Learning about ancient Rome can be a fun and exciting experience for kids. Throw out the textbooks and discover a way to provide hands-on learning if you want your students to really get into history. Your lesson plans should include lots of activities that involve games, arts and crafts and theatrical performances. Most of these activities require few materials, especially when doing arts and crafts.
A mosaic is a type of art that consists of small pieces of coloured glass, paper or stone, that are arranged to create a picture or design. Mosaics were commonly used in ancient Rome as decoration and art.
Mosaics can easily be used as a kid's craft project. Give a piece of white card stock to every student. Tell them to draw a picture on the card stock using their pencil. If the students are younger--grades pre-K to second grade--you should have something pre-drawn on their paper. Use a large stencil shape or print out an outline of something you like and want to share with the kids. The outline can be of an ancient Roman gladiator, the Coliseum or any other picture you wish to use.
Have the students glue small pieces of tissue paper to the picture to create a mosaic effect. Encourage them to use the paper colours as if they were colouring the picture with paint. This discourages the students from using multiple colours everywhere, which takes away from the art form of a mosaic. Mosaics have clear colour sections or a pattern.
A toga is a type of clothing the ancient Romans wore to special events. It resembles a white sheet that is draped over one shoulder and across the body. Ancient Roman togas most commonly fell anywhere from below the knee to the floor.
Have each student bring in an old white bed sheet to use as a toga. Fold the sheet in half lengthwise until it is no more than 2 feet wide. Drape the middle part of the sheet over the student's shoulder, and bring the ends diagonally across his chest. Fluff out the ends of the sheet. Tie a rope or belt around the middle of the student to help hold on the toga. If the sheet is too long, bring excess length up to the shoulder and safety pin in place. Students will wear their normal clothes underneath the toga.
Allow students to decorate their toga with markers or paint. Writing important ancient Roman facts on the toga is a unique way to turn this craft into a meaningful learning experience.
Dioramas, a still scene of an event or place, are commonly used for school projects. A shoebox diorama is one of the easiest diorama's to make.
Have each student bring in a shoebox from home. Find and print off ancient Roman characters. Karenswhimsy.com has some realistic gladiator scenes. Edupics.com also has some great ancient Roman printables. Have students colour and cut out the pictures. Leave enough blank paper at the bottom of the pictures to glue to the shoebox so the characters can stand up. Print the characters out on a heavy paper to help the characters stand up without falling over. Remember to lay the shoebox up on one of it's sides so the scene resembles a stage.