Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Making Roman Roads and Salt Dough Map of Italy - CC Week 6

Today we went Roman!  First we got our toga's and head wreath's on!  After all, when in Rome.....

Then we got pizza boxes and made a salt dough map of Italy and a layered Roman Road!  This is what it came out like.....

We made the road so that you could see each layer and we are not done labeling them and painting them - they have to dry first.  However, this has all 5 layers that the Romans used to build roads.  This is how we did it....

I found playdough that was "cork" textured.  We rolled it out on wax paper and then cut it to look like large stones.  On our pizza box we painted a strip as wide as the stones we were going to use, with modge podge.  Then we layed down dirt in a thin layer, mixing the modge podge with the dirt so it wouldn't slide.  Then we used as the first layer, the cork we rolled out to be our "bottom trench" and we took this about 3/4 of the way across.  We wanted to create a layered look so each layer could be seen and labeled later.
Next we mixed up some salt dough, I put together cups with mixed lentils, sand and rice -we made the salt dough loose like soft frosting consistency.  This became our "cement" and we put the pre-made cups I did -spread over the "bottom trench stones" we took this layer 2/3 of the way.  This layer was for the "firm base," which consisted of pebbles, sand and cement.
 Next we took small square tiles and smashed them into little pieces with a hammer.  This became our "cement mix" that the Romans used - which was made of cement with broken tiles.  We did this just over half of the way across.
 The top layer was our "road surface," for this we used the small square tiles and had the children place them together closely to create that Roman "road surface" look.  We took this out about 1/2 of the way across.
 Next we used cannellini beans for the "trench stones" which was the last part of the road.  These were placed along both sides of the "road" we just made.
 We put a strip of grass alongside our road using green felt.
To make our map - I had the outline map enlarged to 11x17 and then we placed it on the inside of the pizza box and used a sharp pencil, pressing hard, to draw the outline.  This created an impression that we then traced over with a marker.  We also had a topographical map so we could know how to shape the mountains and plains....
 Then we made the salt dough and the children kneaded their dough until it was the right consistency then laid it onto the outline to make the correct shape of Italy - building up the mountainous regions according to the topography map.
 Here are some of the maps when they were done....

My special needs son even attempted and did a great job with, making a Roman Road!  He didn't want to make Italy - he loves the United States Map and he wanted to make NC instead!  LOL.  Precious!


  1. Your maps are absolutely beautiful (loved the last one your sweet boy did of NC!). I see this was originally posted earlier in your year, but we JUST finished up our schoolyear in Ancient Rome and had a big Roman day with a gladiator training school, Roman feast, show and tell (me and my kids made a layered road as well ) and homemade costumes. I really enjoyed your pics and have not done a blog post of ours yet but do have a FB album if you want to see our adventures.

    Isn't learning so fun?
    Warm blessings and
    Thanks for sharing

  2. I love this! What a great way to learn about their roads. We are learning about Greece right now, so Rome will be coming up and I'm going to have to remember to do this. Thanks for sharing this great idea at Trivium Tuesdays!

  3. I love the road mixtures. That's just brilliant!

  4. You know, we've never actually done a salt dough map. I really should sometime. I love the Roman Road stuff.

  5. That road is very cool! The salt dough maps look great. I like your son's NC map too. :-)

  6. I loved your map idea... I will try it with some Indian maps as well...

    1. Bonita - Yay! You will have to send me a picture! This was a very fun project! Seems like forever ago! Blessings - Colleen