Caylyn Tate Ancient Rome Social Studies Unit Education 405 Teaching Social Studies: Curriculum and Instruction Professor McEachron Fall 2012 cmtate wiki net Table of contents

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Ancient Rome Social Studies Unit

Fall 2012

Caylyn Tate

Ancient Rome Social Studies Unit

Education 405

Teaching Social Studies: Curriculum and Instruction

Professor McEachron

Fall 2012


Historical Narrative

Pages: 3 to 7

Appendix A

Page: 8

Lesson 1

Pages: 9 to 14

Lesson 2

Pages: 15 to 22

Lesson 3

Pages: 23 to 25

Lesson 4

Pages: 26 to 39

Pre-Post Test and Rubric

Pages: 40 to 42


Page: 43


Page: 44


    Why study the past? Understanding the significance the Roman civilization had on humanity and how it changed the course of human development. When the Romans are remembered today, names such as Julius Caesar and Augustus are often recalled. However, ancient Roman contribution stretched into multiple features like, government, politics, warfare, art, literature, architecture, technology, religion, and language in the Western world. The civilization is considered one of the most highly advanced for the time period. Rome was the inspiration for some modern republics, such as the United States. This is one of the reasons for the stress and intensity within the Standards of Learning in Virginia. Appendix A contains the complete list of state and national standards, which cover or can be applied to ancient Roman history.

More specifically, the third grade standards in Virginia, and across the nation, focus on the three areas which the Romans are considered to influence the most in the Western world: architectural, governmental, and sports influences.

Key Ideas and Events: (Government, Architecture & Art)

Ancient Rome’s impact has lasted thousands of years and spread across the world, to pick two specific areas where their influence is the most noticeable and substantial would be: government, and architecture & art.

Literally and figuratively, Roman thoughts created the foundation for our world today. From small towns to major cities, there are certain buildings and carefully spaced and placed represent specific purposes. The Romans especially used architecture to facilitate efficiency for the city and empire in general. One of the most simple concepts Romans utilized was at the center of the city was an open space for a public forum. Here, the public could be informed about activities within the government and outside the city. Columns and arches features of Roman architecture that were observed in Greek buildings and improved upon, and can be found in many Western cities, like Washington D.C. These features led to some of the greatest structures that have stood for thousands of years, like the Colosseum.

The Colosseum, originally called the Flavian Amphitheatre, was opened in 80 A.D to the public.  One of the purposes of the Colosseum was to hold gladiator or “funeral” games in honor of human sacrifice and appeasing the pagan gods to ensure entrance to the afterlife. The Colosseum also provided a built in arena in the center of Rome to stage various events more easily and convey the wealth of Rome with it’s enormity.  Rome showcased the most modern form of engineering and building techniques with it’s complex archways and system of labyrinth of tunnels. Overall, the building encouraged public events and Roman patriotism.

Rome first became transitioned from a kingdom into a republic after settlements around the Tiber river formed together to overtake the Etruscans, who were in control of the area at the time. After the transition, control of the republic was broken up into four positions: consuls, the Senate, prefects, and the assembly. No women were allowed to participate in any aspect of government. The two consuls acted in an executive manner; they would decide when to go to war, how to control the army, had ability to veto laws, and how much taxes to collect. The consuls would receive advice from the Senate, which consisted of men from wealthy families all over Rome and was very influential over the consul’s decisions. A Senate position was a responsibility for life and was usually passed down from generation to generation. The next position was a tribune. The Assembly, who were grown free men with Roman citizenship, elected these tribunes. The tribunes spoke to the Senate on behalf of the Assembly. Since the Assembly was the majority, they also had the power to vote on big issues, elect consuls, prefects, and senators. However, the flaw with the system was the fact that the wealthier people received more votes; therefore, more power.

When the Roman empire began to expand and conquer over other lands, they established a system of provincial governors. These governors would take charge of an area of land to hear court cases and control the army until the empire would build more Roman establishments. These governors or generals seemed to be leading Rome into a downward spiral because of their greed for power. By 50 BC and the age of Julius Caesar, these generals had begun to take over the government heed the advice of the consuls or the Senate anymore, but do as they pleased since their power lay within the army. In 31 BC, Augustus was one of these generals. In order for Augustus to keep control of his people as well as the army, he set up a new system where he could still keep all of the power. The new Senate and the consuls that he designed had all the titles of having control, yet he could veto anything the Senate tried to do that Augustus didn’t approve. This seemingly republic system’s power truly laid within the hands of the Emperors for the next 1,500 years.

Men, Women, and Youth:
Roman society had a definite scale since the beginning of it’s creation. (James, 1990) As a kingdom, it was divided by citizens, non-citizen provincial (those who belonged to a conquered Roman province), and slaves.  Within citizenship there were also dividing ranks, such as, plebeians, equestrians, and partricans. The top of the ranking pyramid began partrians. These people were wealthy government officials and held high offices, while equestrians who were also rich men would serve the army (James, 1990). Equestrians would be given special privileges. For example, for some time the empire would pay a higher amount to those individuals than others while in the army; therefore, they would receive more voting rights (Gill, 2007).  

It was possible to change rank in the society.  The treatment of slaves depended on their owner or master, even though some slaves were oppressed, others had power among their groups and could become subjects or equestrians. More often, slaves who worked as physical laborers were treated the most barbarically. Those slaves chance for escape came when they came of age and whose master was a Roman citizen who would perform a formal ceremony. (James, 1990)

One of the lowest class, called plebeians, were the people who consisted of freed people, shopkeepers, crafts people, skilled or unskilled workers and farmers. Even though the term “pleb” is associated as the lowest class, plebeians did have some opportunity to become wealthy and influential.  

All throughout Rome’s history, one fact remained true: men were always the most dominate in society. Women’s recurring theme in Roman society was one of submission. Women never had any true political power. The main concern of women was to be dignified wives and mothers (James, 1990). The only degree of power women had relied on the status of their wealth and status. There were few wealthy women who were single or widows and could control their own properties, while others used their husband’s high status to have some leverage in society. Like Cornelia the Mother of Gracchi, after her husband died, Cornelia devoted her life to the upbringing of children to serve Rome. Most of the other more infamous and powerful women of Rome, either were mothers, therefore advisors, to political leaders or were wives known for their scandals, manipulation, and in some cases, questionable murders. Although women were disregarded when it came to gaining power, the feminine mystique and dominance was celebrated in the polytheistic Roman religion. For example, Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom, medicine, science and trade, but also of war. Minerva is the daughter of Jupiter (king of all the gods) and said to be born of his brain. She was born armed, because the human soul, fortified with wisdom and virtue. Minerva was probably the favorite child out of all of Jupiter’s children and was worshipped for her wisdom.

Children’s life in Rome also greatly depended on their family’s position and prestige. The wealthiest children could be tutored at home, while many others were sent to school at the age of seven on the first day of school March 24th. The basic schooling lasted until the child was eleven or twelve years old. At this age, some boys would continue on their education to attend “grammar” school, where they learned Latin, Greek, grammar, and literature. The goal of education was to help children into becoming effective public speakers. However, girls were sent home after basic schooling to learn how to run a home from their mother.

Closing and Legacy:
Although the Roman Empire fell thousands of years ago, the ideals of government, art, architecture, and culture was a launching pad for future generations. There are so many other contributions that Rome has made, which is why the continuing research and study of the culture is and always will be important.

Appendix A

Virginia Standards of Learning:

3.1       The student will explain how the contributions of ancient Greece and Rome have influenced the present world in terms of architecture, government (direct and representative democracy), and sports.

3.4       The student will develop map skills by
a)   locating Greece, Rome, and West Africa;
b)   describing the physical and human characteristics of Greece, Rome, and West Africa;
c)   explaining how the people of Greece, Rome, and West Africa adapted to and/or changed their environment to meet their needs.

3.7       The student will explain how producers in ancient Greece, Rome, and the West African empire of Mali used natural resources, human resources, and capital resources in the production of goods and services.

National Council of Social Studies:

(a) Examine the origins and continuing influence of key ideals of the democratic republican form of government, such as individual human dignity, liberty, justice, equality, and the rule of law,

(d) Practice forms of civic discussion and participation consistent with the ideals of citizens in a
democratic republic

National Social Studies Standards:

A: Examine the origins and continuing influence of key ideals of the democratic republican form of government, such as individual human dignity, liberty, justice, equality, and the rule of law.

F: Identify and explain the roles of formal and informal political actors in influencing and shaping public policy and decision making.

Lesson #1 Map and Globe Skills
Objectives and Purpose:

Students will be able to understand and utilize a grid map. Students will also be able to give directions on different types of maps. Students will understand the navigation and basic geographic figures of the ancient Roman Empire. These objectives are important because students will not only be able to understand the basic features of the Roman Empire, but be able to navigate using different maps and map skills.

-Projection set up

-Google Earth downloaded

-Worksheet Copies (Williamsburg and Roman Empire Maps)

-Enlarged Grid Map of Roman Empire

Approximately 1 hour

Virginia Standards of Learning: Social Studies

3.4 a) Students will develop map skills by locating Rome

3.6 The student will read and construct maps, tables, graphs, and/or charts.

Anticipatory Set

(10 Minutes)
Explain the importance of maps. Have a discussion with the students about maps: “What do you think it was like without them?” “How do you think people first started to create maps?” Use Google Earth (already uploaded) on the projection screen to show how useful it is to know where you are. Ask the students to find a place on the map while you time them. Then project the map with a grid over top. Tell the students the intersection (C6 or B3) the new place they have to find and time them. Note how much faster it was to find the desired place.

(Download Google Earth:

(Grid projection map button is in the top left corner)

Instructional Input:

5 minutes

Explain the importance of a grid map. “What’s a grid map?” A geographic map with horizontal and vertical lines over top of it (like a chart) used so that it’s easier to find location on the map. “What are coordinates?” Numbers/symbols used to indicate the position of a point, line, or plane

Teaching: Modeling

(10-15 minutes)
Show the students how to use grid maps with the map of Williamsburg with worksheet #1. As a class, do the first two examples together (College of William and Mary and Waller Mill Park). Students will practice finding other places using a grid map in the Williamsburg area with worksheet #1.
Teaching: Checking for Understanding

(If no questions move on, but revisiting should take as long as needed)

Collect the worksheets and quickly scan them to see if they understand the grid map concept by checking question four (where I go to school). If there is any doubt that the class has not understood, the concept/skill should be retaught before practice begins. Ask questions that go beyond mere recall to probe for the higher levels of understanding to ensure memory network binding and transfer. For example, ask “How could grid maps be useful?” “Would you use grid maps for long or short voyages?”

Instructional Input/Guided Practice:

10-15 minutes

Briefly talk about the expansion of the Roman Empire. (If time show this website: which outlines the expansion in an interactive and social way). Discuss the major cities of the empire and trade routes (Rome, Londinium or now London, Aquincum now Budapest, Carthage, Alexandria in Egypt, and Lugdunum now Lyons, France). Most of the cities were conquered due to military takeover by the Romans. Ask: “What kinds of things do you think the Romans traded? Why do you think that? How do you think the Romans got their goods from one place to another?” Explain how large the Roman Empire was at its greatest size was at its maximum size in 117 AD.

The next part of the lesson is an opportunity for each student to demonstrate their grasp of mapping by working through a maps activity under direct supervision. Using the Roman Empire map from the website still being projected, have each student plot each major city on their Roman map given to them on the second worksheet.
Independent Practice

15-20 minutes

When the students have mastered the content, it is time to provide for reinforcement practice. In the second part of the Roman Empire map worksheet, the students demonstrate and explain coordinates and grid map, as though they are Roman Merchants in the year 117 AD. They need to explain to their “apprentice” who has never seen used a map before. The students act and explain specific directions on how to get from one of the major Roman cities to another of their choice. Their explanation of directions is also a review of cardinal directions and geographic terms. Once completed, the students will take the Exit Questions home as a review and final assessment of what they’ve learned to be returned and evaluated the following day.

Name:_______________________________________ Date:__________________









  1. The College of William and Mary is within coordinates:________________

  1. The Waller Mill Park is within coordinates:_________________

  1. Bush Gardens is within coordinates: ___________

  1. Where I go to school within coordinates:__________

  1. My favorite place is __________________________________ and it is within


Image from:

Name:____________________________________ Date:__________________________

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11


Part 1:

Rome is within the coordinate: __________________________

Carthage is within the coordinate:____________________________

Alexandria is within the coordinate:____________________________

Lugdunum is within the coordinate:____________________________

Aquincum is within the coordinate:____________________________

Athens is within the coordinate:___________________________

Part 2:

You are a Roman Merchant in the year 117 AD. You cannot make the journey from

________________________ to ___________________________, so you are sending your inexperienced apprentice. You give them your map, but they have never seen one before. You need to give him/her specific directions on how to get there, so he/she does not lose their way and all of your goods! (Make sure to use cardinal directions and geographic terms!)

Exit Questions:
Name: _______________________________________ Date:__________________

Choose the answer that best answers each question.

  1. True or False. Rome was the largest city in the Roman Empire ______________

  2. In one sentence, describe why grid maps and coordinates are useful.

  1. The Roman Empire was at its peak size in the year

    1. 27 BC

    2. 27 AD

    3. 80 AD

    4. 117 AD

Lesson #2 Arts and Critical Thinking 3rd Grade

(Whole Group Lesson- 24 students)

Objectives and Purpose:

Using the materials, the student will be able to assemble an arch

Using the cardboard diagram the students will create, they will describe basic architecture structures (keystone, pier, impost).

Using the information gained during instruction, students will discriminate and define what an adequduct and the Colosseum is relation to the Roman Empire’s expansion.

The purpose of this lesson is to expose students to the foundations of architecture and it’s importance to creating a city or empire like ancient Rome.


  • Wooden Blocks

  • Cereal Boxes

  • Glue

  • Colored Paper

  • Scissors

  • Projection screen


    • Pictures of aqueducts and the Colosseum for “Teaching Input”


    • Diagram of an arch

Duration:1 hour

Virginia Standards of Learning:

3.1 The student will explain how the contributions of ancient Greece and Rome have influenced the present world in terms of architecture.

National Standards:

3.6 The student will create a functional object that reflects the contributions of GrecoRoman civilizations

3.13 The student will discuss how history, culture, and the visual arts influence each other.

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