ruins of famous ancient antique city in algeria

Let’s Learn About: Romans

This half-term we are learning about The Roman Empire. I try to organise and deliver humanities topic democratically. The first session is spent providing some background information and discussing what we would like to learn, do and make over the course of the topic. My goal is to provide a world view of history and develop information gathering skills.

Week 1 – Who Were The Romans?

This week we are going to learn about who the Romans were and where they came from.

  1. Look at this map. Do you know where Egypt is? (link to Ancient Egypt topic). Now look for Italy, what continent is it in?
  2. The Romans came from Rome, Italy. Can you find Rome on this map of Italy?
  3. Make a table comparing Italy today to Italy during the Roman Empire. Include dates, capital city, language spoken, population and anything else you may find interesting. You can use your computer or reference books to help.
  4. Listen to the story about the founding of Rome here. Look at the picture of the Capitoline Wolf below, why do you think this bronze sculpture has been the symbol of Rome since ancient times?

Cross-curricular maths link: Learning about Roman numerals with Oak National Academy.

Capitoline Wolf - Wikipedia
Capitoline Wolf, bronze statue
Week 2 – The Roman Empire

This week we are looking at the Roman Army and the spread of the Roman Empire.

  1. Look at this timeline of the Roman Empire. Make a poster showing the spread of the Roman Empire using maps and dates.
  2. The Roman Empire spread with the help of the Roman Army. Find out 5 facts about life in the Roman Army.
  3. Can you dress a Roman soldier?
  4. Who was Julius Cesar? Create a Fact File about who he was, his life, what he was famous for and anything else that you find interesting about him.

Black History link: We can find out about the lives of people who came before us from the evidence (artefacts) they leave behind. Read about the Ivory Bangle Lady, found in York, UK. What ‘evidence’ did she leave behind and what does it tell us about her life in Roman Britain?

Julius Cesar
Week 3 – All Roads Lead To Rome

The Romans were great builders. This week we are going to learn about the roads they built and Hadrian’s Wall.

  1. Why do you think the Romans wanted to build new roads?
  2. Look at this diagram of a Roman road, draw and label your own diagram OR make a 3D model.
  3. Read about Hadrian’s Wall here. Why do you think Hadrian’s Wall is still a popular tourist attraction? Can you think of any other evidence of Roman life that still exists today?
  4. Look at this map of the Roman roads and Hadrian’s Wall in Britain. Can you find them in a road atlas today?

Black History link: Read this story about a soldier stationed at Hadrian’s Wall. Why do you think he was described as ‘Ethiopian’? Can you find Ethiopia on a map/globe?

Child-led learning activity: W has chosen to create his own Roman town in Minecraft. If you have Minecraft, here is a great lesson idea for Roman monuments.

Hadrian’s Wall
Week 4 – Roman Houses & Homes

This week we are going to learn about Roman houses.

  1. Read about the two different types of houses during Roman times here. Write 2-3 sentences in your own words about what you just read and one interesting fact. (Information can be found here and here).
  2. Make a list of features of a Roman villa. (Information can be found here).
  3. Look at this floor plan of a Roman villa, you can try to make your own model of a Roman villa, or build one in Minecraft.
  4. The floors of Roman buildings were often richly decorated with mosaics. Read about them and create your own design here.

Bonus: Read about how Romans got their water and have a go at this STEM activity.

Roman villa (artist impression)
Week 5 – Roman Lives: Baths & Beliefs

This week we are going to do some research about Roman Baths and Roman Beliefs.

  1. Roman Baths
    1. Can you find out what the three main activities in a Roman bathhouse were?
    2. What else could you do there?
    3. Do you remember where Romans got their water from? Can you find out how they heated the water for their bathhouses?
  2. Roman Gods & Goddesses
    1. Can you find out the names of the Roman Gods & Goddesses and what they were the God/Goddess of?
    2. Where have you heard their names before?
      (Answer: They’re the same name as the planets in our solar system!)
    3. Can you find out what some elements of Roman religion are?
  3. Challenge: Using your research notes imagine you run a time travel company and you need to create an information leaflet/guide for tourists who want to travel back in time to Ancient Rome. You can create one for a Roman bathhouse OR a Roman God/Goddess. What does your traveller need to know?

Adult-led activity idea: Create a Roman Gods & Goddesses version of “Guess Who?” to help your child become familiar with the different Gods/Goddesses and what they were known for.

Week 6 – Roman Lives: Meet A Merchant

This week we are going to ‘Meet A Merchant’ and have a go at making our own Roman recipes.

  1. Meet A Merchant
    1. Watch the video.
      1. Can you find Tunisia on the map?
      2. What does the merchant say at the beginning and the end of the video?
    1. Write down anything you find interesting about Black History in Roman London.
    2. What kind of evidence of your daily life do you think you will leave behind for archaeologists to discover in the future?
  2. Read about Roman food
    1. What did the Romans call the three main meals of the day?
    2. What sorts of food did the Romans eat?
    3. Write down anything else you find interesting.
    4. Pick a recipe, write out the list of ingredients (you might need more ingredients if you have more than 4 people in your family – use your maths skills to help!)

Child-led learning: W doesn’t want his learning about Romans to end, so he is making a list of questions to find out the answers to in his spare time and thinking about learning Latin!

Reading List

These are the books we read to complement our learning:

  • The Usborne Official Roman Soldier’s Handbook by Lesley Sim & Ian McNee
  • Magic Tree House Series: Vacation Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Aquila by Andrew Norris
  • more…

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