Students are required to practice their empathy skills by imagining they were one of the inhabitants or the ancient city of Pompeii at the time of the eruption in 79 AD.
I did this task with a 7th grade class after we had spent some time looking at Roman life, the town of Pompeii and its inhabitants. It can easily be used as a stand alone activity, integrated into a larger unit on Ancient Rome or as a lesson to follow the consequences of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It can be done in as much depth as you like also.
In this task, students are required to first watch the BBC documentary "Pompeii the Last Days" . I actually have it on DVD but, alternatively, it can be found here:
Students will choose one character from the documentary, watch how the lives of their characters are affected by the eruption of Vesuvius and then record their observations and experiences in a 2 page journal. I have done this a few times with various students and they all enjoy it. Some students get very creative with their presentation. Some students choose their characters to survive, others get more dramatic and write until their characters 'dying moments'. It's a personal choice how you would do it.
I hope you enjoy this activity!