Fertile Crescent Group Project

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Fertile Crescent Group Project

  1. Analyze the lyrics of the song, read the handouts and research the group of people that were assigned to your group. The information given in these sources should give you and your group a basic understanding of these people. Your group will present this information.

  2. As a group, you will answer the questions below on a separate piece of paper. You can use this information to help your group’s painting and your short story.

  3. As a group, you will use this information to create a picture that best represents your people. The picture must be large, colorful, detailed and provide information about your people. Think of it as a painting, or a magnificent piece of art! Your group will present this painting.

  4. Next, you will write a fictional story that explains your “painting.” The story must include at least one significant character, one significant battle, and one significant fact about your assigned people. It also must include at least 3 vocabulary words from the book. Just like all stories, it must have a plot, character, conflict, theme and setting. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and be creative!

Group Questions

  1. Who are the people that I have been assigned?

  2. When and where did they live?

  3. Who was their leader? Was it one person or a group of people?

  4. Who were their enemies? Who were their friends?

  5. How did they become powerful? How were they conquered?

  6. What lasting influence did they leave on history?

  7. What things do you use in your life that can be credited to them? Why?

  8. Imagine that you were one of these people. Describe a day in your life. How do you imagine life would be like?

Each group member will answer these questions. You will use this information to create a “painting” and a short story.

Fertile Crescent” Lyrics
A Sumerian:
We’re chilling like it’s summer, in our Sumerian city-states,
Inventing the arch, we put it on our city gates.
We built the temples, ziggurats,
We’re swimming when it’s very hot,
In the Tigris and Euphrates, baby.
In the Tigris and Euphrates, baby.
In the Tigris and Euphrates, baby.
Each city is unique, we don’t have to wear a uniform,
But when we’re writing it, we write it in cuneiform.

I roll through, invading them; I’m Sargon the Great,
Empire builder for the Akkadians.

Sorry Sargon, your empire couldn’t last,
I babble on these tracks, put Babylon on the maps.
I’m Hammurabi, you can call me Papi,
Made a strict code, ’cause your laws were sloppy.
Hammurabi’s Code matches tooth for tooth,
Poke an eye out and get yours poked out too.

An Assyrian:
We’re the Assyrians, assassins,
Seriously dangerous when we're blasting, we took your men captive.
Burnt Babylon, built a library instead,
With that old book: Epic of Gilgamesh.

What? We’re in that Fertile Crescent,
Sargon, you smell, need some Herbal Essence.

I keep it quick, like a turtle’s breakfast,

Time’s up, better learn your lessons.

Nobody ruled better, I’m Nebuchadnezzar,
Me and my Chaldeans are sharper than cheddar.
We’re so holy like Swiss cheese,
One day my wife said, "Neb, I miss trees.
This city life is too hard for me,
All is see is brown, baby, I need garden-green."
So I built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for my girl,
It’s one of the seven wonders of the world.

A Phoenician:
Phoenicians: Where we get our alphabet from.
Phoenicians: Trading, and standing strong.
Phoenicians: We set sail on seas,
Built ships with ease, sail from Sidon to Sicily.
The best craftsmen, we make the best crafts,
We blow the most glass, we make the most cash.
Trade the glass and crafts, watch our paper stack,
Dye cloth, people like, "I got to have that."

What? We’re in that Fertile Crescent,
Sargon, you smell, need some Herbal Essence.
I keep it quick, like a turtle’s breakfast,
Time’s up, better learn your lessons.

A Hebrew:
You don’t have to barter, Lydians made cents,
’Cause Lydians printed coins like a mint.
Between Egypt and Babylon, we’re the Hebrews,
Tribes and crews; today we’d be called Jews.
Wandering the desert, avoiding bandits,
Till Moses showed us Ten Commandments.
Divided into 12 tribes, we got lost,

Until King Saul finally reunited us.

Next, David built Jerusalem,
In the Bible, he defeats Goliath, ya heard of him?
His son Solomon built the temple, we weren’t saved,
Chaldeans invaded and made us slaves.

(from flocabulary.com)

On the Persian Gulf end of Mesopotamia was a region called Sumer where farmers built villages that grew and grew, just like the grains being planted. These early settlers built homes using bricks made from the mud the Tigris and Euphrates left behind, and by about 3000 BC there were enough houses to make small cities. Farmers worked together to create irrigation and drainage ditches to direct water where they wanted it and help prevent the great rivers from flooding the cities.

By this time, many city-states had grown in the Fertile Crescent: Babylon, Ur, Uruk, Eridu. City-states were just as they sound - cities so large and independent that they became much like states are today, governed by a single ruler and each with their own justice system, trade and military.

The Sumerians are credited with some of the most amazing inventions in human history. They invented the arch. They made wagons, the first-ever wheeled vehicles. They accurately tracked the stars. And they decided to divide time into blocks of 60: They put 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in an hour.

Sumerians were a polytheistic people - they believed there was not just one but many gods, whose favor they needed to live good lives. Each city-state had a particular favorite or patron god. In honor of these deities, the people built huge temples, like pyramids with stairs up the sides. These were ziggurats, and they were often the centerpieces of city-states.

The Mesopotamians used etchings on stone tablets to tell their stories and display their rules. They developed some of the earliest forms of writing. The system used by Sumerian scribes was called cuneiform, and it used small geometrical shapes scratched into wet stone that later dried and hardened to recount stories and keep track of trade, taxes, military issues, and more. Thanks to the widespread use of cuneiform, historians know much about Mesopotamian culture and the many transformations it went through over the centuries.
Pages 15 – 17.

Akkadians and Babylonians
Sargon is thought to be the first ruler in world history to have a permanent, standing army at his command, an army that was one of the first to use bows and arrows. He was the emperor of the Akkadians around 2340 BC. Sargon used his troops to create the world's earliest empire, a huge territory in the Middle East. It was a vast kingdom; the world had never seen anything like it.
Impressive as it was, Sargon's empire didn't last. All empires were (and still are) based on power, which is based on the threat of violence: Whoever has the strongest army will rule. The Babylonians were the next power-hungry army to conquer Mesopotamia.

The Babylonian army was led by a mighty leader named Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC). He rose to power much like his predecessor Sargon, driving wedges between the cities of Sumer and systematically conquering each one in turn. He had a well-trained army of axe and spear-toting foot soldiers.

Mesopotamia became famous for what was long thought of as the first written code of laws in the world. These laws were brought into being by Hammurabi. Hammurabi's Code, etched into a tablet, included 282 laws based largely on the principle of retribution: If you poke out a free person's eye, your eye is poked out, too. It gave out harsh punishments for crimes, especially when they were committed by people of the lower class. Mesopotamian society was divided by class, and it gave men far more rights than women.

Pages 48 – 50

In about 700 BC the Assyrians, a people who lived in the hills at the end of the Tigris River, moved into the area that Hammurabi had ruled. Using iron weapons, they soon acquired all of the Fertile Crescent and much of the surrounding territory. They did this the way most conquering happens: by killing people. Luckily for their enemies, the Assyrian empire lasted less than a century.
When your army enters a city, you, as general, had three basic choices: 1. You could occupy it; 2. Take everything valuable and leave it; or 3. Burn it to the ground. When the Assyrians invaded Babylon, they chose option number 3. But all wasn't lost. One of the great things they did was build a royal library, which housed a copy of one of the oldest stories ever written down: the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a long poem about a legendary king named Gilgamesh who may or may not have existed. Regardless, the epic tale written down most certainly contained some myths as well.
The Assyrians were toppled in part by the Chaldeans, who came from present-day Syria. It was their King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BC) who was the next great ruler of the area. He rebuilt Babylon, making it once again the most important city in the region. According to the Bible, the city-center was dominated by the enormous Tower of Babel.

It was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon that became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Legend has it that they were built to please Nebuchadnezzar's wife, who missed the green, mountainous land that she came from. So her husband had a terraced garden, overflowing with plants, constructed for her. By all accounts it was extraordinary - from a distance the greenery seemed suspended in air. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by earthquakes around 200 BC.

Pages 55 - 57

Along the Mediterranean coast of the Middle East, a unique civilization was doing things a little differently. They were the Phoenicians. One of their legacies is our modern-day alphabet. Their alphabet was adapted by the Greeks and then the Romans; it's not too different from the one we use today.
The Phoenicians realized that power wasn't just about having the biggest army; it was also about having the most money. So they built a trading empire that connected various tribes and civilizations around the Mediterranean. But what's the best way to get goods from one place to another? Not on rickety old carts where bandits can rob you at every turn, but on fast ships.

The Phoenicians built a lot of impressive ships. Their ships made it all the way to Britain and the west coast of Africa, bringing wood, slaves, and glass to the Greeks and North Africans.

The Phoenicians invented glassblowing, but the truly hot product everyone just had to have was purple dye. They got the dye from a special kind of sea snail that basically sneezed it out. Only the Phoenicians lived near the snails, so only they had the royal purple dye. Apparently, it was so expensive, it was worth its weight in silver. In fact, the word Phoenician means "purple people" in Greek.

Pages 28 - 29

Meanwhile, on the Mediterranean coast in a place known as Canaan, the Hebrews were organizing a state under a series of kings. The Jews differed from other cultures in the region because they were monotheistic - they worshipped a single god, known as Yahweh - and they were nomadic, following their herds.

According to the Bible, the Hebrews weren't always monotheistic. At one point they worshipped many different deities. That changed when Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from a mountain, and the Hebrews agreed to worship only one god.

In the mid-1000s BC, King Saul united them, getting all the tribes together to face the Philistines, who lived on the same seacoast. This began a battle that still continues to this day in the Israeli-Arab conflict in Middle East.
After Saul, King David defeated the Philistines and other enemies and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which he made his capital.
In about 965 BC, King Solomon, David's son, came to power. King Solomon made Hebrew control over the area complete. He built an empire for his people and, according to the Bible, the First Temple in Jerusalem.
Pages 29 – 30

Five Things” Lyrics
Setting, that's like where it's going down,
Could be the train compartment, a castle or a town,
Could be the Arctic winter - like To Build a Fire,
The temperature's dropping, excitement is getting higher,
Setting sets the scene so the scene seems set,
Could be the Italian restaurant where we met,
Setting gives us the where and the when,
Could be modern day, the future, or way back when.

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,
Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting. (x2)

Plot is the action, the quest for satisfaction,
What's going down, what's going to happen.

Four men at sea in an open boat,

Rowing and hoping that they can stay afloat. The plot:
They have to make it to the beach,
But the waves are big, and the shore seems out of reach,
Plot is a series of events... like Lemoney Snicket,
It could be crazy, wild or straight wicked.

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,

Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting. (x2)

Knock knock, who's there? Oh, it's the characters,

The people in the story who carry out the action.
Characters can be pretty, tiny or clean,
Characters can be silly, whiney or mean,
Juliet is a character, and so is Romeo,
Pokemon has characters and so does Yu-gi-oh,
Characters could be dogs, lions, or hippos,
JK Rowling chose Harry Potter. "Why?" Who knows!

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,
Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting. (x2)

Uh-uh! Put your snack back in your backpack we're not finished!

Something gone wrong! That's the conflict kids,
A struggle in the plot, now who's on top,
Could be a fight for money, like some robbers and cops,

Could be an internal conflict - a struggle inside,

Like I don't want to tell the truth but I don't ever want to lie,
Flick something in your eye, now you're conflicted,
What created drama? The conflict did.

Plot, Character, Conflict, Theme,
Setting, yes these are the 5 things
That you're going to be needing
When you're reading or writing
A short story that's mad exciting. (x2)

The theme of the story is the main idea,
The central belief or the topic that's in there,
It's usually something abstract like sacrifice,
Isolation or resurrection: we're back to life,
Like don't lie, don't practice libel,
The theme of To Build a Fire is survival,
Survival on your own like Fievel Moskowitz,
Flocabulary's something that you HAVE TO GET...

(from flocabulary.com)

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