Roman Aqueducts and Irrigation System

Roman Aqueducts and Irrigation System Lesson Video:

Lesson Plan:

*You can use the document in the link below to either: tailor the experiment to your needs or to have a printable version of this lesson plan*

Google Doc of River Model Lesson Plan

The plan is editable and printable. Copy the Google Doc in your own drive and make edits or you can just print.


In this hands-on project, students will learn more about the infrastructure of the ancient Roman civilization. Students will construct a model of a Roman aqueduct used to provide irrigation to the land and city.  The design of the aqueduct and irrigation will involve the use of straws, popsicle sticks, and other basic classroom items. The students will learn how science played a role in the construction of the aqueduct. The students will assess the significance of the irrigation system on the Roman civilization. Finally, the students will understand why these systems positively impacted humans and the environment.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Construct an aqueduct and irrigation system using the supplies provided.
  2. Observe how water flows in an aqueduct.
  3. Investigate how engineering utilizes gravity and slopes to build an irrigation system.
  4. Recognize the connection between aqueducts and irrigation systems. 
  5. Recognize the significance and long-standing of the Roman aqueduct system.

Alignment with NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards)

MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems. 

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (Grades 6 – 8)

MS-ETS1-4: Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.


STEAM Subjects: 

Science and History

Science Vocabulary: 

Engineering and Gravity


Day 1: 1-2 hours 

Day 2: 2-3 hours


  • 1 pair of Scissors
  • 2 clear Boba straws 
  • A few Popsicle sticks
  • Handful of beads
  • 1 cup (paper type material)
  • 1 small plastic bowl
  • 3-6 oz Air Dry Clay or Playdough

Special Thank You to Our Funding From:

CSUCI Faculty MiniGrant Program