Journals Through History Ancient Rome: Building an Empire Teacher s Guide

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1 Teacher s Guide Grade Level: 3 5 Curriculum Focus: World History Lesson Duration: 2 3 class periods Program Description See ancient Rome s transition from a republic to the most powerful empire the world has ever known. Through the writings of Julius, a young boy living in the time of the empire, we get to experience what it s like to live under such a powerful empire. Discussion Questions What do you know about the Roman Empire? What was the outcome of the Battle of Actium? Why did the battle take place? What are some important innovations and inventions from ancient Rome? Why was the Pantheon built? Why was it designed with a rotunda? How were Roman bathhouses heated? Why were aqueducts an important innovation? What was their purpose? How were Roman roads built? Lesson Plan Student Objectives Identify significant achievements and innovations in ancient Rome. Research and present a news report describing significant achievements and innovations in ancient Rome. Materials Journals Through History: video Note cards Pencils and erasers Crayons, markers, or colored pencils Poster board Encyclopedias, social studies texts, and other reference materials about Roman roads, aqueducts, the Battle of Actium, Hadrian s Wall, and the Pantheon

2 Teacher s Guide 2 Computer with Internet access (optional) Video camera and equipment (optional) Procedures 1. Discuss significant achievements in ancient Rome. Ask students: What are some innovations that spread from Rome? What were some of ancient Rome s greatest achievements? Use Journals Through History: to introduce innovations, achievements, and important turning points in ancient Rome. After viewing, talk about the innovations and achievements featured in the program. Why was the Battle of Actium important? What happened afterward? What was the purpose of the Pantheon? How were Roman roads used? What is an aqueduct? How did the aqueduct system change Rome? 2. Tell students they will investigate great achievements of ancient Rome. Ask them to imagine that they are newscasters living in ancient Rome who have been assigned to deliver a story on a subject as if it were happening in the present day. Divide the class into groups of four or five and assign each group one of the following story ideas: The end of the Battle of Actium The completion of the Pantheon Emperor Hadrian s decision to build Hadrian s Wall The construction of new Roman roads The building of the Anio Novus aqueduct (the longest in Rome) Roman legions: An in-depth report Each group is responsible for creating a news presentation to be delivered to the class. The presentations should be creative, interesting, and include at least one visual aid. If video equipment is available, students can choose to videotape their news reports to present to the class. 3. Before students begin work on their newscasts, talk about delivery and presentation styles. Make sure students understand how to deliver an oral presentation effectively. Discuss the kinds of information that should be part of each presentation. Tell the groups to include the following in their news reports: The end of the Battle of Actium: reasons for the battle, events and strategies used, its outcome, and at least two fun facts The completion of the Pantheon: details about its design, structure, and purpose, and at least two fun facts Emperor Hadrian s decision to build Hadrian s Wall: what it is, why it is being built, what the final structure will look like, and at least two fun facts The construction of new Roman roads: how Roman roads are built, their purpose, how the road system has changed Rome, and at least two fun facts

3 Teacher s Guide 3 The building of the Anio Novus aqueduct (the longest one in Rome): What an aqueduct is, how the aqueduct system works, why aqueducts are important, and at least two fun facts about the Anio Novus aqueduct Roman legions: who fights in the legion, where they come from, inspirations behind Roman weapons and armor designs, which weapons are of Roman design, a description of how they look and operate, and at least two fun facts about weaponry or legions 4. Give students time to work on their news presentations in class and as a homework assignment. In addition to, encyclopedias, social studies books, and other reference materials, the following Web sites might be helpful in student research: Battle of Actium Hadrian s Wall Roads Pantheon Aqueducts Roman legions Have the groups present their news reports to the class. Afterward, discuss the innovations and achievement. What new and interesting things did students learn about ancient Rome from the presentations? What did they find most difficult about researching or presenting the reports? Assessment Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students work during this lesson. 3 points: Students accurately identified several examples of significant innovations and achievements in ancient Rome; researched and presented news reports that clearly described specific significant achievements and innovations in ancient Rome; and met all necessary criteria in researching and delivering group news reports.

4 Teacher s Guide 4 2 points: Students generally identified a few examples of significant innovations and achievements in ancient Rome; researched and presented news reports that that somewhat described specific significant achievements and innovations in ancient Rome; and met most of the necessary criteria in researching and delivering group news reports. 1 point: Students identified few or no examples of significant innovations and achievements in ancient Rome; researched and presented incomplete news reports that did not describe specific significant achievements and innovations in ancient Rome; and met little or none of the necessary criteria in researching and delivering group news reports. Vocabulary aqueduct Definition: a structure that a large quantity of flowing water across a river or distance Context: The ancient Romans liked bathing in clean water, and their aqueducts made it possible. invention Definition: A new device, method, or process developed from study and experimentation Context: The pilum, a long spear, was a Roman invention. legion Definition: The major unit of the Roman army consisting of 3,000 to 6,000 infantry troops and 100 to 200 cavalry troops; a large military unit trained for combat Context: People at the borders of the Roman Empire always fought Rome s legions. reform Definition: To abolish abuse or malpractice; to improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects Context: Octavian had many ideas about how to reform Rome and run the government more fairly and efficiently. strategy Definition: A plan of action intended to accomplish a specific goal Context: Octavian s forces used good strategy against Marc Antony and Cleopatra.

5 Teacher s Guide 5 Academic Standards The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) NCSS has developed national guidelines for teaching social studies. To become a member of NCSS, or to view the standards online, go to This lesson plan addresses the following national standards: Culture Time, Continuity, and Change 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: Historical Understanding: Understands the historical perspective World History Era 3: Classical Traditions, Major Religions, and Giant Empires, 1000 BCE- 300 CE: Understands technological and cultural innovation and change from 1000 to 600 BCE; Understand how major religious and large-scale empires arose in the Mediterranean Basin, China, and India from 500 BCE to 300 CE Geography Places and Regions: Understands the physical and human characteristics of place Grades K-4 History Topic 4: The History of Peoples of Many Cultures Around the World: Understands selected attributes and historical developments of societies in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe DVD Content This program is available in an interactive DVD format. The following information and activities are specific to the DVD version. How To Use the DVD The DVD starting screen has the following options: Play Video This plays the video from start to finish. There are no programmed stops, except by using a remote control. With a computer, depending on the particular software player, a pause button is included with the other video controls.

6 Teacher s Guide 6 Video Index Here the video is divided into sections indicated by video thumbnail icons; brief descriptions are noted for each one. Watching all parts in sequence is similar to watching the video from start to finish. To play a particular segment, press Enter on the remote for TV playback; on a computer, click once to highlight a thumbnail and read the accompanying text description and click again to start the video. Standards Link Selecting this option displays a single screen that lists the national academic standards the video addresses. Teacher Resources This screen gives the technical support number and Web site address. Video Index I. The Battle of Actium (4 min.) Learn about the Battle of Actium and how Octavian s victory over Marc Antony changed Roman civilization. Q: What historic battles or wars have taken place? Q: What was Octavian s strategy against Marc Antony in the Battle of Actium? A: Octavian positioned the navy ships so that Antony and Cleopatra would have to pass them to reach the open sea and get away. Then he had the ships stay back so that Antony and Cleopatra s men would have to row their big boats long and hard, making them tired by the time the battle started. II. The Pantheon (2 min,) Tour the Pantheon and learn about the gods and goddesses worshipped in ancient Rome. Q: What do you know about religious practices in ancient Rome? Q: Who were some Roman gods and goddesses? A: Rome s main gods and goddesses were Jupiter and Juno, king and queen of the gods; Venus, the goddess of love; Mars, the god of war; Minerva, the goddess of wisdom; Mercury, the messenger god; and Neptune, the god of the sea. III. The Roman Legion (3 min.) Learn why the Roman legion is considered one of the most highly skilled, successful military groups in history.

7 Teacher s Guide 7 Q: What qualities should a good army have? Q: Where did the ideas behind most of Rome s weaponry and armor come from? A: The Romans borrowed many ideas for their military weaponry and armor from other peoples: swords from Hispania, shields from an ancient Samanite design, helmets were Etruscan, and the scorpion arrow launcher from Greece. The pilum, a long spear, was invented in Rome. IV. Surveyors and Builders (2 min.) Explore how the Romans used skilled surveyors and builders to help create their awe-inspiring and commanding structures. Q: What must a builder do before constructing a building? Q: What is a groma? A: The groma was the tool used to survey land in ancient Rome. It has a wooden cross with two pairs of plumb bobs hanging down. The surveyor would line up one pair of the plumb bobs, and his assistant would place markers to create a straight line. V. All Roads Lead to Rome (2 min.) Learn how the ancient Romans built their roads, which were used to transport food, supplies, letters, and armies. Q: What would your town or city be like without roads? Q: How did the Romans build their roads? A: Roman surveyors measured the land to find the best places for a straight and level road. Workers dug a ditch with retaining walls to channel water away. Then they laid stones in mortar to hold things together. Then they added a layer of gravel and a surface of large stone slabs. VI. Bathhouses (2 min.) Explore the engineering feats that helped keep Roman bathhouses warm. Q: Where in your school do students socialize or have fun?

8 Teacher s Guide 8 Q: How did the hypocaust work? A: The hypocaust, which means fire beneath, was used to heat Roman bathhouses. A furnace under the floor heated hot air that rose through clay pipes to warm the floor and the walls. The water is heated in the testudo, which is very close to the fire. The hot water rose in the tub and the cold water sank. VII. Aqueducts (1 min.) Examine Roman aqueducts, which transported clean fresh water to cities from great distances. Q: Where does the water in your school and home come from? Q: What was the purpose of the Roman aqueducts? A: Roman aqueducts, a series of water channels, transported water from the hills and mountains through tunnels and across valleys and into cities. VIII. Hadrian s Wall (2 min.) Learn why Emperor Hadrian felt the need to build a large wall between Rome and Britannia. Q: What are the challenges in governing a large empire? Q: What were some problems in ancient Roman society? A: A wide gap exited between the rich and poor: Most Romans couldn t own land and didn t have jobs to earn money for food. No one wanted to pay taxes to help feed people and keep the government running. And the vast empire was difficult to control and govern.

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