Earliest Civilisations: Ancient Sumer

Block D - Inventions

Place the Ancient Sumer civilisation in the context of world history and compare it to Britain at the time of its existence. Learn about life in Ancient Sumer, how the people lived, what they did, how they worshipped and what they have left behind for us to discover.  

The people of Ancient Sumer were amazing inventors. Be introduced to their greatest achievements, including the wheel, writing, astronomy and metal-working.

This Topic is written for Upper Key Stage 2. If you want to use this Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.

Supporting documents for topic
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01: The wheel

Learn some theories about how the wheel was developed over time, both in Sumer and in other geographical locations. Explore the impact of the wheel and learn how to make a modelchariot based on the Ancient Sumer wheel.

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02: Writing

Discover how the Ancient Sumerians developed writing, from pictographs/pictograms to ‘cuneiform’ writing. How this early form of writing was on clay tablets that were baked in a kiln to harden them, so they became permanent records which can still be read today.

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03: Maths

Discover how the Ancient Sumerians developed their mathematical systems. Explore the concept of a number system using a base of 60 and use Ancient Sumerian mathematics to calculate simple calculations and geometry.

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04: The night sky

Discover how the Ancient Sumerians studied the night sky and used this knowledge. Explore the star constellations and how this relates to the zodiac. Learn how to make a star constellation viewer or a planisphere.

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05: Bronze

Discover how the Ancient Sumerians learned how to make Copper objects and then progress to making alloys especially Bronze. Learn how the Ancient Sumerians used the ‘last wax process’ to make a variety of Bronze objects.

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06: Proverbs

Learn about how the Ancient Sumerians used proverbs and wrote them down. Discover the similarities between Ancient Sumerian proverbs and the English proverbs we use today. Learn to use proverbs in a day-to-day situation.

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07: Laws

Learn about how the Code of Ur-Nammu was developed. Explore how laws are necessary for a community and produce a set of laws that can be used.