Making History Fun

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A roll of butcher paper from Costco.  I know I paid less than $10 for it about a year ago and it has proved again and again to be a wise investment.

Today we used it to make the Euphrates River.

You see, chapter five in our history book is mostly just a story, so why not act out the story?

First we painted a long piece of butcher paper to resemble the Euphrates River.

Then we read the story of King Sargon, the first Sumerian dictator.  An old story of Sargon tells the tale of how, as a baby, he floated down the Euphrates River in a basket.

He floated down the river to the city-state of Kish. One of the king’s servants was fetching water from the river and found Sargon. He brought him to the palace and was given permission to raise the baby.

A tissue fastened with a rubber band makes a great ancient Sumerian costume for our "servant" who found Sargon.

Sargon grew up to be a trusted servant of the King and befriended some powerful people in the palace. He convinced the army to follow him instead of the king. Then he convinced the army to kill the king, and make him their ruler. Soon he began to attack cities all around him so he could rule all of Mesopotamia. He named his empire Akkad and sent soldiers to each city he conquered to enforce his laws.

Fortunately, Sargon had this giant and powerful Shrek character as well as little green army men with guns on his side.

This story introduced the concept of a military dictatorship. We discussed what that might be like. What if the army took over our country and made a law that we all had to go to bed at 6:00 at night or we would go to jail if we didn’t do it? My kids were appalled at this idea. “That’s not fair!”, they proclaimed.  What if they said we had to give them most of our money and we didn’t have enough to pay for our house or food, let alone toys and television?  “No way!”, they said.

Yes, I think they understand how the Akkadians must have felt. [wink, wink]