Published Date

May 31, 2016

Resource Type

AHA Resource, For the Classroom


Ancient, Digital Methods

AHA Topics

Teaching & Learning



This resource is part of the AHA’s Teaching with #DigHist series.


By John Rosinbum

This assignment is an essay on ORBIS and the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations. Using the projects’ detailed explanations, as well as their own knowledge of the period, students analyze the projects’ depictions of the Roman world. What do the projects include? What do they leave out? Designed with high performing high school students and freshman/sophomore undergraduate students in mind, the assignment pushes students to compare the two projects and gives them the opportunity to explore how purpose, argument and data shape a project. This assignment fits well with Common Core standards on Integration of Knowledge and Ideas for both 9th–10th and 11th–12th grades, as well as the historical thinking skills of interpretation and argumentation. As middle school students may have difficulty with this assignment, I’ve included a series of questions with the assignment that, with some prompting, they may be able to complete as short answers.

For more about using ORBIS as an easy entry into digital history projects for students, see John Rosinbum’s blog post on AHA Today: “Teaching with ORBIS: Maps, Environments, and Interpretations in Ancient Rome.”