Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline: Teacher s Guide

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1 Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline: Teacher s Guide Grade Level: 6-8 Curriculum Focus: Ancient History Lesson Duration: One class period Program Description They came, they saw, they conquered. They rose and they fell. They created the world's first superpower, then ended as captives of illiterate barbarians. The ancient Romans changed the face of the world. In this five-pack video series, you'll join the Romans on their journey first to world domination and then to decline and defeat. Prosperity and Decline Uncover the warning signs of decay while following the Romans' road to ruin. (Video 5 of Ancient Rome 5-pack.) Onscreen Questions and Activities Segment 1, Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline: Part One Pre-viewing questions: o What do you know about Rome s rise from a small village to a world power? o How do you think Rome transformed itself into a sprawling empire that covered two million square miles? o As you watch the program, take note of how Rome extended its influence on the surrounding cultures. Post-viewing questions: o Rome was able to use its network of roads to spread its culture throughout the empire. Discuss how planes, trains, automobiles, television, and the Internet make culture more universal today. o What is the 20 th Century equivalent of Roman culture? Activity: Create a flipbook with a series of maps that show the expansion of Rome from a small village to a sprawling empire. Label you map to show which peoples were conquered by the Romans and when. Share your work with the class. Segment 2, Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline: Part Two Pre-viewing questions: o What do you know about the existence of slavery in Rome? How did this institution begin?

2 Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline: Teacher s Guide 2 o How many slaves do you think occupied the city of Rome during its peak of power? o As you watch the program, take note of how slave labor affected the growth of the economy within the empire Post-viewing questions: o Rome improved the life of its citizens with advances like the aqueduct, which brought fresh, clean water to the city. But the empire went into decline despite these advances. Why do you think the empire started to decline? o Is there a limit to how large an empire can grow? Activity: Build a miniature aqueduct using cardboard tubing, duct tape, balsa wood and water. Calculate the slope of your aqueduct and flow rate of the water. Then present your design and findings to the class. Lesson Plan Student Objectives Students will understand: The Roman Empire, even after its decline, had massive influences on the rest of the world from city planning to daily vocabulary. Materials Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline video and VCR, or DVD and DVD player Several college-level dictionaries Photocopier Procedures 1. Impress upon students that although the Roman Empire did decline and fall, its influence on everyday life in the United States is never ending. Remind students that Rome, for example, has influenced the form of government we ve chosen, the buildings we build, and the language we speak, read, write, and hear. Explain that in this activity students will concentrate on the influence the language of ancient Rome Latin has had on our daily English vocabulary. 2. List the following 40 English words on the board or on a handout for each student: ambulatory amicable animate annual

3 Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline: Teacher s Guide 3 aquatic auditorium aviation calorie carnivore casual circumference colossal consul contemporary corporation deity domination egotist equinox fatuous fortify function inhabit legion linguistics lunatic manual medieval neutral normal oratorical paternity plebeian ridiculous scientific

4 Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline: Teacher s Guide 4 senate sinuous territory vacant verbatim 3. Divide the class into several small groups, and assign each group an equal number of words from the list. One member of each group should act as secretary, dividing a piece of paper into four columns. Have the secretary list the words assigned to that group in the first column on the left. Give the students a three-part assignment: a) Look up each English word in a college-level dictionary in order to determine what Latin word or word part the English word comes from. (The secretary should write that Latin word or word part in the second column.) b) Learn the English meaning of the Latin word or word part. (The secretary should write the meaning in the third column.) c) Come up with another English word that derives from the same Latin word or word part. (The secretary should write that word in the fourth column.) Some groups may prefer to rotate these three tasks among themselves as they proceed from word to word; other groups may prefer assigning roles that students will keep throughout the project. 4. You may opt to use the term root in this lesson. You can define root as a word part that cannot stand alone as an English word but that, rather, takes a prefix or a suffix or both to form an English word. Make sure students understand that not only Latin but Greek and many other languages have influenced English vocabulary; the focus in this lesson, however, is on the influence of Latin. 5. Make copies of each group s work to distribute to all students in the class. That is, all students should wind up with 40 words the Latin from which they derive, the English meaning of the Latin, and 40 other English words related to the initial 40. Discussion Questions 1. By what standards do historians consider a nation to be a world power? At what point in its history did Rome become a world power? What are some of the potential responsibilities of such a label? 2. Many of the world s large cities from ancient Rome to modern-day New York City have developed in similar ways and for similar reasons. What features do most large cities share? How do many cities develop in terms of layout, economy, and population? Discuss possible reasons why people have chosen to live in cities throughout history. 3. Speculate about one psychological or sociological explanation why Rome had gladiators and why Roman citizens enjoyed watching the games. Hypothesize what forms the games take today. Why have these activities evolved into their modern-day counterparts?

5 Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline: Teacher s Guide 5 4. What was the effect of having paved roads on everyday life in Rome and its provinces? Discuss what life would be like if there were no roads or highways between American cities today. 5. How did the growth of the slave economy ultimately damage the empire and its livelihood? How was Roman slavery different from the kind of slavery that existed in the United States during the 1800s? 6. The imperial government provided bread and circuses to keep the Roman masses happy. What steps do modern governments like that of the United States take to prevent uprisings by the people? Assessment Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson. 3 points: Students identified, for all 40 words, the Latin word or word part, the English meaning of the Latin word or word part, and another English word derived from the same Latin word or word part; worked cooperatively within their groups. 2 points: Students identified, for at least 30 words, the Latin word or word part, the English meaning of the Latin word or word part, and another English word derived from the same Latin word or word part; worked well within their groups. 1 point: Students identified, for less than 30 words, the Latin word or word part, the English meaning of the Latin word or word part, and another English word derived from the same Latin word or word part; had difficulty working cooperatively within their groups. Vocabulary assimilating Definition: The process of absorbing one cultural group into another so that they have a common identity. Context: Rome had a genius for assimilating different peoples into the empire, a skill dating back to its beginnings. barbarians Definition: To Romans, any group of people found outside the Roman world, usually on the fringes of the empire. Context: Rome faced the threat of barbarians massing along the empire s borders. city-state Definition: In ancient times, the city-state was any urban center that maintained its own political identity, leadership, and sovereignty. It is the forerunner to the modern nation-state. Context: Before long, the empire expanded well beyond the limits of a modest city-state. displacement Definition: The act of taking the place of another, especially using underhanded tactics.

6 Ancient Rome: Prosperity and Decline: Teacher s Guide 6 Context: The returning soldiers were forced into the cities due to the slave labor being used to tend their farms, resulting in a massive peasant displacement. Gauls Definition: Inhabitants of the area now covered by modern-day France. Context: One hundred thousand Gauls were taken prisoner and enslaved by Roman forces as the empire expanded. Academic Standards Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visit This lesson plan addresses the following national standards: World History Classical Traditions, Major Religions, and Giant Empires: Understand how major religious and large-scale empires arose in the Mediterranean Basin, China, and India from 500 BCE to 300 CE. World History Classical Traditions, Major Religions, and Giant Empires: Understands major global trends from 1000 BCE to 300 CE. The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has developed national standards to provide guidelines for teaching social studies. To view the standards online, go to This lesson plan addresses the following thematic standards: Time, Continuity, and Change Support Materials Develop custom worksheets, educational puzzles, online quizzes, and more with the free teaching tools offered on the Discoveryschool.com Web site. Create and print support materials, or save them to a Custom Classroom account for future use. To learn more, visit

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