Our history lessons this fall have been primarily about Rome. My Father's World Rome to the Reformation, continuing with Brimwood Press's Western Civilization study, and adding to our understanding of historical geography with A Child's Geography: Explore the Classical World (watch for a review soon.) I enjoy the activities that accompany the lessons as much as the kids do. One of the first ones this year was creating a dipyth which is a wax writing tablet. We used what we had already, cardboard from cereal boxes, glue and non-drying clay. The kids cut and glued strips for a frame, folded the cardboard in half for a cover, and decorated the covers.
Kneading the clay made it more pliable and easier to push into the frame as it warmed in their hands. Clay is a nice medium for strengthening hands and fingers.
My son used his whole body to push the clay into place. This is a good way to facilitate weight bearing and joint compression through both arms. The pressure helps smooth out the clay.
Before we started my plan was to use wooden skewers as their styluses. None were found, so Joseph and I searched for just the right sticks instead.
"It is easy to erase." Easy to correct mistakes, yes, but imagine when this was used all the time how easy it was to also have their work accidentally wiped away. Or since the original ones were wax, I wonder if they sometimes melted.
Roman numeral practice. It just made sense.
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