• Funded by: Qatar Foundation International
  • Focus: World History/Engineering/ Ancient Muslim Culture
  • Project type: Maker Curriculum


The Ancient Inventions program will explore the idea that kids can build anything, and through building learn about cultures and people who made unique and powerful contributions to science and technology. The maker activities will focus on contributions and transformative ideas  from many cultures. The Ancient Inventions program will show how cross-cultural understanding and social justice can be achieved through games and applied curriculum. By understanding cultures and inventions through its storied history, inventions, and great minds, students’ potentially limited familiarity with different cultures will be expanded and we believe they will learn to respect and appreciate their contributions. This is a transformative and holistic approach that makes learning invigorating while improving educational yields and helping students become more compassionate and worldly people.

Project Goals

  • Students will understand that society is rooted in advancements that took place across time and throughout many cultures.
  • Students will recreate ancient inventions and delve into extensive research on the dimensions, materials, and societal purposes of these inventions.
  • Students will gain an understanding of society, people and human knowledge.


GameDesk’s Ancient Inventions unit is different from existing Making curriculum in a number of ways in that:

  1. It will be standards-based.
  2. It will merge disparate subject areas ranging from science to literature to history to math.
  3. It will involve subject areas that are sometimes absent from K-12 study.
  4. It will use practical application and engineering to study culture and history as well as contextualize hacking/making/tinkering within history and culture.
  5. It will be backed by GameDesk and Los Angeles-based makers.
  6. It will not only impact students locally but will be made nationally available.
  7. With additional assessment funds its effectiveness will be measured and supported.

Assessment and Feedback

GameDesk tested the Ancient Inventions curriculum with Los Angeles middle school students. While these early play-test and research phases aided in refining the design of the curriculum, the response from students was overwhelmingly positive. A majority of students were highly engaged in the challenge of building an invention. Further, these experiences confirmed that hands-on maker experiences effectively apply students’ understanding of physics concepts.

Here are some of the Inventions the curriculum covers