Grade 7: Which empire was kinder and gentler to their colonized subjects? (part 1)

This lesson can be integrated into a unit on Ancient Rome in Social Studies. In particular this lesson fits well when discussing the expansion of the Roman Empire. It can also be integrated into Language Arts and Social Responsibility. This lesson examines perspective. Students will be asked to compare and contrast colonization practices in Ancient Rome to the British Empire in North America. Students will be asked to create counter – arguments with one side supporting the statement the British Empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects than the Roman Empire, and the other side supporting the statement the Roman Empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects than their British counterparts in North America. This lesson will take several class sessions to complete.

Objectives

It is expected that…

  • Students will demonstrate the effects and consequences of contact and conflict between ancient cultures
  • Students will demonstrate their ability to defend and support an issue by considering a competing perspective

Materials

  • Computer

Activities

Teacher discusses the term colonization with students.
Teacher discusses the expansion of the Roman Empire (The teacher may have to dedicate 1 to 2 lessons to this)
Teacher asks students to examine the Roman Empire through textbook and internet links looking in particular at how the Roman Empire colonization practices affected the colonized groups individual/group rights, religion, and values. Furthermore, how was the Roman Empire influenced by the nations they colonized? Students repeat the above activity examining the British Empire’s colonization practices with the Aboriginal Peoples.
Teacher divides the students into two groups. One group will argue the following statement: The British Empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects than the Roman Empire. The second group will argue the following statement: The Roman Empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects than the British Empire were to the Aboriginal Peoples.
Students research and write an essay, which they will use to help formulate their argument for the classroom debate.
Student debate while teacher facilitates.

Assessment

  • Student essay
  • Student debate

Extension

  • Students respond to the following challenge question:
    Roman Empire: Nation of warriors or a nation of refined people?
    British Empire: Nation of greed or a nation of refined people?