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Fifth Grade Studies "Hammurabi's Code"

Not all time travel requires a time machine. For Kyle Lawrence's fifth grade class, it did not even involve leaving the classroom.

As part of studying the Ancient Civilization of Mesopotamia, the class has been focusing on the geography, economy, cultures and laws of different groups that lived in Mesopotamia.

In their studies, students learned about the sixth Babylonian king Hammurabi. The students were appalled at how harsh and potentially unjust Hammurabi’s Code, the Laws of Ancient Mesopotamia, were.

As a part of the class exercise, the students explored the classroom to find eight different scenarios that had to be handled by King Hammurabi during his reign in 2400 B.C. The students worked in groups to analyze the scenario and respond according to how they believe King Hammurabi would have responded. Then, they formulated their own response to the scenario, based on their definition of “just.”
 
Afterward, the students shared their ideas with the rest of their class, comparing and contrasting their own responses to the scenarios.

"I hope the students walk away with a better understanding of how difficult it was to create laws and rules for a society, especially the first known civilization," Lawrence said. "The students also learned that within their group they may have had differing opinions as to what a fair and just consequence was for each of the scenarios and they had to learn to work together to come up with a solution to the problem."