This year when we learned about all of the Mesopotamian empires, we wished that there was a LEGO set with all of the amazing soldiers, kings and townspeople (maybe we were inspired by the ziggurats?). So we decided to create our own!
When I teach the Mesopotamian empires, I split my classes into six groups. I name each group after the six empires that we cover: Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Hittites, Phoenicians and Assyrians. It’s just kind of a fun way to show that these empires overlapped and existed together. Different groups have power at different points during the unit, and we can see how they interacted with other empires.
For context, I teach 6th grade Ancient History. We use the TCI History Alive textbook, and we rely heavily on the Flocabulary Fertile Crescent song for this unit because the kids LOVE it. (We even made up Tik Tok dances to it this year lol).
We learned about different kinds of people within the empires, so we could create different LEGO characters in our “set.” We used a “body map” strategy where we labeled what each character was seeing, thinking, holding, etc. Here are some examples of how they turned out!
Didn’t these turn out GREAT? I’m pretty obsessed with them and I already can’t wait to teach this lesson again next year. I posted the instructions and template for this lesson on my Teachers Pay Teachers site.
While we did use our textbook to get a lot of this information, we also used resources like Flocabulary and Newsela (you might need a subscription for those!). Some other great sources of information were TED Ed videos (free!). Here are a few of our favorites:
Sumerians : The rise and fall of history’s first empire
Sumer : Who was the world’s first author?
Epic of Gilgamesh (might not be appropriate for all students)
Babylon : A day in the life of an ancient Babylonian business mogul
Assyria : The rise and fall of the Assyrian empire