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Secrets of Lost Empires II—Medieval Siege

Viewing Ideas


Before Watching and After Watching
  1. The engineers and other experts featured in each program make many inferences about ancient building techniques. They base their inferences on a variety of sources, including oral histories, paintings, texts, artifacts, and ruins. As students watch, have them keep a list of each inference made and the source of information behind it. After viewing, ask students which sources appeared to be most useful, and which were vague or misleading. Do students find each source as compelling or convincing as researchers did?

  2. The experts use different types of models to plan their construction strategies. Have students keep track of each model as they watch. Discuss with students the advantages and limitations of using models and list any models they have used. How were models important in planning the projects in these programs? Then ask students to describe instances where the real projects encountered problems that didn't occur with the models. What were the reasons for the differences? What can they conclude about the limitations of models?

  3. Each program's story is driven by the question, "How did they do that?" The engineers and archeologists have developed hypotheses to answer that question. Then they design experiments to test their hypotheses. Have students consider how an ancient civilization might have solved a problem, such as how to move a heavy object, and how our civilization might do it today. What might be the similarities and differences in how the problem is solved?

  4. The ancient building methods shown in the programs depend on the use of simple machines, including levers, ramps, pulleys, and wheels. Have students identify which simple machines are involved in the projects. How does each machine give the builders a mechanical advantage? What did the machines enable people to do that they could not otherwise have done?

Teacher's Guide
Secrets of Lost Empires II—Medieval Siege
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