week. Think about what the ancient peoples would have seen around them and depict that on your rock. If you like, get out tempera paints and paintbrushes to paint more rocks.
ART: Make BIG cave art! Use large sheets of brown paper or open up a grocery bag and crumple it up to make the designs on.
NETFLIX INSTANT VIDEOS: Walking with Beasts, Walking with Cavemen, Quest for Fire
INTERACTIVE: Learn about stone age tools
Week 3: The First Farmers –
CONCEPTS: Fertile Crescent,
READ: page 108 EWH
READ ONLINE: learn about the first farmers
READ ONLINE: Learn some more about the Fertile Crescent. Why is it called the Fertile Crescent?
READ ONLINE: Learn more about the first villages. Why do you think people came together to live in villages?
Week 4: The First Civilization – 5000-2000bc
CONCEPTS: Sumer, Mesopotamia, city-states, Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Sargon of Akkad, Ur,
READ: The First Civilization- pg 109-111 EWH, Crafts and Trade -pg 112 EWH, Kings and War -pg 112 EWH
MAPWORK: Print out a map of the Middle East. Shade in the Fertile Crescent. Color the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Mark the cities that you learn about this week.
NETFLIX STREAMING: Ancient Mesopotamia
GEOGRAPHY: Understanding Geography’s Effect on Settlement in the Three Regions (7th grade)
VIDEO: The Legend of Sargon
INTERACTIVE: Play The Royal Game of UR online.
DRAMA: “Recreate the story of King Sargon, the first Sumerian dictator with a painted roll of butcher paper, a basket and some dolls.
SCIENCE: Explore the Royal Tombs of Ur
SOCIAL STUDIES: Read about the Royal Game of UR.
MAKE: create your own game board from foamcore or cardboard. use clay for the dice. play the game!
VIDEO: Watch this video of Captain Picard relating the Epic of Gilgamesh
VIDEOS: The Epic of Gilgamesh
VIDEO: Here’s a version told to music
WRITING: Write your own fairy tales.
WRITING: Write a different ending to the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Week 5: The First Writing – 3200bc
SOCIAL STUDIES (& MATH?): Read about Cuneiform and see some examples of tablets. Cut a slab of terra cotta clay and use a stick? to write on it. Use a cunieform alphabet or whatever you would like. Maybe do some math using Cuneiform numerals.
VIDEOS: Written Word and others
INTERACTIVE: See some examples of ancient Papyrus
INTERACTIVE: Translate these Hieroglyphics to see what the story says.
INTERACTIVE: Learn more about the Rosetta Stone.
MAKE: Create your own papyrus.
READ: Read about the Rosetta Stone. Here’s a little more in depth. Why is it important? Place a date on your timeline for when it was created and for when it was discovered. You can do mapwork showing where it was discovered.
WRITING: Here’s another reading about the Rosetta Stone with examples of what each of the scripts on it look like. Use this lesson plan to create your own Rosetta stone. If you’re tired of using clay, you could just draw it all on neutral colored paper.
Week 6: Farmers of the Nile Valley – 5000-1700bc
CONCEPTS: Shaduf, sickles, canals, Nile Valley, crops, animals, simple machines, husbandry
READ: pg 114 EWH
MAPWORK: Here’s a map of Ancient Egypt with space for writing in names of cities, rivers, etc…
MAPWORK: Mapping the Physiographic Features of Egypt and the Near East (7th grade)
SCIENCE: Make a Nile River model with dirt, rocks, grass and more in a big pan. Flood it often.
COOKING: Bake Egyptian Flatbread (scroll down for recipe)
LANGUAGE ARTS: Here is a word search using vocabulary related to the Egyptians living on the Nile.
LANGUAGE ARTS: Complete some fun Egyptian themed mad libs
LANGUAGE ARTS: Ancient Egypt Children’s Book Project (7th grade)
ART: Learn more about ancient Egyptian art with this lesson plan
MAKE: create a diorama and reed boats of the Nile River
MAKE: Download (PDF) a figure of King Narmer to put together.
VIDEOS: The First Pharoahs and others
GAME: print out and play this Ancient Egyptian game Mehen or the Snake Game
LESSON PLAN: The Nile River Project (7th grade)
Week 7: Mummies and Pyramids – 3100 – 1700bc
READ: Mummies and Pyramids -pg 114 EWH
LIVING BOOKS: Hieroglyphs,
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret,
The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt,
Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House, No. 3),
Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt,
Mummies Made in Egypt (Reading Rainbow Books),
100 Things You Should Know About Mummies
LAPBOOK: Ancient Egypt Lapbook – this covers all of Ancient Egypt- you might want to print it out and use each piece as you get to the appropriate chapter.
MATH: Build a pyramid. Maybe from sugar cubes, legos? We have this kit that I found at a thrift store and have been hoarding until this chapter.
MAPWORK / COOKING: Make a cookie map of Egypt.
MATH: print out and put together this scale model of the pyramid at Giza and then use the info on this page to compare the actual heights of things to see how big it is!
UNIT STUDY: Check out this great unit study on Ancient Egypt
LAPBOOK: Here’s a lapbook that folds up into a pyramid!
NETFLIX INSTANT: Egyptian Secrets of the Afterlife, Egypt: Engineering an Empire, Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs: IMAX
VIDEO: Learn how the pyramids may have been made with this video.
VIDEO: listen to this song about making mummies from a Horrible Histories episode
VIDEOS: Ancient Egypt and others
INTERACTIVE: Play Mummy Maker and learn about how mummies were made as you assist the Chief Embalmer
INTERACTIVE: I read it in the book of the dead – website to learn more and to make a mummy
INTERACTIVE: Explore an Egyptian Tomb with this activity
SCIENCE: For older kids, do an apple mummification experiment- Make an apple doll head (just steps 1-3) with 4 apples mummify one apple put one in dirt, put one in sand and leave one out in the air. Check on it each week or every other day and report what it looks like, how much does it weigh, replace the salt, sand or whatever was around it and keep going
MAKE: Paint wooden or cardboard boxes to create sarcophagi.
MAKE: make life-size sarcophagi by tracing your body on some butcher paper!
MAKE: Create some canopic jars
INTERACTIVE: tour a tomb with this game called Tomb of the Unknown Mummy
ART: Read about carvings done in a similar style to the paintings your read about earlier. Create a carving on a styrofoam meat tray (print it?) Go to the library and make rubbings of the pretty furniture outside the kid’s section. If your tablet is dry, make rubbings from it.
Week 8: Cities of the Indus Valley – 2500 – 1500bc
ART: Read about Rangoli Designs from India create a rangoli with colored sand- on paper with glue for a permanent one or on a plate or tabletop.
ART: indus valley art and carve seals in a chunk of balsa wood or in a piece of styrofoam.
MAKE: Read about toys and games. Use terra cotta clay to make toys like described in the text?
MAKE: Make the lost city of Mohenjo-Daro with clay bricks (from terra cotta clay) look at pictures read about it here
GAME: play Parcheesi, which is very similar to the game Pacheesi, an ancient game in India
VIDEO: Indus Valley History
INTERACTIVE: play an Indus Valley trading game
WRITING: Write a newspaper about the Indus Valley
LESSON PLAN: Unlocking the Secrets of Mohenjo-Daro (7th grade)
Week 9: Europe’s First Villages – 6000-1500bc
READ: pg 120 EWH and pg 122 EWH
READ ONLINE: Learn about ancient Celtic religions. Learn about some Celtic holidays. Do any of them resemble holidays that you celebrate today? How?
WRITE: Download (PDF) this notebooking page about Stonehenge. What other great monument was built around the same time as Stonehenge? (Hint: It’s the pyramids at Giza).
VIDEO: Learn about Stonehenge
MAKE: Make a lego Stonehenge
Week 10: Early Crete – 2500 – 1450bc
CONCEPTS: Minoans, Minos, Knossos, minotaur, island of crete
READ: Palaces and Legends pg 124 EWH, Life on Crete – pg 126 EWH
LAPBOOK: Lapbook on Volcanos
VIDEO: Atlantis, Cyprus and more
INTERACTIVE: Read about Theseus and the Minotaur, now do some mazes- here is a very simple one to do online, here is a harder one to do online, this one is a harder maze race to play online. print out some mazes from this site and do them. another reading about Daedalus and the Labyrinth
ART: Create frescos – these were done in a plastic lid- is it plausible to make them bigger? On a wall? Outside, maybe on the fence? We’ll need some plaster. Here is a fresco gallery to look at first.
MOVIES: Labyrinth, Ulysses
LESSON PLAN: Crete and Mycenae: Identifying the Roots of Greek Civilization (7th grade)
Week 11: The Myceneans – 1600 – 1200bc
CONCEPTS: troy, trojan war, epic tale, mycenaenas
READ: Palaces and Tombs -pg 128 EWH, Warriors and Traders pg 130 EWH
LESSON PLAN: Crete and Mycenae: Identifying the Roots of Greek Civilization (7th grade)
VIDEO: Early Greeks and more
VIDEO / MAKE: Watch a video about the Mycenaeans and then make a mask of Agamemnon
LISTEN: Listen to a story about The Homecoming of Odysseus – find more parts of the Odyssey on that site also.
READ: read about the Trojan Horse. Build a horse with room inside?
LESSON PLAN: The Odyssey Assignment (7th grade)
Week 12: Hammurabi – 2000 – 1200bc
READ: The Empire of Hammurabi -pg 132 EWH, The Hittite Empire -pg 133 EWH
WRITING: Make Your Own Family Law Stele, like the Code of Hammurabi, using butcher paper and markers. OR write with metallic markers on black foam core.
VIDEOS: Hammurabi’s Code of Laws
LESSON PLAN: Here is a lesson plan for 7th grade with a video, reading and questions
ART HISTORY: Learn about Mesopotamian art
Week 13: The Egyptians – 1700 – 1100bc
READ: The Egyptian Empire – pg 134
WRITE: Notebooking pages – various styles and images about Ancient Egypt
MAPWORK: Download and complete this layered map of the various kingdoms of Egypt.
INTERACTIVE: Learn about the Ancient Punt ship and Pharoah Hatshepsut’s fabled trip to Punt
INTERACTIVE: Learn more about Egypt with this cool site. – includes a word search, jigsaw, timeline and more!
INTERACTIVE: Hatshepsut’s Revenge – Play this choose your own adventure story about a Mystery in king Tut’s palace
INTERACTIVE: Learn more and see photos of King Tut’s tomb
VIDEO: King Tut Exhibit Video
VIDEO: A Privileged Life and more
INTERACTIVE: Take a tour of Ancient Egypt with 360 degree views!
INTERACTIVE: Read more about Ancient Egypt
INTERACTIVE: just for fun, drag the people and animals around the pyramids in this online game
VIDEO: The Middle Kingdom
ART: Read about the Sphinx and then sculpt your own sphinx. Why would the sphinx be covered with sand?
ART: Read about Amarna Art and how Amenhotep wanted depictions of himself to be more personal.
ART: Draw King Tut
Week 14: The Egyptians – Religion & Home Life – 1700 – 30bc
READ: Temples and Gods -pg 136, Life At Home – pg 138
WRITE: Here are a bunch of notebooking pages about Egyptian deities.
LESSON PLAN: Sounds of the Past: Identifying Instruments in Modern Egyptian Music (7th grade)
ART: Create Egyptian style jewelry by making rolled paper beads and stringing them.
MAKE: Create “gold” bracelets from toilet paper rolls and gold paint.
LAPBOOK: Make a lapbook about ancient Egypt
LESSON PLAN: Creating Illustrated Journals About Ancient Egyptian Daily Life for 7th grade
GAME: Learn about the game Senet. Make your own gameboard and sticks and play! You can also play online at this link.
READ ONLINE: Learn about how the Egyptians stopped using pyramids.
READ ONLINE: Read about the role of women in Ancient Egypt
READ ONLINE: Read about daily life in Ancient Egypt
LITERATURE STUDIES: Possibly for older kids. The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor is an epic poem. Here is a lesson plan about epic poetry.
LITERATURE STUDIES: Read about the epic hero cycle. What are some other epic stories? Modern and older. Read and/or watch some: Princess Bride, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Epic of Giglamesh, The Odyessy, The Iliad, Wizard of Oz. Here’s a PDF worksheet about the epic hero cycle. How does the Shipwrecked Sailor fit? What about the other epic stories you’ve read?
Week 15: Canaan and the Sea People – 1600 – 1100bc
READ: The People of Canaan -pg 140 EWH, Raiders of the Mediteranean -pg 141 EWH
Week 16: The Hebrew Kingdoms and the Phoenicians – 1250-150bc
READ: The Hebrew Kingdoms -pg 142 EWH, Traders from Phoenicia -pg 144 EWH
LESSON PLAN: The Modern Synagogue: A Reflection of Jewish Traditions (8th grade)
LESSON PLAN: Origins of Judaism: The History of the Ancient Israelites (7th grade)
LESSON PLAN: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Project – Understanding the Past to Understand the Present (7th grade)
CRAFT / DRAMA: Create a Phoenician styled ship and play a trading game
VIDEO: Phoenician Trading and others
MAKE: Dye some pasta with purple and make a necklace.
MAKE: Dye some yarn with purple dye (use grape juice or blueberries) and fingerknit with it.
UNIT: The Phoenicians and the Beginnings of the Alphabet. Here is an interactive Phoenician alphabet.
WRITING: Use this Phoenician alphabet to write your name. Remember that Phoenicians wrote from right to left! And they didn’t use vowels.
WRITING: The Phoenician alphabet did not include vowels. Write a letter without using vowels. Can the recipient understand what you wrote?
MATH: Use this number chart and do some math!
Week 17: The Assyrians and Babylon – 1000-600b
READ: The Assyrians at War – pg 146 EWH, The Assyrians at Home -pg 148 EWH, The City of Babylon -pg 150 EWH
VIDEOS: Babylon & Assyria and more
MATH: Build an Assyrian siege machine from legos
ART: Look at this example Assyrian art. Design your own creature that incorporates various animal and human features.
ART: Learn about the Assyrian Bird Headed Deity with these lesson plans – Combining Human and Animal Forms, Deities & Superheroes, How to Decorate a Palace, So, What are you Trying to Say?, Tales of Superheroes, What We Value
INTERACTIVE: Build a Ziggurat
ART: Learn about the Assyrian Bird Headed Deity with these lesson plans – Combining Human and Animal Forms, Deities & Superheroes, How to Decorate a Palace, So, What are you Trying to Say?, Tales of Superheroes, What We Value
Week 18: Ancient Greece – Daily Life – 1100-350bc
CONCEPTS: olympic games, houses, theater, art, gods and goddesses, school, crafts, music, clothing, mapwork of greece, Salamis, Persians, marathon, hoplite, phalanx
READ: Life in Ancient Greece -pg 156 EWH
MAPWORK: Print out a map of the Mediterranean region. Identify Greece on the map. Locate Greece and Europe on your world map. We pin the printed map on the wall and use a piece of yarn taped to it and to the country’s spot on the world map.
UNIT: Check out this whole unit on Ancient Greece, including pages for vocab, lapbook printables, geography, daily life and much much more!
LAPBOOK: ancient greek lapbook
VOCABULARY: Visit this page and scroll down to the vocabulary minibook. Download, print and fill out.
SOCIAL STUDIES: Tracing the Development of Democracy in Ancient Greece (7th grade)
The Olympic Games
LIVING BOOKS: G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet
Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House #16)
Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #10: Ancient Greece and the Olympics
The Winter Olympics
Freeze Frame: A Photographic History of the Winter Olympics
LIVING BOOKS ON INDIVIDUAL OLYMPIC SPORTS:
Alpine and Freestyle Skiing
Biathlon, Cross-Country, Ski Jumping, and Nordic Combined
Ice Hockey and Curling
Bobsleigh, Luge, and Skeleton
READ ONLINE: Read a little about the ancient Olympics, including a humorous look at what it might have been like to come from 5 of the ancient Greek city-states.
READ ONLINE: Here’s a history of the ancient Olympics to read.
INTERACTIVE: Learn about The Olympic Games– look at some art depicting the games, check out the fun facts, and play a little interactive game about the Olympics.
LANGUAGE ARTS: Create a brochure or program for the ancient Olympic Games. Include a timetable and description of the events. Include some advertisers- what sort of companies would want to advertise for the ancient Olympics?
CRAFT: Learn about and then make a laurel wreath crown to wear.
CRAFT: Learn about the Olympic Rings and then make a painting with toilet paper rolls to represent the Olympic flag. You can make this more of an art thing by encouraging creating all sorts of other patterns with the paint circles.
WORKSHEETS: Here’s a complete printable unit on the Winter Olympics.
How The Greeks Lived
INTERACTIVE: read about Greek Home life
INTERACTIVE: growing up in Greece
INTERACTIVE: look at a typical Greek house.
INTERACTIVE: Learn about daily life in Greece
READ ONLINE: Learn a lot of information about Ancient Greece
READ ONLINE: Ancient Greece For Kids
ART: Read about Ancient Greece Archaic Period Art What can you make?
Week 19: Ancient Greece – Religion, Art and Literature
INTERACTIVE: Learn about some Greek Gods and Goddesses
Pave the way for learning about Greek Mythology with Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief. There’s also a boxed set.
Read from The Book of Goddesses – about these goddesses: Athena and Maia
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, Tales of ancient Greece
MOVIES: I highly recommend Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to get interested in Greek Mythology.
WRITE: A bunch of notebooking pages about Greek gods and goddesses.
READ ONLINE: Read a Greek creation story and then read some more about gods and goddesses.
READ ONLINE: Read some stories of Greek Heroes
READ ONLINE: Read Hercules and the Wagoner (pg52) in The Children’s Book of Virtues. What virtue does this story teach us about?
READ ONLINE: Greek Myths, written for kids
READ ONLINE: Read the Story of Dionysis and The Sword of Damocles from Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin on Project Gutenberg
INTERACTIVE: Greek Gods and Heroes
INTERACTIVE: Learn more about what makes a myth and then write one of your own with this online game
LESSON PLAN: This is a good lesson plan and starting point for teaching about Persephone and Hades.
VIDEO: Here’s a great cartoon version of the story of Persephone and Hades.
OTHER VIDEOS: Jim Henson’s the Story Teller: Greek Myths – these are awesome stories acted out!!
ART / RELIGIOUS STUDIES: Make a mobile showing the family tree of the Greek gods and goddesses.
WRITING: Ancient Greece Notebooking Pages
Greek Arts, Handicrafts & Drama
INTERACTIVE: read about Greek arts and theatre
ART: Learn about Greek art with this complete lesson plan
ART: Make a papier mache Grecian urn. This is a great technique to make some very realistic looking urns!
ART: Make Greek Masks (put on a Greek play?)
INTERACTIVE: Check out this interactive site on Ancient Greek Drama
INTERACTIVE: Watch and Read some of Aesop’s fables online.
INTERACTIVE: Play this Hare and Tortoise game online
READ ONLINE: Read about Aesop and one of his tales
LANGUAGE ARTS: After reading some of the fables, use this chart (PDF download) to write about what you’ve read.
LANGUAGE ARTS: What are the characteristics of a fable? Write your own fable.
INTERACTIVE: Learn about the Ancient and Current Greek Alphabet.
WRITING: Write your name in Greek letters following this alphabet chart.
Week 20: Ancient Greece- Athens vs. Sparta – 500-350bc
READ: The City of Athens- pg 158 EWH, The Greeks at War – pg 154 EWH
READ ONLINE: Read about the Greek city-states. Which were the 5 most powerful? Why?
COMPARE & CONTRAST: Learn about Athens and then Learn about Sparta
How were they similar? How were they different? Use a compare and contrast notebooking page to write out the differences between Sparta and Athens
INTERACTIVE: Learn a lot about Athens
INTERACTIVE: Learn about Sparta with this interactive
WRITE: Various Notebooking Pages to download – themes of Hoplites, Acropolis, Greek Chariot, Medusa, Apollo, Greek Masks, and also some Greek coins to download
MAPWORK: Print out a map of the Mediterranean region. Mark Sparta, Athens and other important city-states on the map.
INTERACTIVE: Play this Adventures in Ancient Greece game
MATH / SCIENCE: Roll up a sheet of paper and secure with tape. Balance a book on top of the column. Will it hold the book? Add another book. Add another. How many books will the column hold? Make 4 columns and see how many books 4 (one in each corner) will hold.
ART / MATH: Create columns from paper tubes
COMPARE & CONTRAST: Pericles (Pages 119-128) in Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children. Read about the real Pericles. How are the stories different? Similar? Why might Shakespeare, from the 1600s have written about Pericles from so long ago?
VIDEO: Learn about the Parthenon
SOCIAL STUDIES: What sort of activity could be done about the politics in Athens- learn about democracy, do some voting…
VIDEOS: Sparta and Athens were very different cities. See the videos here to see what each city focused on
LESSON PLAN: Touring Athens During the Golden Age (7th grade)
LESSON PLAN: Greek Against Greek: Athens vs. Sparta (7th grade)
INTERACTIVE: The Greeks At War interactive activities
REPRESENTATIONAL: Make a Greek Shield
READ ONLINE: About The Brave Three Hundred in Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin on Project Gutenberg
Week 21: Ancient Greece- Alexander The Great – 350-150bc
CONCEPTS: alexandria macedonia, mapwork of alexander’s empire, who all did he win over?
READ: Alexander The Great, pg 160 EWH,
INTERACTIVE: Learn about the history of catapults
SOCIAL STUDIES: Read about Socrates, who was the teacher of Plato. Read about Plato. Plato was the teacher of Aristotle. Read about Aristotle. Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander The Great. Read about Alexander The Great.
How was Alexander influenced by his teacher? How were each of the philosophers influenced by their teacher before them?
CRITICAL THINKING: Get out some dried beans and examine them like these famous philosophers might have done.
READ ONLINE: After Alexander the Great died, the Colossus of Rhodes was built. Read about it here. Compare the Colossus to the Statue of Liberty!
NETFLIX STREAMING: National Geographic: Beyond the Movie: Alexander the Great
GAME: Print out and play Digging Up Greece, a board game
MAKE: The Greeks used wax tablets for writing notes and everyday writing. Here’s an idea to replicate what it might have been like to use a waxed tablet. Making a real one seems fairly easy though. Maybe for younger kids, a parent should do the chiseling part. Here‘s another site with more info. And one more.
LESSON PLAN: Alexander the Great: Hero or Villain? (7th grade)
LESSON PLAN: Recognizing Ancient Greek Achievements in the Modern World
LESSON PLAN: Discovering References to Greek Mythology in Popular Expressions (7th grade)
LESSON PLAN: Significant Figures in Ancient Greece (7th grade)
VIDEO: Learn about the world’s first computer which was built by the Greeks and lost in a shipwreck.
Week 22: Early China – 5000-500bc
CONCEPTS: silk, shang kings, confucius, oracle bones, religion!, zhou kings, mapwork, yellow river valley, art?
READ: The People of Early China – pg 164 EWH
VIDEOS: How Silk Is Made and another
LAPBOOK: Ancient China Lapbook
MAKE: Make a Chinese lanterns
SCIENCE: read about kites and make a kite from thin paper or a plastic bag and some balsa wood sticks – maybe let kids brainstorm how they think a kite could be made and try out their ideas. Do they work? Why or why not? What can we try differently?
RELIGION / PHILOSOPHY: Read about Chinese deities and compare the idea of deities versus philosophers like Confucius. Read from The Book of Goddesses – about these goddesses: Hsi Wang Mu, Chang O and Kuan Yin
NETFLIX STREAMING: Biography: Confucius: Words of Wisdom
LESSON PLAN: Learning About Three Ways of Thought: Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism (7th grade)
WRITING: here are some Chinese idioms to download. Copy some onto scrolls?
ART: Read about Chinese Shadow Puppets, Here’s some more info. Make your own shadow puppets to your favorite story or a story of your own making. Make the designs on cardstock and glue them to popsicle sticks. Make a theater by putting up a sheet with a bright light behind it. Remember to keep out of the way of the light!
READ ONLINE: Read about the life and teachings of Confucius. Discuss or write answers to the discussion questions at the bottom of the reading.
UNIT: Confucius: Life & Influence (7th grade)
Week 23: Early China – The Han Dynasty – 500-200ad
CONCEPTS: qin, great wall, terracotta warriors, liu bang, paper, inventions- compass, wheelbarrow, ships rudder, jade, silk road, who were the huns? attila?
READ: China’s First Emperor – pg 166 EWH, The Han Dynasty – pg 168 EWH
MAPWORK: Print out a map of Asia. Color in the Qin Empire. Mark where the Great Wall of China is.
NETFLIX STREAMING: Modern Marvels: The Great Wall of China, China’s Terracotta Warriors
READ ONLINE: Read about China’s first Emperor. Why was he the first emperor? How did he become the first emperor? How did he change China?
READ ONLINE: Read more about the Great Wall – this is a really detailed reading for slightly older kids. Write about this event on a timeline event page.
ART: Create good fortune banners for Chinese New Year with some simple Chinese characters
READ ONLINE: A little more advanced readingabout the Great Wall, but lots of pics!
ART: Learn Chinese paper cutting and try it out.
MAKE: Create Emperor Qin’s hat and read a little about him on this site.
LESSON PLAN: Examining the Reign of Qin Shi Huang Di (7th grade)
Week 24: Ancient Japan – 9000bc-500ad
CONCEPTS: yamato warriors, gods and goddesses, jomon period
READ: The People of Ancient Japan – pg 170 EWH
Week 25: The Arabian Nations – 1000bc – 150ad
CONCEPTS: sabea, ma’rib, queen of sheba, nabataea, petra, jewels and spices
READ: The Riches of Arabia – pg 171 EWH
COOKING: Read about Faloodeh, the ancestor of ice cream and then make some!
ART: Learn about geometric patterns in Islamic art with this lesson plan
SCIENCE: Frankincense and Myrrh are not just fragrant herbs. They were and still are used medicinally. Learn about their uses and history.
ART: Make bookmarks in the style of Persian rugs.
LESSON PLAN: Understanding the Persian Wars (7th grade)
NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY – National Geographic: Inside Mecca
Week 26: Ancient Africa – 6000bc-500ad
CONCEPTS: axum, kush, bantu, nok people, napata
READ: Life in Ancient Africa – pg 172 EWH
MAPWORK: Obtain a map of the area. Locate and mark key locations from the stories on the map. Compare the map to a world map or globe and locate the area on the larger map.
VIDEO: Anansi & The Pot of Beans
COOKING: Make Fried Plaintains
ART: check out this unit on African Art with lesson plans and more.
LAPBOOKS: Lots of lapbooks on African books, animals and African countries
Week 27: Ancient India – 1500bc – 500ad
CONCEPTS: hinduism, buddha, aryan preistess, caste system, asoka, mauryan, gupta empire, siddhartha
READ: The Ideas of India pg 174 EWH
MAPWORK: Print out a map of Asia. Color India. Outline the areas that Aryan and Mauryan empires covered.
MUSIC: Listen to some Indian music. What sorts of instruments do you hear? How does the music make you feel? How does it make your body want to move?
RELIGIOUS STUDY: An older child can read the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and write a book report about it. Are there any similarities between Siddhartha’s life and any other religious figures you’ve learned about?
RELIGIOUS STUDIES: Here are some techniques for guided meditation to try out.
SCIENCE / PE: Create a miniature of Barbur’s garden and then play Horses and Elephants to reenact the war in which the Moghul’s gained power.
INTERACTIVE: Deciphering Buddhist Art
VIDEO: Here’s another Life of the Buddha
VIDEO: Watch a video on Buddhist meditation.
READ ONLINE: Jataka tales are the major sources for influencing the character of people in Buddhist countries. Read about them, and read a selection of the stories.
VIDEOS: Watch these animated Jataka videos online. What lessons do they teach?
LESSON PLAN: Discovering the Buddha’s Path to Enlightenment (7th grade)
READ ONLINE: Read more about Buddha
LESSON PLAN: A Lesson plan utilizing Buddhist folktales
LESSON PLAN: Creating a Mandala of Hindu Beliefs (7th grade)
LESSON PLAN: Interpreting Ashoka’s Edicts (7th grade)
Week 28: The First North Americans
CONCEPTS: great plains natives, buffalo, adena people, hopewell
READ: The First North Americans pg 176 EWH
INTERACTIVE: Learn more about the First Nations and Inuit people with this website.
ONLINE VIDEO: Watch this you tube video about Inuksuk.
LAPBOOK: lots of great mini books to create a lapbook about Arctic regions
INTERACTIVE: Read and listen to the Inuit creation story
Week 29: Ancient South Americans
READ: The People of Ancient Peru – pg 178 EWH
MAPWORK: Print out a map of the Americas. Mark Peru on the map.
READ ONLINE: Here’s some more to read about the Nazca lines
ART: Using chalk, try drawing your own Nazca picture on a large blacktop area… at a park? your patio? an empty parking lot?
MAKE: here are some coloring pages of the Nazca lines (click on the image to get a color-able version)
VIDEOS: Olly Steeds has a few short videos about what the Nazca lines might be about. The order for watching them is: Solving the Nazca Puzzle, UFOs in Ancient Peru and then Water Witching Test. There’s another video on there about the Nazca too- The Real Temple of Doom.
MATH: Put this tessellation puzzle together. (better for older kids)
Week 30: Ancient Central Americans
READ: The Olmecs, page 179 EWH, Ancient Cities of the Americas pg 180 EWH
READ ONLINE: Here’s a good general reading about the Olmecs to get started in depth.
READ ONLINE: Read some more about the Olmecs
READ ONLINE: Here’s a very in depth writing about the Olmecs
Week 31: The Rise of Rome – 750bc-30bc
CONCEPTS: augustus, hannibal, romulus and remus, caesar, octavian, mark antony
Julius Caesar, Augustus, road, emperor trajan,
READ: The Rise of Rome pg 184 EWH
MAPWORK: Print out a map of the Mediterranean region. Mark Rome on the map.
FIRST, you might want to learn a little about the Etruscans:
READ ONLINE: Not much is known about the Etruscans. Read a little here.
WRITE: Here’s the Etruscan Alphabet. How is it the same and different from other alphabets we’ve seen so far? Write your name and some words.
ART: Here (PPT Download) is a power point presentation on Etruscan art.
READ ONLINE: Read these stories of Romulus and Remus- Version 1, Version 2. Compare and Contrast these two stories.
For older kids – Here’s another, longer version and This Story of Romulus and Remus is for much older kids, adults should read first.
SOCIAL STUDIES: Read this article about how Romulus and Remus may have been real. What do you think?
SOCIAL STUDIES: Here’s some more about all the different versions of the story.
LESSON PLAN: Discovering Etruscan and Greek Influences on Roman Civilizations (8th grade)
READ ONLINE: Read about the fasces a Roman motif. Where have you seen a fasces in our modern culture? What does it stand for? Here’s a little more advanced reading. Here’s a picture of what a fasces looked like.
The fasces symbol occurs often in American culture- here are some places to see it:
The National Guard Bureau Seal
Seal of the United States Senate
Lincoln’s hands rest on 2 fasces with the axes removed in the Lincoln Memorial
4 Fasces flank the memorial of Lincoln at the memorial of the Gettysburg Address
State seal of Colorado
Statue of George Washington
Knights of Columbus emblem
Above the door to Chicago’s city hall
SOCIAL STUDIES: Download this lesson plan on Rome’s expansion
SOCIAL STUDIES: Read about The Punic Wars and about the Carthagian general, Hannibal. Print out these elephant outlines one from the front view and one from the side view. Draw what it must have looked like for the Romans to see the Elephants crashing toward them. What would they have had on their backs? What would they have been pulling?
LESSON PLAN: Understanding the Punic Wars Between Rome and Carthage (8th grade)
READ ONLINE: Here’s a biography of Julius Caesar.
LANGUAGE ARTS: “Crossing the Rubicon” is something that Julius Caesar did literally, and is now a term that we use figuratively, meaning that something is done that cannot be undone. It is called an idiom. An idiom is a phrase where the combination of words means something different than its literal meaning or the meaning of each individual word. Read Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish. Have the children identify the idioms and state what was actually meant. Here’s a lesson plan on idioms, using the book More Parts by Tedd Arnold.
INTERACTIVE: Play a game to identify the meaning of some idioms.
Week 32: The Roman Empire
READ: The Roman Army EWH pg 186
INTERACTIVE: Dress a Roman Soldier and learn about the items they had and carried
LESSON PLAN: Debating Whether Military Expansion Helped or Hurt Rome (8th grade)
READ ONLINE: Biography of Caesar Augustus
READ: PBS mini series The Roman Empire episode one synopsis is about Augustus Caesar and how he ruled.
READ: Read about some of the Emperors after Augustus in the synopsis of Episode 2 of the PBS mini series The Roman Empire
READ: Augustus and Julius had months named after them. Here’s a quick blurb about how the calendar was named. Here’s a little more about how we organize our days. Learn more about what the ancient Roman calendar looked like
Roman Invasion of Britain in 43AD
MAPWORK: Look at this map and read about why the Romans invaded Britain.
READ: Read about Caesar’s invasion of Britain and learn how the British fought back
READ: Learn about Caratacus a king of some British tribes, who fought back against the Romans. Use his quote “If you want to rule the world, does it follow that everyone else welcomes enslavement?” for copywork.
POWER POINT: Download and view this Power Point presentation on Boudicca’s Revolt. Make a storyboard in 6 parts of what happened in the presentation.
INTERACTIVE: Play this little game about the Romans in Scotland
INTERACTIVE: Why did the British rebel?
READ: Learn about Boudicca the Celtic queen who led the rebellion against the Romans
VIDEO: Listen to this song about Boudicca from Horrible Histories
Week 33: Life In Rome – – 30bc-250ad
CONCEPTS: daily life, patricians and plebians, architecture, aqueducts
READ: Life In A Roman Town, pg 188 EWH
INTERACTIVE: Take a tour of a Roman town and learn about the different sections
INTERACTIVE: Here’s a neat layout of a Roman house with links to pictures of reconstructed versions.
CREATIVE WRITING: Read about the city of Rome. Now, write a guidebook to the city: What were Rome’s most famous landmarks or buildings? How would someone travel to Rome or around Rome? Look at guidebooks from other cities to get ideas.
COMPARE & CONTRAST: Read about Plebians and Patricians. Get another view of Plebians and Patricians. Use a compare and contrast notebooking page to note the difference between the two groups of people. Which do you think had more people in it? How would you know if you belonged to one or the other? Which do you think you would belong to if you lived back then? Why? What other group was talked about in these readings? What can you tell about them?
SOCIAL STUDIES: (for older kids) Read about the Social Order in ancient Rome. Read about the different classes of people. Write about how different groups were treated. What were their privileges and responsibilities? What sorts of themes do you see echoed in our society today?
LESSON PLAN: Patricians and Pleibeians: Struggle for Power (8th grade)
MATH: Learn about arches and build one. How much weight can it hold? Test it.
MATH: Build a working aqueduct (grade 7)
LESSON PLAN: Writing a Travel Guide About Daily Life in Ancient Rome (8th grade)
SOCIAL STUDIES: Learn about clothing the Romans wore and then make some tunics for yourDolls and Teddy Bears (grades 5-12). Here’s another reading, with pictures. And another with even better pictures. Also try googling “ancient Roman clothing” to see even more pictures.
This site goes into a lot more detail, for older kids.
READ: Mount Vesuvius is a volcano that erupted in 79AD. It buried 2 towns under 9 feet of volcanic ash. Read a little about the cities and the volcano.
INTERACTIVE: Learn more about Pompeii and the volcano with these interactive exhibits.
ART: Learn how to draw a volcano with chalk pastels
Week 34: The Romans -30bc – 250bc
CONCEPTS: religion, gladiators, chariot races, art
READ: Fun and Games, pg 190 EWH
COOKING: Learn about Ancient Roman recipes and try one or two. Libum (sweet cheesecake), Mulsum (honeyed wine) (adults only of course) and Boiled Eggs with Pine Nut Sauce look pretty easy!
NETFLIX STREAMING: Colosseum: A Gladiator’s Story
READ ONLINE: Read about the gladiators.
ART: Read about Roman art. Make some representational art.
INTERACTIVE: Gallery of Roman Mosaics
ART: Look at some Roman Mosaics, like this one of Alexander The Great. Here’s more. Create a mosaic… use colored squares of paper, broken pieces of ceramic on wood or flat marbles on a window…. You can try out a mosaic online first.
MATH: Use post-it notes to make mosaics. Patterning, following a diagram
LESSON PLAN: The Beginnings of Christianity (8th grade)
READ: more true information about the great fire in Rome and Nero
UNIT: Rome and Early Christian Art PDF Download (grade 3)
Roman Gods & Goddesses
READ ONLINE: Although most of the Roman gods and goddesses were borrowed from the Greeks, and later on from the Egyptians and other cultures, there were some that were of Roman origin. Janus is one of those. Read about Janus. Print out this Janus mask and color it, or make your own!
UNIT: It’s Greek to Me! Greek and Roman Mythology PDF Download (grade 3)
INTERACTIVE: Learn about Roman gods and goddesses with this interactive site.
Week 35: The Spread of Christianity – 5bc-400ad
CONCEPTS: jesus, judea, christian emperors
READ: The Spread of Christianity, pg 192 EWH
Week 36: The Fall of Rome – 200bc-500ad
CONCEPTS: asian invaders- huns, constantine, germani- barbarians, diocletian, visigoths, vandals
READ: The Fall of Rome – pg 194 EWH
MAPWORK: Print out a map of the Mediterranean region. Outline the two parts of the Roman Empire, identify types of invaders and where they came from.
MAPWORK: The 2nd page of this PDF download is a Map of the Roman EmpireThis is a blank map of the same area to fill in.
READ ONLINE: Read about what happened to the Romans
READ: Read about Rome’s power weakening in this synopsis of the PBS mini series The Roman Empire
READ: Read about Alaric leader of the Visigoths.
NETFLIX STREAMING: Secrets of the Dead: Lost Ships of Rome
INTERACTIVE: Play Dig It Up a game about digging at a Roman town site
LESSON PLAN: Culminating Project: Creating a Mobile to Compare Ancient Civilizations (7th grade)