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Summer SAVY, Session 1 Day 1, Ancient Roots and Ruins (5th – 6th)

Posted by on Monday, June 10, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

Salve! We had a wonderful first day in Ancient Roman Ruins. After some icebreakers and welcome activities, students learned about the process of naming people in Ancient Rome and created their own Roman names and identities for the week! From there, we dove straight into our discussions of how and why ancient Rome is often considered the inspiration for so many civilizations. We examined the Latin phrases that are still used today, the Roman numeral system, Roman roads, ancient architecture, and the aqueduct system to understand how those feats of technology paved the way for modern inventions.  

From there, we dove into the historical background of the Roman Republic, which preceded the Roman Empire. After learning about the Roman creation myth, the 7 Hills of Rome, and the Punic Wars, we ended with a brief study of Caesar and his contributions to the Roman way of life. Students did a great job engaging in discussion about the Roman Republic’s land expansion campaigns and the decisions that paved the way for Caesar and, later, Augustus, to claim power as an emperor. We will deepen this investigation tomorrow as we learn about the Roman Empire in more detail! 

In the late afternoon, students began working on their own Roman-style cities, which they will be creating throughout the week. Today, the students began brainstorming the large-scale map of their city, the road structure they would use, the transportation systems, and street names. As we learn about more elements of ancient Roman life, students will have the opportunity to add more and more to their city, and they will present their completed projects at the end of the week! 

Some key takeaways from today: understanding the cultural significance of ancient Roman culture in modern day, discovering the feats of ancient technology and improving on them, critically considering the benefits and costs of Roman military advancement, and applying the lessons to create a “new and improved” Roman city.  

Some dinner table questions: 

  • What is the “theme” for your city, and why? 
  • Why did the Romans choose to build on hills, and how does it help us understand the priorities of the ancient Roman cities? 
  • What is your Roman name for the week? How did you decide on your name? Who would refer to you by your praenomina? Your cognomina?  

I look forward to seeing the students tomorrow! 


Meara Waxman