History and Geography

World History: Ancient Mesopotamia

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World History: A commercial letter (clay tablet) enclosed by an envelope (a clay covering). The letter was supposed to be opened by the recipient. 2nd millennium BCE, Mesopotamia, Iraq. (The Sulaimaniya Museum, Iraq). We’re about to begin our second week of World History, a unit created for our second block of homeschooling 4th grade. I wanted to share what we are doing and plan to share our progress along the way. Of course, this is designed for my 4th grader, but you can tweak it as needed for your child. And if you are interested in a AP World History curriculum, check out Interactive Homeschooling’s World History series.

Prep Work:

  • History for Homeschoolers: World History Modules- This is a new series of lectures by George S. Pabis, Ph.D., husband of project-based homeschooer Shelli Pabis. The lectures are less than 20 minutes long and provide short lessons through World History. I listen to this recording before planning my lesson as it is a great refresher for me. Additionally, Dr. Pabis provides vocabulary words that are important to know when studying each specific period. I choose a few of those words (sometimes all of them) to go over with my daughter prior to beginning the week’s lesson. I also decide if the the lecture is simple enough for my daughter. If it is, then I add it to our podcast selection. If I think it’s too complicated for her, I will summarize the lecture. What I like about them is that they are simple and fun.

World History Vocabulary

  • Plateau
  • drought
  • cuneiform:
  • City-State:
  • Fertile Crescent:
  • Mesopotamia:
  • ziggurat:
  • empire:
  • Euphrates:
  • epic:
  • Tifris:
  • Akkadian:
  • Civilization:
  • Bronze:
  • caste/class:
  • irrigation:
  • Sumerian:
  • zodiac:

Interactive Notebooking:



Activities (from Scholastic book)

  • Mesopotamian Numerals to Solve Math Problems
  • The Royal Game of Ur
  • Recording Trade with Cuneiform
  • Hammurabi’s Code of Laws

Activities from Story of the Word Activity Book

  • Any activity in which she seems interested.


Additional Websites

Comprehension Check:

  1. Where in modern day is the land of Mesopotamia located?
  2. What does the name “Mesopotamia” mean and what was the significance to the people of the area?
  3. What kinds of crops did the Sumerians grow?
  4. What materials were the first Sumerian houses made of and how did they change later? How was the city designed and why was it designed in this way?
  5. Describe the Sumerian system of government.
  6. How did Mesopotamia differ from the Ancient Civilizations of Egypt and or Greece?
  7. Why is this area called the “Cradle of Civilization?”
  8. What developments are credited to the civilizations of Ancient Mesopotamia?
  9. Summarize the Epic of Gilgamesh.
  10. What did people in this area do for a living?
  11. Based on what you know, draw a City-State of Mesopotamia.
  12. What was Hammurabi’s Code?
  13. Create the Ziggurat of Ur in Minecraft using only the materials available in Ancient Mesopotamia.


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