Ancient people were a pretty clever bunch. They invented many things to make their life more comfortable and fun, things we still use today like fire, the wheel, the sailboat, paper, silk, kites, tea, umbrellas, ice cream and many more!
Ancient Inventions for Kids
Lesson: Review of Ancient
Open lesson by sharing all or part of the following: People, in ancient civilizations, were very creative. Bathing in nearby streams and rivers was a cooling and enjoyable activity. What else did the ancients invent to stay cool? (The following information on ancient cooling is from an article written by Gilly at Ancient/Classical History. This information is used with her permission.)
Mesopotamia/Babylonians: There were ice houses in the Near East as early as 1700 BC! Some ancient Babylonians splashed water on the walls and floors. As it evaporated, it cooled their homes. Sunshades were also popular.
Ancient Egypt: The ancient Egyptians made their own ice. Women placed shallow clay trays of water on straw beds. Evaporation, combined with the drop in night temperatures, froze the water. Cool night air circulated from the air shaft built in the middle of their houses. Windows were arranged opposite doors to allow for a cross draft.
Ancient Greece: Alexander the Great built the first Greek ice house. Even normal Greeks and Roman bought snow and ice, at snow shops, that was imported on donkey trains! Wealthy Greeks washed up and cooled down in showers with piped in water emerging from an artistic structure shaped like an animal's mouth.
Ancient Rome: Deep pits were filled with snow and covered with straw. Water melted and ran through forming a bottom layer of ice which was sold at expensive prices. Women carried parasols which were made of light cloth stretched over a wooden frame.
Ancient China: Chou emperors had ice houses! Hu the Tiger (Age of Division) had a bathhouse, air-conditioned with a creative system of running water. Fans and sunshades helped to cool the common people.
Handout: Your Job (student's job): Review the gifts the world has received from each civilization below. Choose one civilization. Brainstorm within your group what the world would be like today if this civilization had never invented these things, and no one else had either! Be prepared to share three examples of world change, and how that change might affect you.
Ancient Mesopotamia: the wheel, the sailboat, the first written laws, Hammurabi's Code
Ancient Egypt: a number system based on 10, a 365 day calendar, use of textiles to make clothing (linen, wool, cotton)
Ancient Greece: trial by jury, democracy, the Olympics
Ancient Rome concrete, paved roads, the milestone (road signs)
Ancient China: the compass, paper, gunpowder.