Friday, November 19, 2010

roman aqueduct

our sixth grade roman history project

Our sixth grade block in Roman History at Davis Waldorf was crowned today with a Roman feast and a presentation of our Aqueduct Project. The project, in Roman fashion, required precision and citizenship. Each segment of the aqueduct had to be exactly measured and executed by each of the students so that when connected, their sections would function collectively to convey water.

The project needed a box of specific dimensions, and cut precisely for the columns, arches, and holes. A layer of spackling or plaster, scored and painted to resemble brick, gave it an artistic touch. When each of the segments were lined up end to end, the impact was quite incredible. I ran a 3/4" PVC pipe through all the segments, attached a hose to one end, and a spout at the other. Our aqueduct directed water for a ceremonious washing of our hands to begin our Roman feast.

The Roman saying holds true: FINIS CORONAT OPUS (the end crowns the work). I think the students will remember this project, and they will know the work they put into it had lead to a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Friday, November 12, 2010

o roma nobilis

roman history with sixth grade

Do as the Romans do. So my chalkboard drawing took on a very austere, practical, disciplined, and serious nature. It was from a relief of a Roman general leading centurions in battle, rendered in marble, beautiful in the precision of the sculptor's craftsmanship. It set the tone of my 3-week block of Roman history.

It is not easy to condense 1500 years in 3 weeks!

In our first week, we traveled with Aeneas, the Trojan prince who escaped from the burning Troy, who traveled to Latium, in what is now Italy. He begins the Trojan bloodline that lead to Remus and Romulus and the birth of Rome in 753 BC.

In our second week, we moved through 500 years of the Roman Kingdom, and with the suicide of Lucretia in her refusal to be kidnapped by Tarquinius' son, the Roman Republic was formed in 509 BC. We discovered the social structure of the Republic with the plight of the patricians and plebeians. We learned about the technology of arches learned from Rome's Etruscan neighbors, and its application in the famous aqueducts. During the period of the Republic, I read to the sixth grade about the great Carthaginian general Hannibal's declaration of war against the Romans, and his eventual defeat in Zama.

We have also been learning Latin word roots, and a Latin verse that I put to song that reflects the somber glory of Rome.

About to begin our third week, I will end the Republic and enter the Empire. There are key players whose biographies I will bring: Julius Caesar, Marc Antony and Cleopatra, and Octavian Augustus. At the end of our block, we will put together our aqueduct project (pictures to follow), and I will run a PVC pipe through a channel in each of our segments. Water will flow and we will ceremoniously wash our hands to prepare for a Roman feast!