Social Sunday: The STEM legacy in Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome is an era rich with lasting legacies in architecture, government and more.  One often overlooked legacy of Ancient Rome is the technological advances that occurred even as the empire expanded.  
There are lots of ways to approach the science and technology.  If you are short on time, you can grab a video (this is one from   But if you have time, it is a worth while investment to have students engage in one or more activities.  I set up 5 stations for students to investigate.  Typically, students will complete 2 - 3 of the stations.  

The stations are:

  • Arches
  • Roads
  • Bridge
  • Colosseum
  • Aqueduct

For each station students read background information on the topic.  Videos can be an option, but I have limited technology and also find that students like to refer back to the written information when they are working on their activity.  The written information is also a reference for interactive notebooks if needed.  
Students follow the background with an activity that requires thinking about the topic.  Because the focus is on technology, most of the activities require actual engineering, problem solving skills.  This is a good way to work in some cross-curricular connections.  Students design roads for the empire, build arches, create aqueducts, and more.  The goal is to synthesize the written material with the technological challenges of building in Ancient times.  Students analyze their designs through written reflection.
 The technology is just one part of our Ancient Rome unit, but it is quite possibly the highlight of it.  Students do not readily forget the day they built Ancient Rome (or at least parts of it)!

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

  • Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Ancient Egypt
  • China
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome
  • The Middle Ages in Europe
  • Medieval Japan
  • The Renaissance
  • The Age of Exploration

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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