Wonders of the World: Past and Present

Wonders of the World: Past and Present
Rachel Jackson: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: Three to four class periods.


The very first list of the Seven Wonders of the World was proposed over 2,000 years ago by the Greek historian, Herodotus. Other lists were created in the Middle Ages.  The 18th and19th centuries, during the lifetime of Rachel Jackson, was also a time of world-wide exploration, and because people were seeing—often for the first time—marvels of nature and creations of man, many lists of “wonders” were presented.  However, most people have agreed at least on the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, and the fun of creating new lists of wonders continues today.


Students who participate in this lesson will learn about the seven wonders of the ancient world, as well as of the natural world, and one list of marvels of the modern world.  They will also have an opportunity to vote on a new list of Seven Wonders of the Natural Word, and then discover which seven won (provisionally announced on 11/11/11).

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet; a large map of the world; 21 post-it notes; ballots.


1.  Introduce the lesson by asking students if they’ve ever heard of the “Seven Wonders of the World.”  If they have, let them describe one or more.  If they have not, describe some characteristics of a “world wonder,” and ask them to nominate some from their own experience.  Keep a list of nominations.
2.  Divide the class into three groups, and, using the websites listed below, as well as others, as needed, assign each group research tasks as follows:
  • Group 1 – The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  • Group 2 – The Seven Wonders of the Modern World
  • Group 3 – The Seven Wonders of the Natural World
3.  Each group should find the following information about each set of seven wonders:
  • Where on the planet is the wonder located?
  • When was it discovered or built?
  • Why is it considered a wonder?
4.  As students discover their “wonders,” have them put a bright post-it note with the name of the “wonder,” on the large map of the world in the classroom.  Ask them to keep notes on their findings.
5.  When the research has been completed, ask each group to share its findings with the whole class, paying particular attention to why a particular “wonder” is so-called.  Keep a list of “wonder-ful” characteristics on the chalkboard.
6.  When all information has been shared, invite all students to explore the “New Seven Wonders of the World” website, below.  7.  Conclude the lesson by tallying the class votes, comparing them with the newly elected Seven Wonders (see website below), and, perhaps, displaying pictures of the “New Seven Wonders” on a bulletin board.

Extending the Lesson:

One way to extend this lesson is to involve other classes in the school in the voting—create a school-wide interest in “wonders.”

Sources & Resources:


Ash, Russell, Ling, Mary. Great  Wonders of the World. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000.
Bergin, Mark, and Salariya, David. Wonders of the World. Danbury, CT: Franklin Watts, 1999.


Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Seven Wonders of the Modern World

Seven Wonders of the Natural World

Nominate the Seven New Wonders of the Natural World

Provisional Voting Results for the Seven New Wonders of the Natural World

New Seven Wonders of the World


This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.