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Inventing Civilizations

By Diane Dunne, Littleton Middle Years Teacher

What better way to learn about ancient civilizations than to devise one of your own?

This is exactly the challenge that our imaginative seventh and eighth graders accepted as the culminating project of our Origins unit in Humanities and English.  Inspired by the earliest civilizations of the Fertile Crescent, the students created their own early society that included all the required features:  a city, organized government, established religion, job specialization, social classes, public works, art and architecture, and a system of writing.

What resulted was a creative outpouring that gave rise to invented cities like Cakemus and Polluozi, Dothan and Procopolis in writing, dioramas, and digital formats.  Fantastic temples with domed roofs towered above bridges over streams made of blue woven wool. Miniature clay people tended crops of wheat and corn, and scribes carved previously unknown languages carved in leather.  Computer screens beamed images of impressive public squares and forbidding city walls.  All to the delight of our second grade visitors.

And what’s more these ancient civilizations boasted their own creation myths—Before before, all that is was not, and all that is not was—explaining how hidden springs gave rise to early man, how a single egg from an extinct race grew a new world, and how a battle between light and dark created great chaos but eventually gave rise to mankind.

All in all, a marvelous living history experience!

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