Have students try these activities to expand their knowledge and interest in Mesopotamia.
Have students draw their own maps of the area known as the Fertile Crescent, as seen in the topic Cradle of Civilization. They should put in the present-day countries, their capitals, the major rivers and mountains, bodies of water, and other defining details. Then, each student should choose one country to research. Students should write a report that includes information about the country’s geography, culture, language, people, and so on. You may also want students to include any current newspaper clippings that mention the countries or areas.
Art, History, Language Arts
Throughout the unit, there are pictures of clay tablets with writing, “cuneiform,” and pictures on them. If clay is available, have students create a clay tablet. They can then use chopsticks, toothpicks, and sticks to write their own “cuneiform” or draw pictures on the tablet that tell a story. (Students may use the chart in the topic The Legendary Gilgamesh and the Origins of Writing as a basis for their writing.) If there is no clay, have students draw a tablet on paper and write on the “tablet.” Students should then exchange tablets and try to translate the stories.
In Accomplishments of the Mesopotamians there is a picture of a board game played by Mesopotamians. However, the rules have not been found. Have students work in groups and do one of the following: 1) Make up rules for the board game, as well as directions on how people might play the game; 2) Create an original board game and include directions on how to play it, as well as a picture of the game.
Language Arts, Art
Have students create a fictional hero, half-human, half-god, similar to Gilgamesh. The hero should accomplish some great feats, each of which can be illustrated in a manner similar to that in The Legendary Gilgamesh and the Origins of Writing.
The Tigris and Euphrates rivers feature prominently in this unit on Mesopotamia. Have students find out the length of these rivers and other rivers of the world. Then they can do some math problems with these numbers, such as: How much longer is one than the other? How many times longer is one than the other? How much longer or shorter is each river than the Nile? the Mississippi? the Amazon? and so on.
Language Arts, History
Have students look carefully at the illustration in Cradle of Civilization. Students should use their imaginations and come up with their own story to explain what is going on. Students do not have to relate it to Mesopotamia, but they should try to include details about what they think the people are doing, why they are doing it, and when the event took place.
Games and Activities on Mesopotamia | Kids Discover