The legend of Romulus and Remus, which explains how twin brothers founded the city of Rome, is a good way to get kids interested in history. The legend lends itself to a variety of classroom activities, including art projects, dramatic presentations and research assignments.
Recount the Legend
Romulus and Remus were twin brothers, sons of Mars, the god of war, and a woman named Rhea Silva. As soon as they were born, an evil great-uncle took them from their mother and attempted to drown them in the Tiber River. A she-wolf rescued them, however, and cared for them until a shepherd found them. Later, their father asked them to build a city. Because they could not agree on a site, they built two. Remus eventually made fun of Romulus's city, and Romulus killed him.
Make a Romulus and Remus Comic Strip
Explain to students that a legend is a story that is not necessarily true, and not necessarily based on fact. Explain that the Romulus and Remus legend is based on mythology, although some archaeological evidence seems to support parts of the legend. Have students write their own short version of the legend. Then have them turn their account into a comic strip or story board. Each frame should contain a drawing as well as text.
Present a Romulus and Remus Play
Divide students into small groups and have each group write a play version of the Romulus and Remus legend that they will eventually perform in front of the class. Tell students they can have a narrator, but characters must have dialogue as well. Once the scripts are finished, give students time and materials to create simple scenery and costumes. A large mural of a Roman temple could serve as a backdrop. Costumes can consist of cardboard shields and swords, a paper wolf mask and a shepherd's staff. Present finished plays to the class and invite constructive comments and criticism.
Discover the Monuments of Ancient Rome
Explain to students that Rome, the city founded by Romulus and Remus according to legend, is still home to many ancient buildings and other structures. Assign students to choose an ancient Roman structure and prepare a short report on it to share with the class. Structures could include temples, stadiums, underground sewers, catacombs, tombs, baths, arches, walls, bridges and aqueducts. Encourage students to use visual aids in their presentations, such as models, pictures or drawings. Once the reports have been presented, use the visual aids to create a notice board on ancient Rome.