Sometimes, there is not enough time in your pacing calendar to cover all the topics, which is no exception for Rome. That is why I like to show documentaries in the classroom to cover much content and accommodate our visual learners.
The only problem is that teachers do not have time to preview documentaries to determine if they cover all topics and are school-appropriate. Commonsense.org does a great job identifying factors that may be inappropriate for students. But, I wanted to create a series of articles made specifically for social studies teachers about historical documentaries. Hopefully, this can save you some time choosing the proper documentary or movie to show and prevent accidentally showing inappropriate content.
Engineering and Empire is a show on History Channel that explores ancient civilizations’ engineering and architectural accomplishments. I show students this series when it comes time to talk about achievements in a specific civilization. The episode we will focus on is episode 1: Rome.
This episode has impressive visuals that depict the architectural achievements. From Caesar’s Bridges to the Amphitheater, this episode brings this innovations to life.
I also enjoyed the organization of the episode. The episode organizes each achievement by the emperor, which is essential for students to see the impact of each Emperor of Rome.
There is some nudity in the artwork shown in the episode. When I played this episode, I fast-forwarded to skip the headache it would cause. Below are the timestamps:
27:04: The camera pans over artwork that shows a woman pouring wine with her breast exposed.
31:10:The camera pans over the artwork and shows a woman dancing topless.
Below you will find the stopping points I used to check for understanding and to also fast-forward through specific scenes:
10:10: How did Julius Caesar impact Rome? What did he engineer that made him legendary?
16:46: what did Rome build that made it more accessible and intimidating to build an empire?
27:04-27:13: who was Claudius? What are some challenges he had to overcome?
31:09: who is Nero?
39:40 why was the death of Nero a turning point in Rome?
39:12: why do you think Romans gravitated towards the idea of the amphitheater?
For these students, I give them tpt sellers Amy Parkinson’s Research Log . It is a great way to challenge students to visual their notes instead of teacher prompted questions.