Discovering the Romans through Projects

Heather Paff - Latin Teacher
One of my favorite things about Harbor Day School’s World Language Program is the way we incorporate projects into our classes. Students learn so much more when they are able to get their hands into the material and use their creativity. Harbor Day provides students with the technology and other resources that enable students to produce some amazing projects that I would like to share with you.
In sixth grade students learn about the rooms and layout of a typical Roman house. To help students solidify the terminology as well as learn vocabulary and practice oral Latin, students created videos using the Green Screen app to give tours of their Roman house in Latin! In the past, students have also given tours of a Roman house in Minecraft with help from technology teacher Mr. Pikula. Click the links to see the videos for the Green Screen Tour by Colton and the Minecraft Tour by Makenzie.

When they learn about Roman clothing, students make their own 3-D printed bullas with the help of Tinkercad and technology teacher, Mr. Gapp. Bullae were apotropaic charms worn as necklaces by Roman children to protect them until they reached adulthood. Students designed their bullae in Tinkercad using the first initial of their Latin name. Students wear their bullae in class for the first quarter and then thereafter for luck on assessments, if they wish.

Sixth grade students also learn about water in Latin class! Romans loved bathing and to support their love of bathing and large populations they piped in water from long distances through an extensive network of aqueducts. Students learn about aqueducts and the arches that made aqueducts possible through a project. First, students learned about keystone arches by manipulating plaster blocks molded in ice cube trays. Students learned that the keystone pushes out on the other blocks thereby counteracting the downward forces of gravity. Students create a presentation about an aqueduct and one of the various aspects of aqueducts. See the aqueduct presentation by Caden and Sarah

While reading a story in Latin about a Roman artist creating a fresco in the dining room of Caecilius, sixth grade students learn about Roman frescoes and mosaics. They make observations about what they can learn about Roman culture and mythology through mosaics and frescoes. They make observations about the design of Roman mosaics. Students then read a mythological story and design their own mosaics using ceramic tiles and sanded grout. After this project is completed, Latin students appreciate the artistry and detail of ancient Roman mosaics much more than just looking at them. This year, students created mosaics based upon the Odyssey and the monsters Odysseus met in his travels.

In all grade levels, students make memes and videos to teach others about mythology or Roman history. Some students have opted to create their own animation, do voice-overs, or use stop motion to teach their peers about their topics. Last year, the eighth graders completed a capstone project in which they made children’s books in Latin about a topic in Roman mythology or history. Then they created bilingual videos to read their books. Check out the project by HDS alumnus Grant F. ‘20.

It is exciting to see how students bring history back to life!

Harbor Day School

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Harbor Day School is a co-educational private independent K-8 school established in 1952.