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Bring Ancient History to Life!

Ancient History

The civilizations of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome are among the most engaging of teaching themes. This week, Education World presents five lessons for teaching about those ancient cultures. The lessons challenge students to use and translate hieroglyphics, solve math problems using Roman numerals, learn about gods and goddesses, explore the society of ancient Egypt, and draw like an Egyptian. Included: Share your best ideas for teaching about ancient cultures.



New Resource!


The Math of Ancient History, by Max Fischer, presents 100 realistic word problems based upon life in various ancient civilizations. The problems emphasize the use of numerous problem-solving strategies suggested by the National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics. The Math of Ancient History allows math instructors to integrate their subject with a middle school ancient history curriculum without interrupting the continuity of their own curriculum.

Read an interview with social sciences teacher Max Fischer about his book of classroom simulation activities, Mysteries of Antiquity: Lessons to Engage Middle School Students in Ancient/Medieval History.


The civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome provide some of the most interesting opportunities for students to explore and learn about ancient cultures. Studies of those regions can lead to some engaging classroom lessons too.



This week, Education World offers five new lesson plans for teaching about ancient cultures. Read the description of what your students will do in each lesson below; then click on the headline for a complete teaching resource. Approximate grade levels are in parentheses.

Hieroglyphics: It's Not Greek to Me! (It's Egyptian!)
Use hieroglyphic characters to spell a name, write a sentence, and create your own "Rosetta Stone." Have fun using online hieroglyphic translators too. (Grades 3-12+)

The Gods of Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome
Learn about the gods of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Create a diary, first-person report, or postcard to share that knowledge.
(Grades 3-12+)

Roman Numeral Math
Solve simple math problems using Roman numerals. (Grades 3-12)

Working 9 to 5 in Ancient Egypt
Create a pyramid diagram that reflects the social order in ancient Egypt. Compare the ancient social order with the social order in our world today. (Grades 6-12)

Draw Like an Egyptian
Follow four basic rules to draw like an Egyptian. Display paintings in a classroom art gallery. (Grades K-12+)


Encourage students to give the following activities a try:

  • Publish a newspaper that includes articles, and perhaps even advertising or cartoons, related to the ancient civilizations being studied.
  • Create a timeline of events related to the unit of study.
  • Construct a relief map of the region being studied.
  • Design travel brochures that might have been used to promote tourism in an ancient world.
  • Rewrite a myth from antiquity into a reader's theater script. Have students read aloud the finished script.
  • Construct a pyramid using online lesson plan 1 or online lesson plan 2.
  • Create an ABC book or a dictionary related to the civilization being studied.
  • Use technology to a create a postcard from ancient Greece.


Still looking for ideas? Click for a list of 20 more lesson plans we found online!