Thursday 13 June 2013

The Italian Experience - The Disaster

For some reason, we did not study the infamous eruption of Mount Vesuvius when we studied Ancient Rome.  Luckily, we get to do it this time round because of Marco Polo.  Who would have guessed?

We started by reading many books about the event in Pompeii:


This was followed by several cross-curricula activities from this book, which included learning about Pliny the Elder's route (geography), reading a play version of the story of Pliny the Elder as narrated by his nephew (comprehension, drama, reading), and labeling parts of a volcano (earth science).  The more hands-on activity was the making of a topologic map, 3D model of Mount Vesuvius.

Tiger used some terracota-coloured clay and worked layer-by-layer using the copy of the topologic map provided in the book.  The final result:

Originally, I only intended to watch one documentary, but we ended up watching three different ones to get a really good understanding of the event from different perspectives:

With a good understanding of the event, we were able to better appreciate our visit to the Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition that is currently showing at the British Museum.

While we were there, Tiger attended a full-day workshop related to the exhibition.  At the workshop, the children were introduced to several re-enactors who took on different roles as people who were in Pompeii on that fateful day in AD79: Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, a freed slave girl, a rich merchant, a priestess, a slave.  Through their interaction with these different characters inside the exhibition hall, the children were given good insights into life in Pompeii at that time, how people lived, their different roles, and how the Roman societal hierachy was organised.

We enjoyed our visit to the British Museum so much that we are going to relive the experience on the big screen next week!

This post is linked up to:
  1. June Culture Swapper 
  2. History and Geography Meme #78
  3. Hobbies and Handicrafts - June 14
  4. Collage Friday - Try Not to Destroy Their Imagination
  5. Weekly Wrap-Up: Camp Week
  6. Science Sunday: Happy Father's Day
  7. Hip Homeschool Hop - 6/18/13


  1. I really love your relief map, such a great idea!
    Hwee, you do seem to get very lucky as to what is available (field trip wise) linked to whatever you are currently studying!!

  2. We learned about Pompeii this year, too. Your resources and activities look great.

  3. This time round it's pure luck and a bit of planning. It just so happens that we are exploring each country slowly with Marco Polo, and therefore still in Italy so when the British Museum exhibition comes up, we are able to tie Pompeii in. Some people might see this as a far stretch from a strict Marco Polo study (due to them being in different eras) but there's always a way to fit something into, if we really want to. :-)

  4. Wow! You read a lot of books and found several documentaries to watch. We recently studied Pompeii too, but read completely different books and watched a different documentary. I will bookmark this so we can watch some other videos.

    The documentary we saw was focused more on the volcano than the city. How the Earth Works, Vesuvius was fascinating.

  5. Thank you for sharing the link, Julie. The documentary looks like something we can use for our volcano study later on, which ties in nicely with this Pompeii study. :-)

  6. I love your resources for this subject. What a great study.
    Blessings, Dawn

  7. Thank you, Dawn. I'm glad you find them useful. :-)

  8. There's something about Pompeii that intrigues, isn't there. We studied it when there was an exhibition at our local museum a few years ago. I'd love to visit!

  9. Ages and ages ago when I was in high school I got to go to Europe and Pompeii was one of the visits, and it was AMAZING! It was just a whirlwind run through, but it was pretty cool.

    I'm jealous your kids got to go with a bit of a reenactment.
    Oh, and PS: Thanks for linking up!

  10. What a great opportunity to visit the museum and see re-enactors! I love living history. :)

  11. I was always fascinated by Pompeii when I was a kid. What a great way for your son to learn all about it! Must be nice to be able to visit the museum. Sounds like a wonderful exhibit! And the relief map turned out great. Thanks for linking up to the Culture Swapper!


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