The earliest writing systems evolved independently and at roughly the same time in Egypt and Mesopotamia. That writing system, invented by the Sumerians, emerged in Mesopotamia around 3500 BCE. At first, this writing was representational: a bull might be represented by a picture of a bull, and a pictograph of barley signified the word barley.
Though writing began as pictures, this system was inconvenient for conveying anything other than simple nouns, and it became increasingly abstract as it evolved to encompass more abstract concepts, eventually taking form in the world's earliest writing: cuneiform.
Interesting writing activity for students
With the hardening clay the students can be made to write their names in cuneiform. A hole is to be placed in the clay so they could string yarn to hang the tablet in their bedrooms.
Another thing that could be done is to have the students draw/color an artifact( ie: Gilgamesh statue, ziggurat, statue of a person in their traditional clothing, etc.)
Discuss and act
There can be activities related to Mesopotamian religion. Student can create skits. Have students work in cooperative groups to think of something that happens in nature, such as the change of seasons or the flooding of a river. Students can choose at least one Mesopotamian deity and create a myth to explain the natural happening. They can act out their skits for the rest of the class. Have students illustrate on a chart the main gods and goddesses of Mesopotamia and their realms.
Assignment about geography
Also, the students can be given geography assignments on Mesopotamia. What is the latitude and longitude of Mesopotamia? Locate and name places in the world with either similar latitude or longitude. How would you describe in geographical(i.e. mountains, rivers, etc.) terms what Mesopotamian landscape was like? What do you think were methods of transportation in Mesopotamia?
What are some differences in topography of ancient Mesopotamia and modern day Iraq? WATER WATER EVERYWHERE - The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers would periodically flood the land of Mesopotamia. Have students research the positive and negative effects of these floods.MUD AND CLAY - Have students research how mud and clay were important to the people of Mesopotamia. - You may want to have students build model homes out of mud and clay writing tablets.
Design a mesopotamia style garden as a project
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Using some gardening catalogues, the students can plan an ornamental garden. And Plant a window box garden if you do not have any yard space.
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