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Crafting History: 6th Graders’ Hands-On Study of Ancient Rome

Suha Faruk

At the end of the first semester,Mr. Hisham’s 6th grade social studies class undertook a final project that delved into the world of Roman architecture. Following a quarter throughout which they explored the history and culture of ancient Rome, the students concluded their studies by focusing on the architectural wonders of the era. Mr. Hisham tasked them with constructing models of the Pantheon, a structure renowned as the first monolithic dome in recorded history, emphasizing its significance in Islamic architecture as seen in mosques. 

In groups of three, students worked on the project for about two weeks outside of class. As the deadline approached, they were given the opportunity to bring their works in progress to school on the final two days of the assignment to receive advice and constructive feedback from Mr. Hisham, allowing them to add finishing touches and see the works of other groups. Students crafted their models with meticulous attention to details such as distinctive columns and the oculus—an aperture at the top of the dome designed to illuminate the inside with sunlight.

Reflecting on the assignment, Mr. Hisham said, “The most rewarding part of the assignment was seeing the kids’ hands-on talent. Even if a student had trouble with other aspects of school, like tests, their practical skills shined through.”

This hands-on learning experience not only honed students' craftsmanship but also showcased their innate abilities, regardless of academic challenges they may face. Through the project, students acquired valuable skills in problem-solving, teamwork, and attention to detail, setting a strong foundation for future endeavors in both academics and practical applications.

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