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Lost civilisations

abril 13, 2015

Recently, I have discovered really interesting educational projects dedicated to create or recreate a civilisation. Few weeks ago, The Buck Institute of Education published on its blog the project Lost! based on a famous TV serial. The students are isolated, stuck in an island in the middle of the ocean due to an airplane crash. As the consequence of that, they have to create a civilisation for surviving. Moreover, in IES Castillo de Fatetar (Espera, Cádiz) the Department of Geography and History implemented a similar experience but focused on the Ancient Age, in which students had to create a lost civilisation conquered by Rome some centuries ago. You can follow this experience clicking on the following links: first session, second session and more. These amazing experiences loaned me some ideas to develop the project Lost civilisations in my classroom.

Description of the project and final product

Lost civilisations is a project which encourages to the students to create an ancient civilisation based on the features of the first Mediterranean civilisations. Teams will produce a presentation or a video on their lost civilization which must include a description of the main characteristics of a civilisation, according to the tasks done during the term. At the end of the project, teams will present the main features of their civilisations to the rest of the class.

Maquette de Rome on Wikimedia Commons, License CC BY

Maquette de Rome on Wikimedia Commons, License CC BY


  1. Identify the first urban civilisations and understand their place in history.
  2. Understand the role of geography in the development of the ancient civilizations.
  3. Understand the social and economic organization of the ancient city-stared and the first empires.
  4. Recognise the importance of the invention of writing.
  5. Understand the religious beliefs of the ancient civilizations.
  6. Identify the characteristics of the ancient civilizations sculpture and architecture.
  7. Study and interpret different historical sources including texts, monuments, painting and sculptures.


  • Mesopotamia: the first city-states and the first empires.
  • Characteristics of the first writing systems.
  • Egypt: the rising of the Nile and the desert.
  • The Greek world.
  • Democracy in Athens. Athen’s Golden Age.
  • The kingdom of Macedonia and Alexander the Great.
  • The Roman Republic. Patricians and plebs. Assemblies and magistrates.
  • The Roman Empire.
  • Spain before the Roman Empire.
  • Ancient gods and religious beliefs.
  • Describe and analyse Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman art.
  • Make a concept map about the first urban civilizations.
  • Look up information about different aspects of ancient civilizations using diverse sources

Driving question

The students will be invited to create a civilisation with their group that withstands the test of time. Since much goes into planning a new civilization every single content area will be involved in the project. To do this, students learn about different aspects of ancient river valley civilisations and what characteristics are needed for a group of people to develop into an advanced civilization.


  • On-site people, facilities: all content teachers will have to make sure they cover the material for the project in their own class within enough time.
  • Equipment: laptops, Internet access, Google Docs, projector.
  • Materials: Computers, makers, posters, construction paper to start. Students will fill out a materials sheet if they need anything else, so they aren’t limited in their ideas and design.


Sutdents will do the following tasks focused on the creation of an ancient lost civilisation.

  1. A map of the lost civilization.
  2. Environment elements which make a livable place.
  3. A mockup of the main city, including a temple, a palace and neighbourhoods.
  4. A description of the political system and economic activities (monetary unit).
  5. Social structure diagram.
  6. Type of writing system.
  7. Organised religion and gods.
  8. Civilisation timeline: when did it appear, several stages and when and why did it disappear.
  9. Sources found: historical text and artwork.

Evaluation standards and rubric

The project has been designed for estimulating 21st century useful skills, such as collaborative work (initiate and participate effectively in arange of collaborative discussions), communication (present information, findings, and supporting evidence for a given purpose, audience, and task) investigation (searching and analysing information from several sources), critical hhinking (delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text) and reason abstractly and quantitatively.

The project will be evaluated through the following rubric:

Would you appeal to be a raider of lost worlds? You only need your imagination for travelling across the time…

Istanbul Archaelogy Museum on Wikimedia Commons, License PD

Istanbul Archaelogy Museum on Wikimedia Commons, License PD


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