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Earliest Civilisations: Ancient Sumer
Introducing Ancient Sumer

Place the Ancient Sumer civilisation on a world history timeline and compare it to what Britain was like at the time. Learn about the rise and fall of the Sumerian civilisation and the invasion by the Akkadians. Read the legend of Sargon the Great, understand the revival and then further decline of Sumerian civilisation, including the invasion by the Elamites, read the 'Lament of Ur' and write a lament of your own.

Session 1 Back in time

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.
  • Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between short- and long-term timescales.
  • Understand the abstract term ‘civilisation’.

English

  • Identify the audience for and purpose of writing, selecting the appropriate form.
  • Use further presentational devices to structure text.
  • Draw on reading and research where necessary.

Teaching and Activities

Place the Ancient Sumer civilisation on a world history timeline. Describe what Britain was like at the start of the Ancient Sumer civilisation.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To place the Ancient Sumerians on a timeline of other ancient civilisations and British history.
  • To establish what society was like in Britain during the Ancient Sumerian civilisation.
  • To describe what could be seen in Britain in 3000 BCE.
  • To write labels for a world history timeline.
  • To write a description of society in Britain in 3000 BCE.

Children will:

  • Add significant dates and events to a world history timeline, including the dates of the Ancient Sumerian civilisation.
  • Describe what society was like in Britain at the start of the Ancient Sumer civilisation.

Provided Resources

  • Earliest civilisations timeline
  • Timeline cards
  • Ancient civilisations of the world
  • Ancient Sumerian timeline

You Will Need

  • String
  • Pegs
  • Globe and/or atlas
  • Optional: Books on Neolithic Britain

Session 2 Snapshot

Objectives

History

  • Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘civilisation’.
  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; characteristic features of past non-European societies.

Geography

  • Locate the world’s countries, using maps and focussing on their environmental regions and key physical characteristics.
  • Use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features.
  • Describe and understand key aspects of physical and human geography.

Teaching and Activities

Label a map of Ancient Sumer and its surroundings. Understand that Ancient Sumer was part of the Fertile Crescent (Cradle of Civilisation). Learn about the terrain, climate and geography of Ancient Sumer.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To know where the Ancient Sumerian civilisation was located and understand the different periods of the civilisation.
  • To label a map of Ancient Sumer and describe its surroundings.

Children will:

  • Label a map of Ancient Sumer.
  • Describe Ancient Sumer as being part of the Fertile Crescent (Cradle of Civilisation).
  • Describe the terrain, climate and geography of Ancient Sumer.
  • Understand that historians divide the Sumer civilisation into different periods.

Provided Resources

  • Map of the Sumerian civilisation
  • Ubaidian painted pottery
  • Mesopotamia timeline events
  • Fertile crescent
  • Ancient Sumer blank map
  • Map features
  • The Persian Gulf coastline

You Will Need

  • Globe and/or atlas

Session 3 The Akkadians

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.
  • The expansion and dissolution of empires.
  • Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’ and ‘civilisation’.
  • Understand the connections between economic and military history.

Art

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

Teaching and Activities

Understand the decline in the Sumerian civilisation and the invasion by the Akkadians. Read the legend of Sargon the Great. Research the Sumerian army, including weapons and tactics. Draw a battle scene in the style of Sumerian records.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand that repeated warfare between city-states weakened the Sumerians and that the Akkadians invaded.
  • To retell the legend of Sargon the Great.
  • To describe Sumerian weapons, armour and tactics.
  • To draw a battle scene in the style of Sumerian records.

Children will:

  • Understand the decline in the Sumerian civilisation and its invasion by the Akkadians.
  • Read the legend of Sargon the Great.
  • Describe some of the weapons and tactics that Sumerian armies used.
  • Draw a battle scene in the style of Sumerian records.

Provided Resources

  • Images of Sargon the Great
  • The Legend of Sargon
  • The Sumerian list of Kings
  • Sumerian weapons
  • Records of battles

You Will Need

  • Drawing pencils and paper

Weblinks

There are no weblinks needed for this session.

Session 4 Revival....and attack

Objectives

History

  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations.
  • The expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies.
  • Understand historical concepts such as similarity, difference and significance.
  • Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between short - and long-term timescales.

English

  • Read and discuss an increasingly wide range of poetry.
  • Make comparisons across texts
  • Use other similar writing as models for their own.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about the revival and then further decline of Sumerian civilisation and the invasion by the Elamites. Read the Lament of Ur. Compare the Lament of Ur with later laments from the Old Testament. Write a lament.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand that the Sumerians managed to regain control of southern Mesopotamia for a while before the Elamites & then Amorites invaded.
  • To read the ‘Lament for Ur’ and describe its context.
  • To read and discuss the ‘Lament for Ur’.
  • To write a lament.

Children will:

  • Understand the revival and then further decline of Sumerian civilisation.
  • Read the Lament of Ur.
  • Write a lament.

Provided Resources

  • Images of King Gudea
  • Images of Ur-Nammu
  • Lament for Ur
  • Psalm 137

You Will Need

  • Simple musical instruments