This list consists of lesson plans, activities and ideas to support the teaching of science through the topic of the Romans. It contains ideas for how to link science to the topic, tips on using the resources, suggestions for further use and background subject knowledge to support teachers in delivering the science objectives through this topic. Resources support the teaching of the science topics digestion, keeping healthy, teeth, light and sound. This enables teachers to choose which aspect of science they would like to teach within the overarching topic.
Visit the primary resources for cross curricular topics webpage to access all resource lists:
Links and Resources
In Roman times boys engaged in lots of sporting activities, girls didn't do as many. You could carry out a survey in class to see if this is true today? Are some sports more popular with girls than boys? The legs for leaping activity Discuss how body differences might give advantages in different sports and investigate whether there is a relationship between leg length and jump distance.
Did Romans have better teeth than we do now? Scientists examining the remains of 30 men, women and children killed in Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted in Roman Times has discovered that the ancient Romans had better teeth than people today. Children could think about why this might be? As Romans didn't have the same standard of dental care we have today, researchers believe this to be due to a low-sugar, fibre-rich diet. This is a good talking point for child when thinking about how to look after our teeth and a healthy diet.
This resource provides information on the structure and function of teeth and the role of diet and cleaning in the prevention of decay. Activity ideas are provided, which look at the use of disclosing tablets and the effect of acids on teeth.
This resource provides a context for investigating the effect of sugar in different drinks. Children then test different kinds of toothpaste for effectiveness and create their own toothpaste. Containing lots of opportunities for working scientifically these activities provide links to D & T (designing and making a product) and literacy.
This short film clip demonstrates a practical experiment which recreates the digestion process in the classroom. Using household items such as paper cups, orange juice and a pair of tights, this demonstration enables children to visualise the process of digestion in an engaging, practical way.
Romans enjoyed listening to and making music. Between banquet courses music may have been played as entertainment for guests. This could be an opportunity to investigate sound and how instruments produce sound. Children could create an instrument on which the notes may be changed, other activities in this pack look at how vibrations travel through different materials, creating animal noises using voices and instruments, muffling sound, amplifying sound, investigating rhythm and making a speaker.
Romans used sundials to tell the time. Children may still think that light can travel around objects rather than in a straight line. Carrying out an investigation looking at sundials and shadows is a great way of allowing children to see that light travels in a straight line and is blocked by the sun dial forming a shadow. Pages 12-18 look at shadow and sundial investigations. Investigating what happens to the shadows over the course of a day will help children see that shadows change in length and position through the day. Key vocabulary is also listed to help children.
This video explores how shadow puppets can be used to explore light, shadows and storytelling.The way characters appear and disappear illustrates how shadows are formed and how they change when objects are put in front of a light source. Children could make their own puppets to tell a story. They could work scientifically to investigate what happens to shadows when the light source moves further away or closer to the puppet.
In this activity children match foods to the food groups and think about what each type of food provides the body with. They then use food cards from Roman and compare them with modern times. They then plan a day's diet for a Roman senator, soldier, laundry boy and child thinking about the types of foods they will require for their age and lifestyle. The links to Romans is really useful in this resource and the activities, but I would be careful when using the photographs of different foods and create your own pictures of food types. The fats group shows only foods which are a source of animal fat: milk animal fats such as milk, cheese, yoghurt which presents a skewed perspective, add in some plant oils such as olive oil. Also eggs and fish will contain some vitamins and minerals, but are primarily a source of protein.
What could be more fun, then being a detective investigating 'Fake poo' Investigate the diets of ancient cultures using safe 'fake poo'. The notes include recipes for making Aztec, Tudor, Viking and Roman poo. If just learning about Romans, you could adapt your poo samples to include diet of different types of Romans, for example linking to the above resource you could include Roman senator, soldier, laundry boy and child. Children could then work scientifically to identify each of the different people from their poo! As well as developing investigative skills, the fake poo can lead onto a discussion of how modern diets differ from ancient ones.
The Romans introduced many different plants into Britain including plums and cherries, some were introduced deliberately, whilst other plant seeds were carried over in imported goods from other parts of the empire. These seeds grew wherever they found the right conditions and may have been found in fields and hedgerows. In this resource children explore the requirements for successful plant growth and plan fair tests to investigate their ideas. Children are then challenged to explain how plants adapt to live in different conditions such as: deserts, in shady areas of rainforests and in water.
In Seed detectives children are shown highly magnified images of different seeds taken with an electron microscope. Children could predict what the images are then make drawings of them. Show children the actual seeds and try and match them to their images in small groups.
In Seed dispersal children make predictions about their method of dispersal based on their structure. Model wind dispersal in class by having a group of children in the centre of the room representing a plant containing seeds. Individual seeds could be blown away to different areas within class. This idea could always be used to simulate other methods of dispersal. This activity could be linked to the way in which some seeds from non-native British plants found their way in here, carried across the sea in imported goods.
Lots of ideas for children across the primary phase, links to Romans are suggested and then possible questions which could be investigated.