02. Ancient Mediterranean, Art & Humanities, Teaching

Lesson Plan: Ziggurats vs. Pyramids

Lesson Plan: Ziggurats vs. Pyramids

This past year for Humanities, I designed various stations to compare and contrast the cultures of the Ancient Near East and Egypt in preparation for their final test. One of the stations I set up was “Ziggurats vs. Pyramids.” In this station, students are asked to read the blog post “Ziggurats and Pyramids” and answer four short questions on the function and shape of ziggurats and pyramids. I gave them a bonus point if they could come up with another building that is also pyramid-shaped (from any time period or culture).

**Disclaimer: this is just one station of many and this activity does not take the students more than 10 minutes, MAX.

Now that I teach AP World History (*this was was written before the 1200 CE start date redesign), I was able to incorporate this topic into a recent essay my students did. To teach the Early Civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, I had the students in groups looking at different overarching topics to research for their comparative essay that was assigned that night for homework.

Some of the topics I assigned are:

  • Politics and social structure
  • Culture and religion
  • Art and architecture
  • Scientific contributions
  • Geography and environment
  • Trade and interaction

Most of the students in the art and architecture group compared ziggurats and pyramids in their essay. I am trying my hardest to incorporate the arts and culture into AP World History will still teaching all of the essential knowledge their need for their AP test in May. So far, it’s successful!


P.S. Even though this lesson is one I do in Humanities it can easily also be adapted and expanded to teach the White Temple and its ziggurat and Great Pyramids and Great Sphinx in the AP Art History curriculum.

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