How to Build a Model of a Roman Road

In our study of Ancient Rome this week, Josh and Megan really enjoyed learning how to build a model of a Roman road. Brianna was in charge of the salt dough map, so I let Josh and Megan do the road model themselves.

How to Build a Roman Road Model

To build a road, first the Ancient Romans dug a ditch. Then, they filled the ditch with sand, followed by a layer of gravel. On top of the gravel came a layer of concrete, which they made from volcanic ash. The final layer was made of smooth stones. Many of these roads are still around today.

Items needed to build a Roman road model:

How to Build a Model of a Roman Road:

Step 1: You’ll build the model by making each layer a little shorter than the last so that you can see each layer. First, we mixed water with Elmer’s glue to make a “paintable” glue (Mod Podge could be substituted here), which we spread all over the bottom of the shoe box lid. Then, we spread a layer of sand over the glue and let it dry for about 30 minutes.

roman road 2

Step 2: Shake off the excess sand, then, paint glue over 3/4 of the sand. Spread the gravel (we used gravel sold for fish tanks) over the glue. We, then, poured the watered down glue over the top of the gravel so that it would hold it all into place. We let this layer dry overnight.

roman road 3

Step 3: Use plaster of Paris to represent the concrete. Mix according to package directions, then, cover half of the box with the plaster.

roman road 4

Step 4: While the is still soft, add “paving stones.” Ours were decorative stones from the craft/candle section of Wal-mart. If I had it to do over again, I would have bought larger, smoother stones and I would have let the plaster set just a bit longer. (Also, I think the kids should have put the rocks closer together, but I was trying to leave them alone and let this be their project.)

How to build a Roman Road

The finished project turned out nice and Josh and Megan were very proud to have something that they made themselves to display as part of our study of Ancient Rome.

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  1. Jackie says

    Can I just say that your blog is getting cooler and cooler… (do they even say “cool” these days?) well anyway… I like it, and I especially like the left handed side bar. Sweet! (There is a more updated word for ya!)

    • Kris Bales says

      I’m sorry that you were expecting something more sophisticated from a 6- and 8-year-old. I hope you find what you were looking for.

  2. Jenn B. says

    I just wanted to say that this is exactly what I was looking for! I found you through a Tapestry of Grace link. I love the simplicity of this project. I don’t feel that it’s childish at all…it taught your children about Roman roads. Mission accomplished! what’s even better is that they did it themselves (kudos to you for not “taking over” the project). Thanks for sharing.


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