The Romans in Britain Workshop - Follow Up Lesson Ideas

After the Romans in Britain workshop there are lots of ways to follow up on what the children have done and learned. Some of these ideas allow you to link history with other subjects, such as literacy, science, geography, citizenship, art and DT.

Roman Town Lesson Ideas

1. Show children the town game on this website. See if they can tell what sort of building each photo shows. Discuss with them what each building was used for.

2. Get children to research a particular type of building (they can use this website). They can write a page and/or present a talk to the rest of the class about their building. They could also do a drawing of that building. These pieces of work could be displayed next to the model of the town

3. Hold a debate - was it better to live in a Celtic village or a Roman town? What were the pros and cons of each? (do some research/reading/teaching of this beforehand). Examples of ideas - lots more to do in a Roman town; more people to make friends with and to do business with; more food and other goods to buy from shops; better defences (stone walls); however, more crowded, noisy, and dirty - no refuse collections!; more crime, with no police and no street lights at night.

4. Discuss/write a page on how life would have changed for a (fairly well-off) Celtic family moving from a village to a Roman town. Would they have preferred their new life? Why? What would have been the most important changes for them? Why? What would they have enjoyed most and disliked most about their new life?

5. Discuss/debate the benefits of living in a modern town versus a country village or farm. Why do people choose to live in either area nowadays?

6. Discuss/debate the pros and cons of living in a modern town vs. a Roman town. What do we have they they did not? Imagine going back in time and living in a Roman town. What would you miss most? Why? Could you get used to the new life? Would it be better in any way? How?

7. Each child brings in one item (or a picture of an item) which they would take back in time with them to a Roman town. Do a show and tell in which they say why they would take it. What would a Roman make of the item? At the end everyone votes for the 3 best items.

8. Write a story in which you go back in time to a Roman town and can take one item with you. What happens? How are the people different from you? How do you get on with them? (Assume the child has learned to speak Latin first!).

9. Do a short play/improv in which a child from the present goes back to a Roman town and meets a Roman/British child. What questions would they ask? How would the Roman child answer?

10. Discuss/write about a visit to the amphitheatre, temple, shops, or the baths. What is it like? What happens? How do you feel? Why did Roman/British people like these activities so much? what does this tell us about them? What sort of people were they? Were they different from us? How?

Do people today do anything similar to these activities? (e.g. a boxing/wrestling match compared to the amphitheatre, a modern swimming pool/sauna/stem room compared to Roman baths, modern market place compared to a forum) How are they different or similar nowadays?

11. Draw a picture of a type of Roman building. Add some labels/captions based on research.

12. Draw a Celtic roundhouse.

13. Make a model of a roundhouse. Discuss first how it can be made. You will need a base, a circular wall, and a cone, and something to represent the thatching, such as straw glued on.

14. Look at photos/reconstructions of Celtic (iron age) hill forts. Discuss why they have this design (as well as earthen ramparts, they also had log palisades). Design and draw your own hill fort.

15. Design/plan/draw a Roman town. Label all the buildings. Give it a non-rectangular shape, as most were not rectangular. Look at some plans/maps of British Roman towns first, like Silchester or Caistor.

16. Research the Roman's water supply and drainage technology (aqueducts, public latrines, baths, sewers, fountains etc.). How did this change life for British people living in towns? What would life be like nowadays if we did not have running water, flushing toilets and drains or sewers? How do you think Celtic villagers coped with the need for water and waste disposal?

17. Discuss crime and safety in Roman and modern towns. What would life have been like in a large town with no police or lighting at night? What would life be like today with no police? Discuss/debate why we need police. What should the powers of a police officer be? (Note, the Romans did have laws, courts, and soldiers to guard the town walls and gates. Theft was a civil offence however and thieves had to be brought to justice by the victim).

18. Look at aerial photos of Roman towns and try to identify buildings, walls, streets etc. How big is the town?

19. Discuss what remains of Romans towns and what doesn't, and why (stone lasts, wood does not; stone blocks have always been stolen from buildings by later peoples to make their own buildings).

20. Visit a Roman site such as Castlefields in Manchester, Chester, or York. Identify types of building. Draw the remains. Draw a reconstruction of the building from what is left. Research the site - what sort of settlement was here, its history etc. Write a page about the site. Discuss what life would have been like for those who lived or worked at the site.

21. Maths link: Nets. Click on these links to go to worksheets for teaching children more about nets. These activities teach children about the net shapes need to make a house, why certain shapes and line lengths are needed, where the flaps must go, and where features such as doors and windows have to go. This is suitable if they have already learned about nets in numeracy. You may have to teach them how to cut and fold the net to make the house.

Activity sheet 1           Activity sheet 2            Activity sheet 3


Artefact-Related Lesson Ideas

1.  Show children the artefact game on this website. For each artefact, see if they can say whether the artefact is Celtic or Roman, what it is, and what it is made of.

2. Get children to do their own research on Celtic or Roman artefacts, using books or the internet. They can choose an artefact, draw it, give a talk about it write about it. Also children could give a talk or write about the following questions related to their artefact: What can we learn from artefacts about the lives of ancient people? How was the artefact made? Who would have owned it? What sort of people were the Romans and the Celts? How were their lives different?

3. The children take it in turns to show the rest of the class the artefact they made in the workshop, telling everyone what it is and how they made it. They could do further research too and tell the class more.

4. The children write a label for the museum display explaining what their artefact is, and giving some information on it.

5. Children write a set of instructions for how they made their artefact. This could include drawings, or photos if they use a computer.

6. Hold a class discussion or debate about whether they children prefer Roman or Celtic styles of art, and why. This could be followed by writing up their beliefs, perhaps with drawings or photos.

7. Look at all the artefacts made in the workshop (and perhaps some photos, from the internet etc.). Discuss the overall differences in style between Celtic and Roman art. How can the children describe this difference?

8. Children design their own Roman or Celtic shield, using pictures from books/the internet to give them design ideas. They can draw or paint pictures (or even make shields from cardboard).

9. Children design a piece of Celtic or Roman jewellery (necklace, earrings, brooch, etc.) based on what they have learned in the workshop or from further research. They can draw it, paint it, or make it.

10. Small groups invent a scene to act, or improvise on the spot, using the artefacts the class made.

11. Discuss/debate/write about whether the Roman invasion in AD43 was good or bad (or both) for the Celts, and why. How did the lives of the Celts change? Relate this to the artefacts they used.

12. Discuss how our lives might be different today if the Romans had never invaded, or if we had never been influenced by them at all. Would there be any benefits to living like the Celts did 2,000 years ago? (further research would help this activity).

13. Write a story set in ancient Britain with Celts and/or Romans (or a time travel story), incorporating several of the artefacts, showing how they were used and why they were important.

14. Read 'The Mildenhall Treasure' by Roald Dahl (suitable for year 4 and up) with the class. It tells of the discovery of the most important treasure trove ever found in Britain. Some of the silver plates were  copied by children in the workshop. The whole treasure is now in the British Museum; you can show children pictures from their website. Then discuss  what it must have been like to find such a hoard. Discuss what happened after the discovery (the discoverer, Gordon Butcher, was cheated out of a fortune). What do children think should happen if treasure is discovered? Who should own it? Does the public have a right to see it? (you can connect this to the discovery of Tutankhamun if the children have studied ancient Egypt; Howard Carter thought he should have kept half the treasure but the Egyptian government kept it all).

15. Children write a story (or do a play) about finding a treasure trove (Celtic or Roman), and what happens next.

16. Discuss what sorts of artefacts last underground for 2,000 years and can be seen in museums. Why these sorts of objects? Discuss materials - which rot and which last. Does this give us a fair picture of all the artefacts used in ancient times? If not, how can we learn about the types of objects that rarely last? Discuss artistic representations and ancient writing. Such writing rarely describes objects in detail however. Discuss what are good or bad conditions for artefacts to last. Dry conditions are best - hence many wooden or papyrus objects have survived from ancient Egypt and the Middle East, but few such objects have survived in damp, muddy Britain.

17. Compare life in ancient times to modern times. How do our modern artefacts make life different today? Discuss modern materials such as plastic and metals the Romans and Celts did not have. Is life much easier or better for us now because of these modern materials and objects?

18. Compare the style of modern artefacts to ancient - do we make everyday objects look as beautiful as ancient artists made them? Discuss why - modern production methods, economics etc.

19. Do we still have any objects/forms of art today which the Romans or Celts used? Show pictures of modern mosaics, stone carvings, jewellery, mirrors, board games, silverware, etc. Discuss the similarities and differences. Which do the children prefer?

20. Make a mosaic from pieces of coloured paper. Children design their own or try to copy a real Roman mosaic (it should be quite simple, or for a complex mosaic a group should create it.)