Thursday, May 7, 2009

Night At The Museum History Unit - Diorama Room: Mayans to Romans

We started our day today by watching the Nova film Cracking the Maya Code. This is an excellent film on many different levels. It provides insight into the struggle of historians to accurately interpret historical data. It inspires young people, by highlighting a young historian, whose interest in the Mayan language began while he still had a binkie in his mouth. And it explains the importance of art, linguistics, and current affairs in the study of history. Not to mention that it filled in our knowledge of Mayan culture quite a bit.

After watching the film, we were ready to turn to the ancient Romans, another stop along our fictional trip to the museum. We discovered a wonderful website by the BBC for kids with a lot of fun facts, animation, and activities on the Romans - . From this website, we printed out and followed instructions for making Roman bullas (usually meant to hold a good luck charm).

We cut a circles of cloth 20cm in diameter, using a dessert plate for a pattern.

We hand stitched, basting stitches, around the circle about 2cm from the edge.

Then, we added some change. We don't really buy into good luck charms, but the children agreed, it would be pretty fortunate to have some change along should they find themselves at the candy store.

Finally, we removed the needle, and pulled the thread to gather the fabric closed. And, our bullas are ready for the necks of any Roman soldiers who might pass by this way.

We also printed, and cut out, a pattern for making some dice. Apparently, Romans liked to play games of dice, when they weren't busy feeding Christians to the lions. The instructions suggested marking the dice with Roman numerals - this was a bit challenging for some of the smaller hands in the family, but everyone participated.

A little folding and gluing, and we're ready to play. I'm thinking Roman Numeral Yahtzee.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

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