How to Build a Ziggurat for a School Project

By Dawn Marcotte

A ziggurat is the Mesopotamia version of a pyramid. A large building made of stones; ziggurats are temples rather than tombs. These monumental structures continued to be built as late as 300 B.C. and were built exclusively by kings. Squares in layers, each smaller than the one below, forms a tower designed to impress and prove a secular ruler could create a significant religious structure. The most famous ziggurat may be the tower of Babel.

Easy Ziggurat Model

Lay 14 sugar cubes in a straight row, close enough to be touching, on one sheet of cardboard. The cubes should form a wall. Mark both ends of the row with a pencil. Measure the length of the cube wall. Use the ruler to draw three additional lines of this length to create a square on the cardboard sheet. Cut out this square and set it aside. Repeat this process on a different cardboard sheet with a line of 10 sugar cubes, and on a third sheet with six sugar cubes. These cardboard squares will form the terraces for the ziggurat.

Lay the 14 sugar cubes in a row on the plywood base. Lay another 14 sugar cubes perpendicular to the first row to create the second wall of the base of the ziggurat. Repeat for the other two sides to create a square with 14 sugar cubes per side. Place the largest cardboard square on top of the layer to ensure it fits correctly. Glue all the sugar cubes in place. Replace the largest cardboard square on top of this layer of sugar cubes and glue it in place.

Place 14 sugar cubes across the cardboard in a row. Remove two sugar cubes from each end so there is a row of 10 sugar cubes centered on the cardboard. Mark the ends of the sugar cube row with a 1-inch line. Repeat for all four sides of the cardboard terrace. The corners of the second layer of sugar cubes are where the lines intersect. Build a square with 10 sugar cubes as indicated by the lines. This should create a second layer that is centered on the first. Glue the cubes together. Lay the second cardboard square on top of the second wall and glue it in place.

For the next layer, put 10 cubes in a row and remove two from each side to create a six-cube wall. Repeat for the other three sides of the third layer to create a six-cube square. Glue the cubes in place and place the smallest cardboard square on top. The final layer will be two cubes centered on the top of the previous layer.

Make the stairs from the ground to the first level with the remaining cardboard. Measure a line 4.5 centimeters long on a cardboard sheet and mark it with a pencil. Measure and mark each 1.5-centimeter length along this line. Draw a line perpendicular to both of the 1.5-centimeter marks that is 10 centimeters long. Draw a line from the left side of the 4.5 centimeter line to the end of the 10-centimeter line on the left side, creating a triangle. Repeat for the right side. Cut out the resulting polygon. Fold along the two 10-centimeter lines. This forms a stairway that can be placed with the open end attached to the front of the ziggurat. Glue it in place.


Add details to the model with markers. For example, draw a door on one of the cubes at the top.

About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Dawn Marcotte has been writing for more than 10 years. Her recent writing has turned to nonfiction and includes articles on home and garden, education, crafts and automotive subjects. She currently has several eBooks published and available online. Marcotte has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Iowa.