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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hammurabi and His Code


Here we are at Hammurabi's Code and reading all about his code.  I really like how "Story of the World" includes some of the actual laws.  Only nine, though.  There were certainly a good deal more than that.  However, nine were quite enough.

After reading each law, we talked about whether it was "fair" to the mind of my 6 year old.  The one that really appalled him (and rightly so) was "If a doctor operates on a patient and the patient dies, the doctor's hand will be cut off" and he also had strong opinions about laws that involved "accidents", for the consequences seemed to him to be rather severe, in that case.

So, he was more than ready to come up with some of his own laws, that would be even better than Hammurabi's.  We wrote them on lined paper first.


When you work with kids, you find that their viewpoints of the world are naturally tinged toward their own ideas of justice.  Justice does matter to them.  But they have their own ways of handing it out.  This is obvious, but I will mention it anyway:

Don't laugh at your kids ideas here.  Keep a straight face.  Listen, and let them write their own ideas down.  They certainly don't have to "get it all right" on this activity.  Sure, you can talk it over, to confirm what they are really saying, but try not to direct it too much.  You might even be surprised at the good sense they show.

Also, if they get tired out with writing, help them along.  When they are this young, the idea is to let this be an enjoyable task which helps them experience creating their own laws.  As you might be able to see, I took over the writing for him at number 4. 


Did I chuckle over this with my husband later, when my son couldn't hear?  Yes, I definitely did.

But, do you see #4?  I did not lead him into that.  He came up with the idea himself.  I supplied the words "city-state" and "enforce", but his plan was to have someone (he said judge) to be in charge of each city to make sure everyone else followed the laws that he put in place.

With number five, you'll probably chuckle, as I did.  I think he was trying to offer mercy to those erstwhile murderers, by giving them an extra month, and at least that was more than Hammurabi offered.

Speaking of offering, I want to share this Stone Tablet that I created for this activity with you.  It's in my store, in a Free Product that has Glimmercat posing in a Sumerian crown with Hammurabi's carved stele held close:


It contains a total of 4 pages:  this cute cover, my usual Read-Me copyright page, this nice stone tablet printable:

And a suggestion page for how to use it.

This packet is yours for free download, right here:

If you wish to print it out...go for it.  And if you would be willing to share a picture of YOUR finished product in the comments, that would be absolutely lovely!

Here's my son with his finished Code and a pretty proud smile over his finished product:



If you enjoyed this blog post, check out one of our activities for studying Ancient Egypt.  We cover:

 The Food Egyptians Ate,  the varied and fascinating Ancient Egyptian Gods
 the Egyptian Writing System (Hieroglyphs)How to Make Papyrus, and even

about Egyptian Clothing Styles.

4 comments:

Top Teaching Tasks said...

I have never heard of Hammurabi so I will need to go and do some research. Thanks for sharing this learning idea. Your stone tablet template looks great!

Jen Bradshaw said...

I LOVE, love Code #1. So adorable!! I can't wait to check out your Ancient Egypt lessons. Thanks for a great post!

Best wishes!
Jen :)

Christina Morrison said...

Haha, if we all followed the laws of 1st graders, wouldn't it be a kinder world? ;) Thanks for the comment!

Christina Morrison said...

Confession time: I hadn't checked out old Hammurabi either, until I began teaching my son, classical homeschool history. :) Amazing how much you learn when you teach!