“Rome Prep” has taken many forms in the 8th grade class. Students took lecture notes on aspects of classical architecture, the chronology of the Roman state, and Roman building techniques and materials. They have also read, written comments on, and discussed the sections “Building the City of Rome” and “Building Techniques and Styles” in Roman Architecture by Nigel Rodgers.
Each student developed a PowerPoint presentation or poster on a structure in Rome. The topics ranged from ancient buildings, such as the Colosseum or the Pantheon, to Renaissance and Baroque structures, most of which were built atop ancient buildings. In addition, the students have used Google Earth to “walk” the neighborhoods of Rome and see bird’s eye and street views of many of the buildings they will be seeing in Rome.
The Web projects Rome Reborn and The Plan of Rome have provided enlightening reconstructions of Rome at the height of the Empire, in the fourth century AD. All students have attended several “Rome Meetings” at lunch, in which we go over the itinerary and explain to students what they’ll be doing and seeing when in Rome, teach some handy Italian phrases, and the trip’s leaders and organizers answer as many questions of a practical and general nature as we can.
With all of that important prep work behind them, now the students just need to pack and get to the airport on time.