Ancient Mesopotamia Main Lesson Block

The ancient civilizations blocks for the Waldorf curriculum for year 5 is fairly extensive having continued from the previous year’s exploration of Norse mythology, the civilizations of Akkad and Sumer and the study of the Buddha and the Jataka Tales. For year 5, the student will cover the ancient civilizations of India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and finally Greece. Greek history and ancient Roman history will also be covered in year 6.

For this unit, we opted to stay fairly close to the curriculum, Live Education Waldorf curriculum Ancient Mesopotamia . Usually we would add additional resources like picture books, biographies, historical fiction, craft books, cook books and more. This time, we included books we already had in our home library with the addition of a few library books (only one of which we used). The best book for this unit, and one I highly recommend (whether you are using a Waldorf approach) is Gilgamesh Man’s First Story by Bernarda Bryson. This book is wonderfully written, engaging and covers the mythology of Gilgamesh deeply and thoroughly. We found a couple of science activities to do in Ancient science, by Jim Wiese , but sadly our sugar crystals didn’t grow, but we made some amazing smelling sugar syrup!

Books & Resources


Main Lesson Book

We continued with our art medium of chalk pastels and really started to hone our skills this far in to our ancients main lesson block (this is the third of the year). We really like the way our art turns out and its fast and easy. What it’s not is clean! We are getting chalk dust everywhere and we are very careful to clean it into the trash can or use a wet paper towel to clean it up. Be sure not to blow on your work! This is probably the messiest art medium we’ve used, but the results are pretty stunning. Be sure to fix your work with a spray fixative. We used Blick Matte fixative and sprayed our work outside and left it outside until the smell subsided.


Recipes

With one basic dough recipe, you can make dozens of breads with subtle changes like adding olive oil, replacing water with milk and/or yogurt, adding eggs (makes dough softer), and changing the ratio of flour to water. For this recipe, I used my bread maker to make the dough. Using setting 8 (which takes 1.5 hours), I made dough to make mini pitas. I made this dough drier to make these pitas because I planned to roll out the dough and use a metal circle cutter to form the pitas. When making a dry dough, versus a 1:1 or 1:1.5 dough which I use to make pizza puffs or focaccia, I like to use my Kitchenaid or bread maker because it does the kneading for you. The bread maker is also great to use on cooler days because it gentle warms the inner compartment to aid in rising.

Recipe: 3-4 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, 1.5 cups of water, 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar (or sugar), and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using lukewarm water, add water, sugar, yeast and oil to a bowl or bread maker. Gently mix. You may let it sit to let the yeast bubble, but I rarely do that. I usually add everything together, only recently mixing salt with the flour, but my dough has always risen unless my water is hot. Add flour and salt and mix and knead until incorporated. Let it rise for 1-4 hours. You may let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. Roll out dough to 1/8-1/4 inch thick (thickness doesn’t matter too much as long as you are consistent so it bakes evenly, the thinner the dough, the quicker it bakes). I used a circle cutter to make the pitas. I brushed olive oil on each one. I used parchment paper over an aluminum tray. I preheated the oven to 420 degrees and bakes for 5-8 minutes. Keep on eye so as not to over bake. Remove from oven and serve with hummus or the Indian food seen at the end of the video.

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