Ancient Civilizations

Museums create exhibits that help us to learn about people and places from the past. Exhibits can contain pictures, drawings, maps, and actual objects from the past.

This year, you studied the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, and Mali. If you were to create an exhibit about these three civilizations, what should it include? What type of things would best represent these three civilizations?


The Parthenon in Greece

The Coliseum in Rome

Mosque of Djenné in Mali

Your Task

Your job is to design a museum exhibit for other students studying these three ancient civilizations. You get to decide the best objects to put in your museum exhibit.

Your exhibit must include a map that shows where these civilizations existed. You can download a map template below. Your teacher may also have map templates printed out for you. Your should include the following on your map:

You can list other types of materials to include in your exhibit that represent the three ancient civilizations. If time allows, you may be able to find images for your exhibit.

What else should be in your exhibit? How will you demonstrate the importance of these three ancient civilizations on our lives today? Would you put that information on your map? Or would you use other objects?

Map templates (Before downloading any map, make sure your teacher hasn't already printed out a template for you.):

A rubric (in progress).

Standards of Learning that can be addressed by this task.

Note: The degree to which these standards are addressed is dependent upon the scope of the activity as implemented by individual teachers.

Some essential questions addressed by this activity.

3.1 The student will explain how the contributions of ancient Greece and Rome have influenced the present world in terms of architecture, government (direct and representative democracy), and sports.

3.2 The student will study the early West African empire of Mali by describing its oral tradition (storytelling), government (kings), and economic development (trade).

3.4 The student will develop map skills by

    1. locating Greece, Rome, and West Africa;
    2. describing the physical and human characteristics of Greece, Rome, and West Africa;
    3. Possible: explaining how the people of Greece, Rome, and West Africa adapted to and/or changed their environment to meet their needs.

3.5 The student will develop map skills by

  1. positioning and labeling the seven continents and five oceans to create a world map
  2. using the equator and prime meridian to identify the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Hemispheres;
  3. locating the countries of Spain, England, and France;
  4. not addressed
  5. locating specific places, using a simple letter-number grid system.

3.6 The student will read and construct maps, tables, graphs, and/or charts.

  • How does the past influence our lives today?
  • What’s important about a society?
  • What would you use to best represent our society? Others?
  • What do maps tell us? How can we use maps to explain our lives? The world we live in?
  • What’s the best way to share information? What’s the right type of display for different information?

All images used on this site and the maps in the handouts are in the public domain.

Please note: This performance task was developed with input by teachers, instructional coaches, and other dedicated educators in the Martinsville City Public Schools. You are free to use this task, but do please give credit to John Ross and Martinsville City Public Schools if you do use it.