Teaching about Ancient Mesopotamia

Teaching about Ancient Mesopotamia

The stories, myths, advancements and famous figures from Ancient Mesopotamia ensure teaching and learning about the famous period is exciting, engaging and rewarding.

I like to start off this unit looking at a complete overview of the period; this allows my students to have a base of knowledge before looking deeper into some key figures. For this I use the Ancient Mesopotamia Close Reading Activity. The resources comes packed with extension tasks too. Remember, all of the resources are part of the Ancient Mesopotamia Mega Bundle!


After, I use the Ancient Mesopotamia Timeline Activity to create a timeline display of the key events and notable figures from the era. This timeline resource enables students to research the dates of key events before sorting them. My students always love these lessons, and over time have inter-connected timelines of other civilizations from ancient history. This helps them to visualise the overlapping empires from other parts of the world.


Once my students understand the order of key events and have taken note of some of the major figures, I delve deeper into some interesting areas. With Ancient Mesopotamia I begin by looking at Sargon of Akkad, the world’s first emperor and the founder of the Akkadian Empire. At first I usually flip the classroom and set the close reading activity as homework, before moving on to the biography writing unit in school. This activity works well as a paired activity with students sorting facts into paragraphs before writing up their work.


Afterwards we look at the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is thought to be the oldest story ever written, and Hammurabi’s Code, thought to be the oldest written laws. Using the resources available in the close reading activities, I use the informational texts and crossword puzzles and allow my students to work together in table groups to complete the puzzles. It is astonishing how much they actually learn from this activity, as the students need to delve into the texts to find the answers.


Afterwards, I give my students the option of looking deeper into the Epic of Gilgamesh or Hammurabi’s Code. I generally get around a 50/50 split in the class. I use the informational writing activities which they can complete independently, having already completed a similar task with the Sargon of Akkad biography. These make a wonderful classroom display, alongside the timeline.


All of the resources above are in the Ancient Mesopotamia Mega Bundle of Activities. However, I like to finish off the unit with a fun and engaging challenge. The Ancient Mesopotamia Escape Room is perfect for this and is great for group work or as a paired activity. Your students will love it, and it is a great way to finish the unit on a high.


For more ideas take a look at creativeprimaryliteracy.com or check out Creative Primary Literacy on TPT for 1000s more resources.

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