This series takes students on a journey through time to experience what life was like for a child in ancient Israel. Sessions includes the use of video clips and power point presentations to take students on virtual visits to sites of historical interest.
Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6
Note: This is a six part series. Individual sessions can be ordered individually apart from the entire series.
Session 1: Discovering the Past – Where Did People Live?
How can we discover what it was like to live in ancient times? Using examples from Ancient Israel, students experience how archaeology enables us to uncover the past, and how some aspects of ancient life are still observable in modern life in the Middle East. They also examine how written sources from the time period can help them to discover where they might have lived had they grown up in ancient Israel – comparing the semi-nomadic life of the Patriarchs, characterized by tent dwelling, with the construction of ancient houses and cities, and with a non-conventional alternative form of housing in ancient Israel – the cave.
Session 2: Come with Me to Jerusalem: Celebrating Holidays
While today Jewish holidays are observed in the home and the synagogue, in ancient Israel people left their homes for the three pilgrimage festivals to celebrate at the Temple in Jerusalem. In this session, students learn about the importance of Jerusalem in the lives of all residents of Ancient Israel as they relive the holiday experience by retracing the steps of a young girl making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with her mother. Along the way, they make virtual stops at a 2000 year old ritual bath and at the main street of Jerusalem at that time, before arriving at the original steps leading up to the Temple.
Session 3: A Day in My Life
Unlike the daily life of a child today which is dominated by school, a child in ancient Israel spent much of his/her day working in the family fields, or taking care of chores such as bringing water from the local spring to the home. Students accompany a young girl as she attends to her chores, plays, studies, and visits an amphitheater. Through interactive activities, students examine the development of written and spoken Hebrew, and the innovative initiation of public education.
Session 4: Hanging Out at the City Gate
The gate of the city was the meeting place for much of the activity in ancient cities, including court cases involving young people. Students meet at the city gate to learn about justice in ancient times by role playing ancient court cases. They not only compare Jewish law with other ancient legal systems, but also understand the responsibilities shouldered by youth in those days.
Session 5: Weird Warfare
In the ancient world, Israel’s location made it one of the most sought after places in the world. As a result, warfare was common in ancient Israel – but wars were fought in a much different way than they are today. After the students examine why there were so many wars in ancient Israel, they look at the unique ways that people defended themselves – their defensive fortifications, their weapons, and their military strategies and how it’s changed today.
Session 6: Holy Cow! Food and Snacks in Ancient Times.
What did people eat in ancient Israel? Students interactively help a young girl prepare for a feast by exploring the seven agricultural species for which the Land of Israel was famous in ancient times – and the ways in which they were processed – e.g. the making of pita bread and the pressing of olive oil.