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Earliest Civilisations: Ancient Sumer
Ancient Sumerian Daily Life

Discover the Ancient Sumerians and why they began to live in cities rather than villages. Learn how neighbourhoods were planned and discover how society was divided into different social classes. Find out about Sumerian education, farming, clothing and much more as you explore daily life!

Session 1 Houses

Objectives

History

  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; characteristic features of past non-European societies.
  • Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change.
  • Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between economic and social history.

Geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of human geography, including types of settlement and land use.

Teaching and Activities

Learn why Ancient Sumerians began to live in cities rather than small rural villages. Learn how plans of houses and maps of cities were drawn on clay tablets. Create clay-tablet maps ofown neighbourhoods.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand why Ancient Sumerians began to live in cities.
  • To appreciate that architects drew house plans and that maps were drawn of the cities.

Children will:

  • Explain why Ancient Sumerians began to live in cities rather than small rural villages.
  • Describe a typical Ancient Sumerian house.
  • Appreciate that plans and maps were drawn on clay tablets.
  • Create a clay tablet map of their own neighbourhood in a similar style to that of the Ancient Sumerians.

Provided Resources

  • Reed houses
  • Terracotta model houses
  • Architects’ plans
  • Sumerian house ruins
  • Maps of Nippur city-state

You Will Need

  • Air-drying clay
  • Clay tools
  • Local street plans or maps
  • Digital camera

Session 2 Social classes

Objectives

History

  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; characteristic features of past non-European societies.
  • Understand historical concepts such as cause and consequence.
  • Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between economic, cultural and social history.

English

  • Use knowledge of morphology and etymology in spelling and understand that the spelling of some words needs to be learnt specifically.
  • Identify purpose of writing and select appropriate form.

Teaching and Activities

Discover how Ancient Sumerian society was divided into different social classes. Write adverts for some of the jobs that Ancient Sumerians had. Role-play an Ancient Sumerian school. Understand that Ancient Sumerians learnt mostly by copying and memorising.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand that Ancient Sumerian society developed into different classes as towns and then cities developed.
  • To learn some spellings associated with Ancient Sumer.
  • Write an advert for an Ancient Sumerian job.

Children will:

  • Explain how Ancient Sumer society was divided into different social classes.
  • List some of the jobs that Ancient Sumerians had.
  • Describe an Ancient Sumer school.
  • Understand that Ancient Sumerians learn mostly by copying and learning by heart.

Provided Resources

  • Facts of Life for Sumerian men
  • Facts of Life for Sumerian women
  • Ancient Sumerian exercise Bbooks
  • Sumerian school
  • Spelling lists
  • Ancient Sumerian jobs

You Will Need

You do not need any particular resources for this session.

Weblinks

There are no weblinks needed for this session.

Session 3 Food and farming

Objectives

History.

  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; characteristic features of past non-European societies.
  • Understand historical concepts such as cause and consequence.
  • Understand the methods of historical enquiry.

Art

  • Improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about the animals and crops that were farmed in Ancient Sumer. Draw a farming scene in an Ancient Sumerian style.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand important facts about Ancient Sumerian farmers.
  • Draw a farming scene in the style of Ancient Sumerian art.

Children will:

  • Learn about the animals that farmers in Ancient Sumer kept and the crops they grew.
  • Understand how important the rivers were to farming in Ancient Sumer.
  • Draw a farming scene in an Ancient Sumerian style.

Provided Resources

  • Sketch of a farm in Ancient Sumer
  • Farming images
  • Hymn to Ninkasi, Goddess of brewing
  • Peace panel on the Standard of Ur

You Will Need

  • Drawing pencils
  • Paper

Session 4 Clothing and accessories

Objectives

History

  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; characteristic features of past non-European societies.
  • Understand historical concepts such as cause and consequence.
  • Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between cultural, economic and social history.

Design and Technology

  • Generate and communicate their ideas through discussion and sketches.
  • Select from and use a range of materials.

Teaching and Activities

Explore the clothing and jewellery of Ancient Sumerians. Make an Ancient Sumerian outfit for a doll. Make a piece of Ancient Sumerian jewellery.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To describe the clothing and accessories that Ancient Sumerians wore.
  • To design and make some Ancient Sumerian clothes and jewellery.

Children will:

  • Describe the clothing and jewellery of Ancient Sumerians.
  • Make an Ancient Sumerian outfit for a fashion doll.
  • Make a piece of Ancient Sumerian jewellery for themselves.

Provided Resources

  • Ancient Sumerian clothing
  • Ancient Sumerian jewellery
  • Ancient Sumerian make-up

You Will Need

  • Fashion dolls (male and female)
  • Tape measures
  • Fabric
  • Small safety pins
  • Air-drying clay and clay tools
  • Pasta shapes
  • Paints (including gold and silver)
  • Wool

Weblinks

There are no weblinks needed for this session.

Session 5 Trade and money

Objectives

History

  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; characteristic features of past non-European societies.
  • Understand historical concepts such as cause and consequence.
  • Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between economic and social history.

Geography

  • Use maps to locate countries and describe features studied.
  • Describe and understand key aspects of economic activity including trade links.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about the transport and goods of Ancient Sumerian traders. Draw Ancient Sumerian trade routes on a map of the Middle East.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand important facts about Ancient Sumerian traders.
  • To mark Ancient Sumer trade routes on a map of the Middle East.

Children will:

  • Describe the transport used by Ancient Sumer traders.
  • Draw Ancient Sumer trade routes on a map of the Middle East.
  • List some of the goods that were traded by the Ancient Sumerians.

Provided Resources

  • Ancient Sumerian boats
  • Modern Quffa
  • Model chariots
  • Trade maps
  • Goods traded
  • Blank trade map

You Will Need

  • Computers or tablets
  • Atlases
  • Reference books about Ancient Sumer

Session 6 Leisure

Objectives

History

  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; characteristic features of past non-European societies.

Design and Technology

  • Generate their ideas through discussion.
  • Evaluate their products.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about some Ancient Sumerian leisure activities. Play the royal game of Ur. Create a group game using an Ancient Sumerian game board.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand the types of leisure activities enjoyed by the Ancient Sumerians.
  • To create a game (including rules) based on an Ancient Sumer game board.

Children will:

  • Describe some leisure activities of the Ancient Sumerian people.
  • Play the Royal Game of Ur.
  • Create a game to play, using an Ancient Sumerian game board.

Provided Resources

  • Sumerian musical instruments
  • Boxing images
  • The Royal game of Ur
  • Game board

You Will Need

  • Dice
  • Counters