In this unit students will gain a well-rounded understanding of the Roman Empire and the causes for its downfall. Students will demonstrate their understanding through a series of 10 authentic activities, where students will contribute to the creation of their own knowledge through solving and answering real world problems/situations. This unit is designed to last 2 weeks, with 1 lesson per day, 5 days per week. The duration of each lesson should be 60 minutes.
This 2-week, 10 lesson unit will start off with student exploration of empire creation so that students learn the common requirements and steps of empire formations worldwide throughout history. Students will then jump into Roman architecture and engineering. This is important early on because Rome functioned only because of their structures and engineering, specifically their roads and aqueducts. Students will learn about Roman philosophy and politics in the following lesson, which lays the groundwork for understanding Roman values, thinking, and governance. The following lesson on Bread & Circuses ties in directly with Roman politics and the relationship between the elite and the regular citizens of Rome. Students will act out their own performances as they learn about Roman theatre in Lesson 5. Roman theatre fits well here because it often acted as a narrative for contemporary commentary on social and political life. Lesson 6 covers Roman religion, which strongly influenced Roman social life and values. This lesson introduces the major contributions and changes Christianity brought to Rome. Lesson 7 covers Roman art, which was heavily influenced by both the pagan gods and Christianity. Following religion and art, necessarily comes the lesson on Constantine and the Byzantine empire. Constantine was the Emperor who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and also moved its capital. Lesson 9 covers Emperor Justinian and the creation of the Corpus Juris Civilis, or Justinian’s legal code. This lesson covers the laws of the late Roman Empire and gives great insight into Roman society. In Lesson 10, students will explore the geography of the Roman Empire at its peak and will discover the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire.