Mystery of History Volume 1: Week 3: The Sumerians, The Tower of Babel, The Epic of Gilgamesh

Mystery of History Volume 1

See my main page for this course and the explanations of resources used.

Lesson 7: The Sumerians

We began the week with the Pretest for Week 3 for the older kids. The younger kids started the Coloring Page for Week 3 while I read the lesson aloud. Then I had the older kids note the terms in bold, while younger kids answer the questions in their notebook (information pages). We did the map activity and added Sumerians to the timeline.

From Draw and Write Through History, all of the kids drew and labeled a zigurrat. And since I have been hoarding Usborne books for years and years, I had plenty for the kids to read on all levels. All of these are so good, each for different age kids. See second photo for how they look in the Sumerians/Mesopotamia years.

Sumerians Usborne Books
Sumerians Usborne Books

Next, we made cuneiform tablets with air-dry clay. I just googled cuneiform and found several pages of symbols for the kids to copy. It was not easy! Their language was very complicated.

Cuneiform tablet craft activity

We took a virtual tour of Sumerian artifacts from the British Museum. Click this link to see photos of many different artifacts, each with plenty of interesting information.

Copy work for this lesson:

The Sumerians populated Mesopotamia following the Great Flood. Because of Sumer’s location (near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers), it’s been nicknamed the “Fertile Crescent.” But for the ingenuity of the Sumerian people, Sumer has been nicknamed the “Cradle of Civilization.”

This is a lesson you can get very hands-on with! I’ve saved LOTS of Sumerian lessons and activities on this Pinterest board. You could spend days and days having fun with this subject.

Lesson 8: The Tower of Babel

We read Genesis 10 and part of Genesis 11 before reading the lesson aloud. I also took a photo of the map in the book with my iPhone, and then cast the photo to the TV so the kids could see it as I read aloud. This map was so good. We talked about the dispersion if people and how ethnic groups formed over generations.

This lesson has so much relevance to current events (think: races). We studied the Bible Timeline Chart with World History, looking at the way the descendants of Noah dispersed throughout the world and the nations that came from them! We even discussed which son of Noah we might have descended from (with our very English roots).

Answers.TV has a movie about the Tower of Babel here.

Answers in Genesis has a book (and video) called One Race, One Blood that is an excellent read for teens and adults about the evolutionary history of racism. There is a curriculum as well as a children’s book. You can find all of these editions here.

My younger kids did this copy work:

And they said, Come let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:4

Come, Let us God down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.  Genesis 11:7

The Tower of Babel is a great topic for worldview discussion, history, geography, and apologetics.

Lesson 9: The Epic of Gilgamesh

I really enjoyed this lesson because of the tie-ins with Scripture. This article from Ken Ham is AMAZING. We encountered it as part of our Apologetics Master Class from AiG, and the timing was so perfect. It talks about myths, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Genesis account of the flood, the patriarchs, and the authority of scripture. I read it aloud to my kids.

We did not read the actual epic, but I did give my younger children this one to read:

Epic of Gilgamesh

We read the MOH lesson, took notes and filled in the notebooking pages, and the younger kids did the following copy work:

An epic is a long poem written about something factual or fictional in the past. The Epic of Gilgamesh is about a legendary hero, a king of Uruk, who falls asleep under a tree and wakes up to a snake who has robbed him of eternal life.

This short video (obviously produced by a homeschooler 😊) introduces Epic poetry:

This Crash Course video is for older kids. My 12 and 14 year olds will watch it. There is a very brief mention of rape, FYI, so parents may want to preview it first.

We looked up photos of the cuneiform tablets that contain the Epic on them.

Our version of IEW Ancient History Writing Lessons has a 3-part lesson on Gilgamesh called The Plant of Life. We did these over about two weeks (even though it overlapped into other lessons).

At the end of these three lessons, we did the Week 3: What Did You Miss quiz, mapping activities, and added these events to our timelines.

Follow the entire course with us at the main Mystery of History Volume 1 page here.

Do you have some fun ideas for these lessons? Comment below!

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Nicki Truesdell

2nd-generation homeschooler, author of Anyone Can Homeschool, and mother of 5.

Texas born and raised, she is a homemaker at heart, and loves books, freedom, history and quilts. 

Nicki believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. 

Nicki is also a member of the
Texas Home Educators Board of Directors.  

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