Learn about Ancient Mesopotamia with this Gilgamesh for Kids in this hands on history lesson for kids. Using the epic of gilgamesh for kids elementary age students from preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students will do a variety of fun activities for gilgamesh.
Epic of gilgamesh for kids
Gilgamesh for kids
The tale of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest epics recorded. An epic is a long poem which tells of the adventures of a hero and his success at overcoming the most terrible circumstances. Gilgamesh is the hero in this Sumerian epic, based very possibly on an actual king of Urek. Although recorded in 2000 BC it is likely that the epic of Gilgamesh had been around for much longer and passed down the generations using oral tradition, which was commonplace throughout the ancient world.
The first book covers the story of Gilgamesh, the most powerful king of all the world, and his meeting with Endiku, the challenger sent by the gods to keep Gilgamesh in check. They meet in battle with neither able to defeat the other, until at last they become friends.
The pictures and words of this first book are delightful and I have used them to guide our learning. This month your children will:
- Make some pitta (unleavened) bread, using an ancient Mesopotamian recipe, to eat with some humus during the read aloud of Gilgamesh the King
- Read Gilgamesh the King, discuss and write out some copy work directly from it
- Map Ur, Sumer and Urek, as well as label the three rivers shown on your home-made map
- Learn about Ancient Mesopotamia mythology, focusing on Lamassu (as he is pictured in the book) and make a clay model
- Learn about the invention of the wheel, and make a working model of the wheel to use with our Lamassu model
Epic of gilgamesh activity
Ancient Mesopotamia Food
his month’s recipe is pitta bread (or unleavened bread).
Mix three heaped cups of flour with half teaspoon of salt and a cup of water. Knead well and divide into small, flat patties. Cover with a tea towel over night and bake in a 180 degree Celsius oven (350 Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, before cutting them into strips to dunk in the humus. Serve with a cup of goat’s milk:
Epic of gilgamesh lesson plan 6th grade
There is so much to discuss in this book, so do feel free to chat about anything that appeals to your children. My girls and I touched on:
- Power and wealth do not always mean happiness
- Unhappy and lonely people often show their unhappiness through the mistreatment of others
- A beautiful inside is more important than a beautiful outside
- Friendship is one of the most important allies against loneliness and unhappiness
I chose copy work passages from the book which introduced interesting words. You can choose anything you wish:
Ancient Mesopotamia Map Work
A7 titled the map ‘Ancient Mesopotamia‘ using a sharpie. She labeled Urek, Ur, the Tigris River and the Euphrates River, the Persian Gulf and the Nile:
She also stuck images of a Mesopotamian wheel, chariot and Shadduf on the side flap and labeled them:
The epic of gilgamesh for kids
Point out the illustration of the statue which seems to have a man’s head with the body of a winged bull to your child on page 4 of Gilgamesh the King. Three additional statues may be seen on the last double page of the same book. These are statues of a lamassu, which was a protective spirit in ancient Mesopotamia mythology. A statue of a lamassu guarded the throne room in the palace at Nimrud. The original statue can be found on page 7 of the Eyewitness Mesopotamia book. Share this with your child before exploring page 14 and 15 of the same book, about the gods and goddesses of ancient Mesopotamia.
Make a model of a lamassu
Using a chunk of clay and some clay tools, give your children a photocopy of a lamassu or open the book on the correct page and ask them to try to recreate the lamassu statue:
This could also be done using play dough but the results would be less detailed. My girls worked on their statues for ages. This was a more successful activity for my seven year old, because her one stood upright just like the one in the book, which was perfect for the next activity:
Leave the lamassu to dry overnight. Keep them safe as they will be needed to illustrate just how useful the invention of the wheel was.
The wheel was first used in ancient Mesopotamia, but not for travelling. It would be used solely as a potter’s wheel for years before it became a wheel for transportation. This was a gradual process, which handily pages 3 and 4 of Gilgamesh the King demonstrates.
I asked the girls to point out any wheel like structures they could see. They found the wheel attached to the wheel barrow type vehicles, but took a while longer to notice the round tree trunks under the lamassu statue. This was the very first effort at making a wheel.
Explore pages 38 and 39 of the Mesopotamia Eyewitness book, which explain the history of the wheel in a little more depth.
Make your own wheeled transport
Collect a shoe box lid, brown paper, scissors, double sided sticky tape, knitting needles (pencils, straws or chop sticks would also work) and clay. Cover the lid with brown paper and make wheels from the clay, leaving overnight to dry. Cut a two wedges from each long side of the lid, ensuring the opposite wedges are parallel to each other. Rest the axles in the wedges and place the wheels on the axles, as shown above.
I used some thick wooden dowels to demonstrate to the girls how the rollers worked, using the model of the lamassu as cargo (much like the picture in the book):
Epic of gilgamesh classroom activities
We then replaced the rollers with the wheels and saw how much easier it was to transport our lamassu model using these compared with the rollers:
Other inventions of Ancient Mesopotamia include the chariot, the sailing boat and the shaduf. As an extension activity, you could ask your children to make their own model of any of these. For more information and to see a couple of models we built a few years ago see here and here.
- 1 Ancient Mesopotamia for Kids Introduction
- 2 Ancient Mesopotamia: Gilgamesh the King
- 3 Ancient Mesopotamia: Revenge of Ishtar
- 4 Ancient Mesopotamia: The Last Quest of Gilgamesh
History Lessons for Kids
Check out one of or MANY engaging, Free history lessons for kids
- Explore American History for kids including lots of fun, hands on activities and free printables
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- We will make westward expansion for kids come alive for kids as they learn facts about the time period from about 1783-1898. In addition to learning about the Oregon trail, pony express, gold rush, transcontinental railroad, students will also learn to match animal trails, map the united states, and learn about North American animals too.
- Civil War for Kids – students will learn about slavery, famous Americans from the Civil War, famous battles, and how our nation stayed together. Lesson includes printable worksheets, mapping activities, printable civil war board game and more!
- Learn about US States for Kids – state coloring pages, president coloring pages, state report forms, states and capital printables, and so much more!
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Geography for Kids
- Grab this realistic looking Free Printable Passport for Kids
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- Ready to dive more in depth? Check out Country Study for Kids – look at 16 countries around the world up close
- Kids can research to learn about other countries with these country worksheets.
- Around the World I Spy Worksheets – learn about 36 countries
- Use Lego to explore famous landmarks in countries for kids
- Research and learn with these free Children around the World Worksheets
- Roll into Geography – Printable Geography Games
- Geography Treasure Hunt Activity
- Landforms Worksheets pdf free
- Snap Geography Games for Kids
- Read, Color and Learn about other countries with FREE country studies including: Vietnam For Kids and Greece for Kids and Peru for Kids and Kenya for Kids and Israel for Kids, plus many more!
- You can find all our FREE printable country coloring pages covering over 36 different nations – or jump right to Spain Coloring Pages, China Coloring Pages, Italy Coloring Pages, Chile Coloring Pages, Germany Coloring Pages, and Costa Rica Coloring Pages
United States Lesson for Kids
Help children learn about the great country of the United States with these free printables and resources:
- Free Presidents of the United States for Kids
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- Printable USA Presidents Coloring Pages
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- United States I Spy Worksheets
- How much do you know about USA for Kids? Color the flag, look at a map, discover famous landmarks like the statue of liberty,and more!
- American Symbols Worksheets
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- FREE USA State Flowers Scavenger Hunt Printables for Kids
Thank you for these! I had chosen this same set of books for our unit study, and when I found these blog posts it was a jackpot. Your ideas are fun and creative and should really help me bring this time period to life for the kids.