Objectives for this unit will include having students rationalize the need for a clean and consistent source of water for all civilizations both past and present. Exploration in this area will include having students demonstrate the general historical developments in irrigation and water delivery systems from civilization to civilization over time. Thus the unit will credit the influences of the Etruscans (the Arch) and the Assyrians (aqueduct construction) for inspiring the Romans to go beyond their predecessors in both scale and function. Students will be able to name and describe the components of a typical Roman aqueduct and be able to name and describe two of these aqueducts in detail. The unit will contain opportunity for students to demonstrate how a fundamental understanding of mathematical concepts such as volume, slope, and gravity is essential to completing a successful aqueduct. Further objectives will allow students to explore the aqueduct in the eco-social-political context of Roman Civilization. Readings and presentations which associate the building of aqueducts with the people (engineers, laborers, and political figures) who made the aqueducts a reality will be included. We are fortunate to have primary source material from Marcus Vitruvius Pollio a practicing Roman architect from about 46 to 30 B.C., who compiled his knowledge of into a ten book treatise called
and from Sextus Julius Frontinus, a governor and distinguished military leader, who was appointed
(water commissioner) of Rome in A.D. 97. Students will examine primary and secondary source material regarding these people to understand some of the whys and hows of Roman aqueducts: Why were aqueducts needed? How was an aqueduct constructed? How did an aqueduct function? How much water could be moved and how far could it be moved? Who benefited from the water? What problems did aqueduct builders and maintenance workers face? These questions may be posed under an overarching essential question such as "How did Roman aqueducts work?" that will entice students to think about how an urban center such as Rome could provide enough clean water to its populace.
Additionally, students will compare how our own community gets its water supply delivered to the system of aqueducts that the Romans used. We are fortunate to have a drinking water treatment plant and a damned reservoir within a mile of Wilbur Cross High School. Students will visit the plant and learn how water is delivered from the reservoir to homes throughout New Haven. Students should also realize how their own use of water is part of the community's consumption of water. In order to gain an awareness of their own water use, students will keep a log of water consumption for two days. Students will record how much water they consume, use for personal hygiene (bath/shower, hand washing, laundry, toilet flushes, lawn garden, washing and cleaning around the house or school). From the data that they report, we will be able to construct some crude calculations as to the amount of water usage that occurs in the school community. If students were to conduct a household water consumption survey, we could then prognosticate water consumption for the community at large.