The Sumerian language of Mesopotamia is widely regarded as the oldest written language on Earth, dating back to at least 3500 B.C. Sixth graders at Berner Middle School explored these ancient writings to understand how people communicated thousands of years ago and how historians have used these etchings to better understand the culture.
Social studies teacher Vanessa Canning noted that the sixth grade curriculum focuses on ancient civilizations. She wants her students to understand why writing is important because it preserves history for future generations.
Ms. Canning explained that Cuneiform, the writing system adopted by the ancient Sumerians, used a system of characters instead of letters and the hundreds of wedge-shaped marks were cut into damp clay tablets. She also taught students about the scribes who were specially trained to write Cuneiform. As a culminating activity, her students made nameplates of their own first names by using certain characters to represent the letters of the modern alphabet.