Ur – Lesson Plan 3 (High school +)

Lesson Overview:

Students will choose a mythical figure to be as they play Ur, based on the Royal Game or Ur or Twenty Squares. The class will read about the mythical figure and learn about the ancient cultural context. After playing the game students will discuss how the game would fit into the world of Jason, Enmerkar, or Wenamun.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about ancient gaming.
  • Learn about Jason, Enmerkar, or Wenamun.
  • Learn about the social context of ancient gaming through the three mythical figures.


Lesson Steps:

  1. Have your class choose one of the avatars for playing Ur, a version of the Royal Game of Ur. They can be Jason, of Jason and the Argonauts, Emerkar, the king of Uruk, or Wenamun, a priest of Amun under Ramses XI. The options appear when you click *Play* on the game.
  2. Have you class read about the mythical historical figure that they have chosen.
    1. Handout: Check the list of sources below for information on each of the people.
    2. In a group: Discuss what they think about these mythical figures.
    3. Discussion points:
      1. (Especially Wenamun or Jason) What do you think of their travels? Did you know that ancient people traveled?
      2. (If you read more than one) Can you picture these people playing the same game?
  3. Look at the map of the areas where all the game was played.
    1. Handout: Look at the map as a group.
    2. In a group: Discuss the game in context of the three figures.
    3. Discussion points:
      1. Are you familiar with the Mediterranean?
      2. Can you think of any games that are widely played?
      3. Are games a good way of communicating across long distances during travel?
  4. Have your students play Ur downloaded from Steam. Have the students watch in small groups as one plays, and cheer for each other!
    1. Handout: Have students answer questions about the game on the handout first.
    2. In a group: Then discuss how playing the game changes their concept of ancient people communicating.
    3. Discussion points:
      1. You read about Jason, Enmerkar, or Wenamun. What do you think was the significance of their story? Was it a story for entertainment or historical? Can you picture this person playing a game? 
      2. You have played Ur. How has your understanding of ancient games changed? How has your understanding of ancient people interacting changed?

Lesson Assessment:

Assess this assignment based on the following.

  • Group participation in discussion.
  • Individual participation in playing the game.
  • Written answers to the three discussion questions (handout).


Map of locations of Twenty Squares: