6 th grade ubd unit 3 mesopotamian society
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6 th Grade UBD - Unit 3 - Mesopotamian Society. Mesopotamian Society. Preview. Mesopotamian Religion - Mesopotamians were polytheists. They worshiped many different gods connected to nature and to particular aspects of life.

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Mesopotamian Society

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6th Grade UBD - Unit 3 - Mesopotamian Society

Mesopotamian Society


  • Mesopotamian Religion- Mesopotamians were polytheists. They worshiped many different gods connected to nature and to particular aspects of life.

  • A Social Pyramid- Mesopotamian society was organized into a social pyramid. Your place on the pyramid was determined by your work. Most people stayed at the level they were born at for their entire lives.

  • A Series of Conquests- Mesopotamia was a rich land that many people sought to conquer.

Reach Into Your Background

  • In Mesopotamian society people had many different roles. This created a vibrant civilization. How does religion and gender influence life today?

    (5 minutes)

Partner Activity

  • Work with a neighbor and compare your answer with theirs. What things are the same and what things are different? (3 minutes)

Key Ideas- Mesopotamian Religion

  • Mesopotamia was one of the earliest civilizations to have an organized religion. Their religion helped to shape their society and culture.

  • Mesopotamian city-states built ziggurats to worship their gods.

  • Mesopotamians believed that their kings were chosen by the gods.

Religion in Mesopotamia

  • Religion played an important role in the daily life of ancient Mesopotamians.

  • The Mesopotamians believed in polytheism.

  • Each god or goddess was in charge of a part of nature or daily life.

Religion in Mesopotamia

  • The Mesopotamians wanted to honor their gods and goddesses and make sure they stayed in the city.

  • So the people built large religious monuments called ziggurats.

Religion in Mesopotamia

  • To keep the gods and goddesses happy, Mesopotamians left offerings, or gifts, for them.

  • The gifts also were given to ask the gods to send blessings.

Key Term

Civilization- Aancient religious structure built in the major cities of Mesopotamia that are similar to the pyramids.

Mesopotamian Ziggurats

Reading Handout- Mesopotamian Ziggurats

Key Ideas- A Social Pyramid

  • People from all levels of Mesopotamian society were important to the success of the civilization, but different groups had different amounts of power.

  • The king was the most important political and religious figure.

  • Enslaved people were at the bottom of the social pyramid. They had no power.

Key Term

Social Pyramid- A way of illustrating the social organization of a particular society. The people with the most wealth are at the top. The people with the least money and the lowest social position are on the bottom.

Marks of Civilization

  • There are several marks of civilization. One of them is that work is specialized.

  • Everyone contributes in some way to help meet society’s needs, but people do not have to do everything for themselves.

A Social Pyramid

  • Mesopotamian kings held a great deal of political and religious power.

  • They determined the laws, collected taxes, and organized labor for large projects such as digging irrigation ditches. 

A Social Pyramid

  • Mesopotamian people viewed their kings as conduits to their gods, so kings were also responsible for religious ceremonies.

  • Religion gave kings the authority to rule, and in return kings fulfilled religious obligations.

A Social Pyramid

  • Mesopotamia developed a stratified social-class society. 

  • A person’s work determined his or her place in Mesopotamian society.

  • The higher social levels had the fewest people.

A Social Pyramid

  • The king, priests, and other important leaders made up the top tier of Mesopotamian society.

  • Scribes and other merchants were a step below the top tier, and peasants and slaves were found at the bottom layer of the social pyramid.


  • Artisans specialized in making various goods.

  • Mesopotamia had bakers, iron workers, potters, and weavers.

How It's Made Bread

Video- How It's Made Bread


  • Scribes were also important members of society.

  • They were the record keepers.

  • They spent years learning to read and write cuneiform, the writing system used in Mesopotamia.

Key Term

Cuneiform- Asystem of writing that was widely used in the ancient Middle East. 


  • Peasants farmed the land surrounding the cities.

  • They sold their extra food to people living in the cities.

  • Farmers also gave a certain amount of their crops to the king.

The Role of Women

  • In all social classes, men held more rights and responsibilities than women. 

  • Most of Mesopotamia’s religious and political leaders were men.

The Role of Women

  • In addition, men made household decisions. Men decided everything from what work would be done to whom their children would marry.

  • Women had little power in Mesopotamian society, although they were granted some rights.

The Role of Women

  • Women’s roles in society were those of daughter, wife, or mother.

  • Women usually did not learn to read or write.

  • Instead, mothers taught their girls how to be good wives and mothers.

Mesopotamian Women

Reading Handout- Mesopotamian Women

Key Ideas- A Series of Conquests

  • Mesopotamia many natural resources made it a good place to live. It was also a valuable land for leaders to conquer and rule.

  • The history of Mesopotamia is marked by four great empires. Between each empire’s rule and the next, there were moments of disorder before another leader conquered the region.

Conquering Mesopotamia

  • Mesopotamia was conquered by many empires, from the Akkadians all the way through the Neo-Babylonians.

  • Mesopotamia was a valuable land for conquerors due to its rich land and well-traveled trade routes.

A Series of Empires

  • The Akkadian Empire was the first major empire in Mesopotamia. Sargon was the first king of the Akkadian Empire.

  • The Babylonian Empire conquered much of Mesopotamia after the fall of the Akkadian Empire.

A Series of Empires

  • The Assyrian Empire was the largest of the four empires. The Assyrians conquered other lands easily, but they had difficulty controlling their vast empire.

  • The Neo-Babylonian Empire, replaced the Assyrian Empire. Although it was not as large as the Assyrian Empire it was very powerful. 

Conquering Mesopotamia

  • Because Mesopotamia had rich agricultural land and a lively culture, many different empires conquered it.

  • Each empire had an effect on the culture of Mesopotamia while also adopting certain parts of Mesopotamian culture.

Independent Activity

  • What has been the “muddiest” point so far in this lesson? That is, what topic remains the least clear to you? (4 minutes)

Partner Activity

  • Work with a neighbor and compare your muddiest point with theirs. Compare what things are the same and what things are different? (3 minutes)

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