Social Sundays: The science and technology of Mesopotamia

The cradle of civilization a.k.a. Mesopotamia has an epic legacy that I often only have time to just touch on.  A key area in understanding the lasting impact of Mesopotamia is the impressive list of science and technology achievements for this early Western civilization.

A gallery walk is an engaging way to explore the science and technology.  To set up the gallery walk, I post 6 exhibits around the room.  

If I have more than 20 students, I like to have to sets of exhibits so that I can group students into groups of 2-3.  I print the exhibits on white paper and then glue them onto a colored piece of paper to designate which gallery walk students are on: the blue walk or the green one.  

Each exhibit focuses on a different scientific achievement from the Sumerians, Babylonians or other civilizations from the cradle of civilization.  Topics include: written language, the wheel, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and other technology such as pottery.  

Students walk from exhibit to exhibit in groups.  I use a timer to allot time at each station, 5-6 minutes per exhibit.  Students write their reactions to each exhibit.  I ask them to discuss and then write on their individual organizers.  Sometimes I do gallery walks with a group organizer, but in this case, I have a specific reason why each student keeps their own organizer.

After the walk, I divide students into new groups to share their findings and conduct an analysis.  Hence, the need for individual organizers.  The new groups review their reactions and add new ideas to their organizers using a different colored pen.  Students complete an analysis activity to assess the long-term impact of these scientific inventions on modern times.  Making the connection to modern times is the best way I have found for the content to have a meaningful and memorable impact on students learning. 

This is part of a series of posts on teaching topics in World History.  Topics include:

Social Sundays is a bi-weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message in the comments below or at the store in the question and answer section.



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