with Kim Rodgers
A Home for Mesopotamians
Ancient Mesopotamian architecture was the topic of discussion for our class this week. The students were asked what they would build a house from if they lived in a land with few trees and very little stone. They remembered rivers were nearby and, because of that, water was available. Mud! They shared what they knew about brick-making and how walls and floors made of mud bricks would feel on the inside to those who might need some cooling off in that kind of climate. Houses were built around a common courtyard, where families cooked, rested, and worked together. The roofless courtyard kept the building cool, along with the mud-brick walls.
After building a model together out of blocks, the students worked individually, or in a group, to make their own. Three students opted for making one out of Legos, while the others each made their own model out of clay. It was amazing how much thought went into their work, with the group of three going into detail with each other as they decided what to put where. The students working with clay added pots filled with grain and dried beans for their storehouses, made ovens for cooking, and added a bed with the thought that the Mesopotamians probably added some kind of soft covering to sleep comfortably.
Some questions arose that I told the students they could look into for homework this week and share with the class next week. Did the Mesopotamians have bathrooms included in the home or were they outside? This was the cause for quite a discussion! Also, what did they use as a knife to prepare their food? How did they make the knife? Please ask your child what they would like to find out and help them navigate the information on-line or in any resource books you might have at home.
While they were finishing up their work we talked about the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is one of the oldest fairy tales. We read the first book, called Gilgamesh the King, but stopped shy of reading the ending. Students worked in groups to come up with an ending of their own before we read the actual ending next week. Unfortunately we ran out of time, but students have some good ideas to pursue when we pick up next week.
This is such a great group of kids. They are interested, engaged, and thoughtful. A true joy! See you next week when we’ll talk about how clothing was made, maybe getting to do some weaving ourselves...if there’s time!