Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why Zag When You Can Ziggurat?

Ziggurats of all shapes, sizes and materials were built recent by Pottstown Middle School students as part of a unit on ancient Mesopotamia.

Middle school students have been known to be very active and can do a great deal of “zigging” and “zagging.”

Pottstown Middle School sixth grade teacher Desiree Schwoyer has found a way to harness some of that energy and creativity to teach a lesson in ancient history. Students were given the assignment to build a model Mesopotamian Ziggurat.

The ziggurat, precursor of the pyramid, was a temple built for worship.

Schwoyer said, “I have been doing this project for five years and the students’ enthusiasm and participation is fantastic. It is obvious that they enjoy learning by ‘hands-on’ activities.”

After an introduction to ziggurats on the essential parts, students were expected to create and build one at home.

Each student had to do additional research to find out what the temples looked like and how they were created. 

Students were able to not only create their own design but determine what materials they wanted to use in the construction.

Some chose to purchase craft store materials, however, many used their imagination and creativity to take items found around the home to build their temples. 

Several students even added some flavor to their models by using rice krispies, cake, and candy.

Amy Gazzillo, math and science teacher, helped play an integral role in the process of assisting students in understanding design elements and how to best use construction materials.

The entire project was a team effort from beginning to end with students and staff. 

Because the projects were completed at home, many parents had the opportunity to see their children use their imagination and creativity to complete the assignment.

Schwoyer said, “I have continued to assign this project because of the enthusiasm that it brings to learning."

Parents and students expressed how much they enjoyed the assignment and frequently asked – What can my child design and build next? Designing and building the model gave opportunity for every student to show their skills.”

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