Created by gamedesk logo
Cross Curricular


As a civilian of what is widely considered the first civilization, build a vehicle that can transport goods more readily using the wheel.

grade level:
profile avatar
Created by


The Ancient Inventions curriculum explores the creation and spread of eight inventions across eight ancient cultures. Each invention/culture is a module composed of five lessons.

The inventions and corresponding cultures are:

  1. The wheeled vehicle in Ancient Mesopotamia (1700 BCE)
  2. The shaduf in Ancient Egypt (1470 BCE)
  3. The crane in Ancient Greece (465 BCE)
  4. Paper in Ancient China (105 CE)
  5. The arch in Ancient Rome (117 CE)
  6. The game Chaturanga in Ancient India (450 CE)
  7. The windmill in the Early Muslim Civilization (705 CE)
  8. The camera obscura in the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization (1000 CE)

The Ancient Inventions curriculum is designed to be an interdisciplinary STEAM experience. Within one module students are engaging in the disciplines of history, science, engineering, math, and English language arts. Using the Ancient Invention Kit materials, students learn about the ancient world, its key figures and histories, the engineering process, the physics and science behind the invention, math concepts behind the invention, different social roles, geography, and the importance of the invention for that civilization. The backbone of the experience has students engaging in the engineering design process. This is done by presenting students with a problem that a given culture faced. In order to solve that problem, they must build an invention. Students use common materials to fabricate simplified but functional versions of renowned inventions from these historical periods.

In each module, students:

  1. Immerse themselves in the historical culture through role­playing characters of the past
  2. Build a working model of an invention, and test and improve it
  3. Learn the scientific and mathematical principles behind the invention
  4. Exercise their knowledge of both the civilization and the invention through a board game
  5. Learn about the Engineering Method
  6. Apply engineering principles to a new, personal context
more less

Experience breakdown

Module Overview

In the Mesopotamia module, students learn about the Mesopotamian civilization at the time of the Babylonian Empire. They are introduced to the physics concepts of force, friction, and work. They learn how a wheeled vehicle moves across the ground with less force than a sleigh. They use a spring scale to compare the forces needed to pull a sleigh and a wheeled vehicle. Students learn that wheeled travel hastened the spread of knowledge and influence around the empire.

• Learn how inventions are developed and improved over time.
• Apply and understand the Engineering Method.
• Understand the importance of the wheel invention.
• Build a model wheeled vehicle.
• Understand how the wheel provides an advantage over a sleigh.
• Give examples about daily life in Ancient Mesopotamia by taking on the character of a person in that society.

Click here to edit header

Lesson 1: Who Were the Ancient Mesopotamians? (1-2 hours)
The class is broken into six different social groups from the ancient civilization. Each student will receive the role of a different character.
Lesson 2: What Did They Invent? (1 hour)
Students are introduced to an invention that is associated with the ancient Mesopotamian civilization. In their character groups, students proceed through the engineering process and build a physical model of that invention.
Lesson 3: How Did They Do It? (2-3 hours)
Students learn the mechanics of the invention, covering physics (reducing friction) and engineering principles. Students test their models, make measurements, collect data, and make observations. They use this data to improve the performance of their invention.
Lesson 4: Civilization Game (1-6 hours)
Students synthesize information about the ancient Mesopotamian culture through a game. Students answer questions, perform challenges, provide other groups with knowledge, and judge the quality of each other’s responses. Progress (and knowledge) is tracked through a game board, which offers the additional possibility of strategic play.
Lesson 5: Processing and Application (1 hour)
Students reflect on their experiences during the module. They apply their engineering and historical knowledge to solve a new problem.


topic discussion
comments powered by Disqus

Your feedback has been successfully sent! You will receive a response as soon as possible from a member of our Educade team.