Asian Art Museum | Education

The best of Asian art at the tip of your fingers for use in the classroom or at home.

Sign up

In My Resources you can save the content you like all in one place. Get started by creating an account.

Create a new account

Investigating the Cyrus Cylinder: K-W-L

The Cyrus Cylinder

The Cyrus Cylinder, 539–538 BCE. Iraq, Achaemenid period (550–330 BCE). Baked clay. © Trustees of the British Museum.


Students will complete a K-W-L chart and Object Investigation of the Cyrus Cylinder to research the Achaemenid Persian empire and Cyrus the Great.

45 minutes
Grade Level: 
Academic Subject: 
Keyword Results: 

The Cyrus Cylinder: K-W-L Chart for each student (see downloads above)
Great Power, Great Choices (storytelling video)
Image and description of the Cyrus Cylinder
Rediscovering the Cyrus Cylinder: The Making of a Cultural Icon


Additional Materials :
Cyrus the Great and the Rise of the Persian Empire (talk)


  1. Project an image of the Cyrus Cylinder and ask students to think about what they know (K) and what they want to know (W) about the Cyrus Cylinder (and/or Persian empire). Individually, students complete the K-W in the K-W-L chart.
  2. Show the storytelling video, Great Power, Great Choices. Invite students to add to their K-W-L chart.
  3. In pairs, students share their progress on their K-W-L chart and work together to complete the L column by reading Rediscovering the Cyrus Cylinder: The Making of a Cultural Icon.
  4. In pairs, students decide three ideas or facts that they think are most interesting about the Cyrus Cylinder and put each idea on a post-it.
  5. Student pairs share out their interesting facts while the teacher facilitates sorting into main categories.