This fall the 5th Grade Class participated in a project combining history with art in a unique and fun cross-curricular approach to learning about Ancient Mesopotamia.
In Art Class, the children made small model reed boats, called Mashuf boats, with materials found on Powhatan’s wooded campus. It took three weeks to build the boats while they were simultaneously learning about the time period in history Class. Once the lessons and the boats were finished, the project culminated with a boat race to determine which of the boats was most sea-worthy.
“We were learning about transportation in the Mesopotamian era,” said 5th Grade teacher Ross Mulry. “Most ancient cultures were based near water, as it was the most efficient way to travel. The idea of the Mashuf boat surfaced. We were looking for a way to make it real for the children, a constructionist classroom, where they would learn by doing – not by being passive. We talked about how we could achieve this and use the resources here on campus.”
“We do quite a bit of cross-curricular work here,” says Mr. Royston, the Upper School art teacher. “At the beginning of the year they were studying ancient Greece, so we made Hellenistic Era clay vases to accompany the unit.”
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