Lesson Plan: Overview

Hammurabi Code: "An Eye For An Eye"

Grade Level: 6th


Academic Standards

Standard 6-1:The student will demonstrate an understanding of the transition of humans from nomadic to settled life in the cradles of civilization.

6-1.4 Compare the cultural, social, and political features and contributions of civilizations in the Tigris and Euphrates, Nile, Indus, and Huang He river valleys, including the evolution of language and writing systems, architecture, religious traditions and forms of social order, the division or specialization of labor, and the development of different forms of government.

Historical Background Notes

No historical background notes available for this lesson plan.


  Primary Sources

L. W. King, translator, Hammurabi’s Code of Laws, Internet Ancient Sourcebook. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/hamcode.html

Graphic organizer (Venn Diagram)



Lesson Plans

No lesson plan available.


Hammurabi Code examines a different set of codes and laws that were written during the early civilizations in order to manage and organized a society of people.  The lower class of this society was deemed as slaves just as the early colonists in 1740.  The Hammurabi Code takes one class period (40 – 50 minutes).

1. Teacher gives each student a copy of the Hammurabi codes.  There are 282 Hammurabi codes.  So that students will not get overwhelmed with all of those codes, teacher wrote several criminal acts on the screen and with a partner they were to search for the law that addresses that particular crime.  At the end of this exercise they have compiled a shorter list of Hammurabi codes that are more manageable to discuss.
2. Students now share their perspectives on the harshness or fairness of the Hammarabi codes, with focus on Hammarabi’s laws regarding the treatment of slaves.  This is a very stimulating discussion because the Hammurabi’s codes are based on retaliation and this fits into most middle school students thinking. (You take my pencil, so I can take your pencil).  Students are allowed to have a lot of fun with these laws.
3. Teacher gives both documents (slave code and Hammurabi codes) to student.  They complete the Venn diagram and chart comparing and contrasting the two primary documents.  They are asked to identify the differences and similarities in the treatment of lower class individuals in both documents.
4. Student will write their reactions to the slave cods and Hammurabi codes.  At the end of class teacher pointed out that people had strong reactions to these laws in the past, just as they do, but what can they do when they feel strongly about a matter. End of content

Teacher Reflections

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Student Assessment

No student assessment available for this lesson plan.

Examples of Students Work

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Provided by the Teaching American History in South Carolina Project