Marsh Arabs - Reed House Models

Week 4: We built reed houses.

Natural World Special Miracle in the Marshes of Iraq is a must see for anyone studying Mesopotamia. This one hour video broken into four parts connects what is happening in modern day Iraq to the Marsh Arabs of the past and present.

The Marsh Arabs rebelled against Saddam Hussein. In retaliation he drained their land. Consequently, many of them died as did the plants and animals. The land became dessert. Today efforts are being made to re-flood the marshes. As the environment is rebuilt plants, animals and people are slowly returning.

Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq have lived in much the same way for thousands of years. Their houses and boats were built from reeds. This short video clip provides insight to building a Mudhif - Reed house.

We built our reed houses with licorice. I love engineering projects because three different kids given the same knowledge, materials and instructions come up with very different results.

One useful trick we learned was to punch holes in the cardboard base and tie the main licorice supports to the base. This helped to hold them in place.

After the houses were complete and left to sit they began to collapse. We found it was necessary to prop them up with craft sticks until the licorice hardened a bit.

To read more about our history activities please visit our history page. There are still several more projects coming soon. To receive emails of new posts you can sign-up to follow by email on the right-hand side of the blog.

This post is linked to 
Flashback Friday
True Aim Education
Weekly Kid Co-op


  1. Using the licorice is such a creative idea! They are more flexible than straws (what I would have thought of using). I only came to know about the Marsh Arabs during the Iraq wars, and have been fascinated by their history and way of life eversince. Thank you for sharing your projects and links. I'll have to save them for the next time we study Mesopotamia. :-)

    1. The licorice was fun to work with, but it never really hardened. We propped it up with a few hidden crafts sticks.


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