Ur – Lesson Plan 4 (Middle school +)

Lesson Overview:

Students will learn more about the materiality and value of ancient games, particularly the Royal Game of Ur or Twenty Squares. They will color their own game board, and discuss of what games were made and how they were a part of ancient communications among cultures. They will play Ur, based on the Royal Game or Ur or Twenty Squares.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about ancient gaming.
  • Learn about the materiality of games.
  • Learn about the social context of ancient gaming through Ur.


Lesson Steps:

  1. Tell your class about the Royal Game of Ur / Twenty Squares. Discuss the materials used to create the game board from the British Museum (Museum Number 120834 – see handout).
    1. Handout: Look at the materials used to create the game board, game pieces, and dice.
    2. In a group: Discuss the value of games for communicating with friends and strangers.
    3. Discussion points:
      1. How are games good for communicating with friends and strangers?
      2. What does this game board look like it’s made of? Does that look high quality?
      3. Do you think they valued their game boards?
      4. Do you have a game that you value?
  2. Have your class color their own game board.
    1. Handout: Give them the game board template, and instruct them to color different patterns on different squares. They can assign meanings to the squares if they want.
    2. In a group: Discuss what patterns they chose.
    3. Discussion points:
      1. How would your patterns affect how you play?
  3. Have your students play Ur downloaded from Steam. Have the students watch in small groups as one plays, and cheer for each other!
    1. In a group: Then discuss how playing the game changes their concept of ancient people valuing games and communicating through them.
    2. Discussion points:
      1. Do you feel differently about the game board you saw before (the handout – British Museum example) now that you have played?
      2. How do you think the ancient owner felt about this game?

Lesson Assessment:

Assess this assignment based on the following.

  • Group participation in discussion.
  • Individual participation in playing the game.
  • Individual participation in the coloring assignment.