Friday, April 2, 2010

Ancient Rome resources...Learning Adventures

Rome Unit

English skills webs:
Pronouns, Adjectives, lessons, or whatever in the texts we printed out. (I think) is perfect for
teaching language skills. You get a full page of teaching text, sample questions with answers, and another quiz.
Just for fun:
Here is an excellent resource page I found. It has to do with some Lego contest, but it has great ideas for the kids if they want to do some Roman/Greek buildings out of Legos. The 1998 contest has some entries with the Roman Coliseum and Parthenon.
Coloring pages:

Click on any of the selections to download and print out a coloring page of Roman cultural life, including the Coliseum, aqueducts, and gladiators.
Actually, this link also contains coloring pages for Egypt and Greece:
General info:
Lessons: Ancient Times...K-2 Romans Unit for 2 weeks 3rd grade level
Pompeii Forum Project
Greek & Roman: It Came from Greek Mythology
Living in Ancient Rome:
In Old Pompeii
Exploring Ancient World Cultures
Daily Life in Ancient Rome

At one time the Roman Empire reached throughout the greater part of Europe and parts of the area we now call the Middle East. In fact, in the first century AD, Rome conquered most of the known, civilized world.

I flipped through the history section of my book, Using The Internet In Your Homeschool, and found these sites that might help:

The Roman Empire for Kids - This site features interactive maps, timelines, quizzes and more designed for kids grades 4 - 8. They even have a "Brief History of the Roman Empire" that you and your son could read together.

The Romans from BBC -- this is a fantastic site! Covers several different areas of Roman history and civilization. It includes activity suggestions too. Keep in mind that this is written mainly for the benefit of Britains, so there is some focus on the influence of the Roman Empire on what is now England
Live from Ancient Olympia
* Egypt - Reformation New/Used Curriculum
* Construct an Aqueduct. Explore the NOVA Online Aqueduct Project page, and then create an aqueduct. Read more about aqueducts at Roman Aqueducts and Water Systems.
*Pictures of Rome - including aqueducts/old buildings/houses and more.
* Roman art: It has a lot of useful ideas for Rome.
* If you go to the parent page it is a great resource page for history, math, etc...
Learn just how those famous Roman roads were built, and then work with your children to recreate your own model of Roman road construction.

Children will first review the basic structure of Roman numerals, practice converting numerals, and then decode a secret message. Use the 2nd URL above for a printable Roman Numerals chart.

Roman Numerals:
We found a child-friendly site that has some interactive activities about rocks and minerals. It is
I found the perfect edible project for Day 62 science in the Rome unit. It is talking about the Earth and how it is made up of a core, the mantle and the crust. Take a marshmallow, cut a slit in it, stick a round peppermint candy into the center of the marshmallow, and then place the marshmallow on the toothpick. Then dip the marshmallow in melted chocolate chips. The peppermint candy is the core, the marshmallow is the mantle and the chocolate is the crust. I found it in a book called "Geology Rocks- 50 hands-on activities to Explore the Earth" by Cindy Blobaum. It is full of fun stuff. Enjoy!

I purchased the Delta Science -In-A-Nutshell kit called Rock Origins. We had a lot of fun with it. It came with activity books for two kids and had about 10 lessons a together. The lessons took between 30-60 minutes depending on how into it we were and how many extra questions my kids came up with.

1. I purchased a reproducible book about earthquakes and volcanoes and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. I haven't done a bit of research on this book, but here is the title and author and you can check if interested to see if it's still in print:

Earthquakes and Volcanoes by Ruth Deery
Illustrated by Sue Ellen Miller-Ray
from The Natural Disaster Series
A Good Apple Activity Book for grades 4-8
Copyright 1985
ISBN No. 0-86653-272-2

It is really a fantastic teaching tool with short stories and activities that involve the child in learning. You read about the topic in 3-4 paragraphs and then answer 3 multiple-choice questions, which have some really, really funny 'wrong' answers. My girls were in stitches. Then, there is an activity page. One was on how a seismograph works, and you use a toy car on the paper, the child holds the pencil straight and in the same place so that it just touches the paper and the mom first moves the paper slowly so that the car doesn't move and the pencil draws a straight line. Then, mom moves the paper with a bit more erratic motion and the car bounces a bit and the pencil draws a squiggly line. Then, mom moves the paper back and forth wildly and the car bounces right off the paper and the pencil draws crazy up and down lines. This was a great visual demonstration for the different scales of earthquakes and how the seismograph records them. Both girls were thrilled.

Other activities include coloring several flip books to cut out on the subjects of plates & caldera's, coloring the insides of each of the three types of volcanoes. There was one paper that showed a house, barn, yard and fence before an earthquake and after an earthquake. You colored each part of the picture the same and it was striking (when colored, not black and white) how much each item had shifted. There are myths about volcanoes and earthquakes and the child get to write their own myth. A real variety of fun and learning activities.
I highly recommend this book! Kathy in IA

Scroll Down to the "V" section
Movies to Teach
For those of you interested in using movies to help teach or reinforce, there is a great website you may find helpful.

For $8.99/year you can access 250+ teaching guides. If you're only interested in seeing the titles, it's free. Here is a link to their site that lists some for ancient and world history:
1. The Eyewitness Handbook Rocks and Minerals (by Chris Pellant, DK Publishing) has a section on identifying rocks. It begins with identifying the type of rock, then the grain size, the color and mineral content. We haven't tried using this flow chart with any unknown rocks so I cannot vouch for it. It has good pictures and has been easy to use for other types of rock/mineral look-up questions.
2. Books for 7th-8th grade, check out just about any of Rosemary Sutcliff's books about the Romans in Britain (didn't care for The Scarlet Warrior but could be just me). "The Eagle of the Ninth" has a part where the main character goes to steal back the standard from the tribesmen/priests north of Hadrian's Wall (which raised the hairs on the back of my neck, so to speak). For a mature 8th grade (or higher reader.) It has lots of suspense, centurion battles, gladiator/slave action, Roman culture, and a little tame love-interest stuff. Might be helpful to know a little of Rome's presence in Britain, but not necessary. The main character (centurion) is badly hurt during an early battle and can't be a centurion any more and his wound pains him a lot. Great story for someone with physical ailment/challenges as the centurion "finds a purpose" again after centurion dream dies.
(Remember Blackstone Audio ( has several of Sutcliff's books on cassette to buy or rent. Also, I rented their Bronze Bow (about $17 incl. s/h) for 30 days, and it's so great to listen to it late at night and then give to the kids during the day so I can work with younger children, etc. etc. Plus, having to return it by 8 Feb keeps me hopping!)
3. Patricia St. John's "Runaway", about bitter Phoenician boy who learns of Jesus and wants him to save demon-possessed sister...Sound familiar? Really good.
4. Lamplighter's book "Titus: A Comrade of the Cross". Plot occurs during the time of Jesus' crucifixion (includes another sick friend/brother/sister?) and the title gives it away. Good, but in the old fashioned ("wilt thou?") language which mayeth irritateth someth kidseth.
5. "Masada", by Gloria D Miklowitz. Two definite love interests with young people in Masada (nothing inappropriate) with lots of history, Roman battle-siege techniques, and Jewish culture. Sad but good.
6. Bethlehem Book's "Beorn the Proud" by Madeline Polland was really good about Vikings marauding the British coast, the taking of a Christian girl (solid faith, lots of spunk, admirable) and Beorn's proud, conceited nature which he lives to regret. Great for boys and girls: Viking customs (they return to Denmark), hunting, warfare.etc. Only bad thing I remember is monks dying and the Vikings callous to it but she shows proper Christian horror so great talking point about how dramatically Christ changed the world. (the back cover says ages 10 and up).
7. Terry Deary's "Rotten Romans" and "The Roman News" are fun reading.
8. Story of the World: Volume 1 by Susan Wise Bauer would be an excellent read-a-loud for history. In some ways, I like it better than Hillyer's Story of the World. Story of the World is more thorough than Hillyer. It reads well, but is definitely geared to younger children. You may also wish to look in Veritas Press catalog , Greenleaf Press, and page Rainbow Resource catalog pages 350-351. Rainbow lists a lot of books to go with Story of the World!!!
9. Vinegar Boy by Alberta Hawse
Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
The Young Carthaginian by GA Henty
For the Temple, A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem by G.A Henty,
The Ides of April by Mary Ray
Detectives in Togas and Mystery of the Roman Ransom (Odyssey Classic) by Henry Winterfeld
10. I have just found a series of books called 'The Royal Diaries'. They are wonderful. It is written as if it is Cleopatra as a 12-year-old writing in her diary. The lady that wrote it just loves history and the book has a wonderful way of showing what life was like in Egypt and also Rome as Cleopatra spent time there also, 57BC. These books are written for the middle school age group, but if your child is a good reader or you like to read to them I think 7-8 year olds would love them. Scholastic publishes these books.
11. We just finished reading "Martyr of the Catacombs: A Tale of Ancient Rome". Very good -- it went hand in hand with much of what Dorian has written. We purchased our copy from

When it was time for us to do the mosaic project, I went to Michael's and found a plaster coaster kit done with square tiles. I bought a bag of colored glass pieces and used those instead. Each of my 4 oldest made a wonderful coaster that we now use in our living room. My youngest made a mosaic butterfly using bits of colored paper. The kids were so pleased with how their projects turned out.
My kids found a mosaic a wonderful project to imagine but almost too much trouble to complete. Interestingly, the most art-oriented child was the only one that did not finish. The 5 y.o. did a 6x6 inch picture. The other two worked on 10x12 mat board. If you only have a few eggshells, or if you think your kids are like mine, make something small. In retrospect I think a small project would have been more fulfilling. We could have made a tree ornament of some sort, given it a protective coating, and used it for several years.
I think that we're going to substitute little squares of colored construction paper for the eggshells
I was looking at mosaic stepping stones in Hearthsong. They look like a 'real' project, but are still mosaic. Very nice and functional.
Can anyone who has made the bread (Day 71) for Rome unit tell me what I can use in place of a yeast cake?? I have active dry yeast. Any ratio help would be greatly appreciated since I am not one to "wing it" when it comes to recipe measurements.

I've not made it yet, but it looks like a typical bread recipe with the amount of flour and water - I don't know the exact measurement, but probably 2 to 2 1/4 tsp. yeast (based on the bread I usually bake). I think a yeast cake is equal to one of those individual packets of yeast you can buy and that is 2-1/4 tsp.

Sharing ideas:
Our first few days of Rome are going well. My son is not thrilled with the Messiah, mostly the solos, but he listens enough that today he stated he knew that piece. As we were reading the text he proceeded to sing it. SO… I guess some of it actually sinks in! LOL!
I also started him with a simple Latin book today. I wanted to share the website with the group. Even if you don't wish to teach Latin, it's a fun site. I didn't purchase the teacher manual to this as it was really pricey, but I have had 2 years of Latin (even if it was more than 20 years ago) and I am praying that it will come back to me. The textbook is available through Amazon and Barnes/Noble. The site:
To ask them " Who are you?" The phrase would be "Quis es?
Boys/Men’s names usually ended with -us so Mark in Latin would be Markus.
Girls/Women's names usually ended with -a so Helen in Latin would be Helena.
To state your name you would say "Helena sum" translated, as "I am Helena."
Now you can teach them how to say their names and how to ask each other who they are. Just a little bit of Rome brought home.

1 comment:

JILL O. MILES said...

You have so many resources here that my head is spinning. I especially love the Lego link.