Unit 1: Exploring Ancient Civilizations: Rome
Students explore the rise and fall of the ancient Roman Empire and Roman civilization, its various leaders, routines, and rituals, while practicing multiple informational reading strategies.
In this unit students explore the rise and fall of the ancient Roman Empire. Over the course of the unit, students learn about different characteristics of the Roman Empire, what lead to the Empire’s growth and success, and what eventually lead to the Empire’s demise. Through learning about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of the Roman Empire, students will be challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how those values compare to societal values today. This unit builds onto the 2nd grade nonfiction unit on ancient Greece, in which students began to think about how the daily routines, structures, and rituals of a civilization show what they value. This unit, in conjunction with the second grade unit on ancient Greece, will help students understand early influences in the world and the first republics.
The mentor texts for this unit, Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House and Eye Wonder: Ancient Rome, allow students to practice multiple informational reading strategies in two very different text structures. In both texts, but predominately in Eye Wonder, students will practice using a multitude of text features and illustrations as a way of learning new information about a topic. Over the course of this unit, students will constantly be thinking about how the information from one text builds on and connects to the information in the other text. Then at the end of the unit, students will be asked to critically analyze the similarities and differences between the two texts.
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Book: Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #13 by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce (Random House Books for Young Readers) (April 2006)
Book: Eye Wonder: Ancient Rome by DK Children (DK Children, 4th edition, 2004)
Article: “Roman Class Structure”
Article: “The Fall of the Roman Empire” (Readworks.org)
Rubric: Grade 3 Informational Writing Rubric
These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills.
Download Cold Read Assessment
Download Cold Read Assessment Answer Key
Download Content Assessment
Download Content Assessment Answer Key
Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit. Essential Tasks can be found in the following lessons:
Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 1, view our 3rd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.
Describe how the Roman Army shaped the future of the Roman Empire.
Explain how the author uses different text features and illustrations to describe how the Roman Empire was founded.
Make sentences better and more informative by adding more details.
Explain why the Romans were always ready for war.
Explain how the text features and illustrations help build a deeper understanding of the Roman army.
Write multiple sentences using the conjunction because to explain how powerful and organized the Roman army was.
Describe the three groups of people in ancient Rome and explain why they were important for the success of the civilization.
Describe what life was like for enslaved people in the Roman Empire.
Write multiple sentences using the conjunctions but and so to explain why each role in society was important.
Describe what the chapter “The Eternal City” is mostly about and why the structures described were important in Ancient Rome.
Explain how the author uses different text features and illustrations to support the idea that gladiators and bath houses were an important part of Roman society.
Explain what life was like in ancient Rome and what daily routines and structures show us about what ancient Romans valued.
Write multiple sentences using the conjunctions "because," "but," and "so" to explain what life was like in Ancient Rome.
Explain the role that gods, worship, trade and transportation played in the Roman Empire.
Describe Hannibal, Julius Caesar, and Octavian, including what type of leaders they were and why.
Explain what caused the fall of the Roman Empire.
Explain the significance of the heading “The empire lives on."
Compare and contrast both unit texts by comparing and contrasting the most important key details presented in both texts.
Discuss and debate unit-essential questions by stating a claim and using evidence from multiple texts to support and defend the claim.
Informative Writing – 4 days
Research another ancient Rome topic and create a brochure and visual representation to show what you learned.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
— Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
— Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
— Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
— Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
— Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
— Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
— Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.
— Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
— Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
— Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
— Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
— Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
— Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
— Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
— Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Recognize and observe differences between the conventions of spoken and written standard English.
— Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
— Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).
— Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
— Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).
— Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
— Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
— Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
— By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2—3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
— Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
— Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
— Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.
— Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
— With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
(Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1—3 above.)
— With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
— With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
— Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
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