Skip to main content

Ancient Greece: A Unit Study

Evelyn is a first grade teacher who specializes in teaching students how to write in cursive and in print.

Ancient Greece school study activities

Ancient Greece school study activities

Activities for Learning About Ancient Greece

Ah, the Ancient Greeks! What a wonderful subject to explore! From Ancient Greek mythology to the philosophies of Socrates and Plato, from Euclid's geometry to the origins of democracy, this is a unit study for middle schoolers that can easily be adapted up or down for K-12.

Learn of the Ancient Greek gods and goddesses and how their mythologies affected the ordinary lives of the people of Ancient Greece. Compare the philosophies of Epicurus and Aristotle. Use K'nex and patty papers to understand Euclid's geometry. Make a lyre and a cyclops.

Gather your learning into a portfolio of your Ancient Greece studies and highlight them in an Ancient Greece lapbook.

This unit study is an evolving exploration of Ancient Greece filled with fun, creative, hands-on learning. Step back in time to experience life in Ancient Greece...

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

My 13-year-old loved this book. She was fascinated with mythology and couldn't put it down. This is not a picture book.

Mythology by Edith Hamilton describes each of the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece and tells their stories. There are the common ones, of course, but there are also some lesser-known ones as well.

Reading back and forth through the book, you get a sense of what a rich storytelling tradition people enjoyed in Ancient Greece.

At first, we found it difficult to keep track of all the gods and goddesses and their relationship to each other. So here are a few of the activities we did in order to keep them straight:

  • We created a genealogy or family tree of the gods similar to the one on Wikipedia, but we included pictures of the gods and goddesses.
  • Created a timeline in order to keep track of the events mentioned. Teacher OZ has some good examples, but we just made our own on index cards that we attached to a clothesline. Each time we ran across a new date, we would add it to our timeline.
  • We posted a map of Ancient Greece on the wall to keep track of places. When we studied Ancient Greece, we didn't have much access to the Internet. You might find it easier to use Google Earth, such as this presentation on some of the most famous archaeological sites.

Discover New Books About Ancient Greece

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths is one of my children's favorite books on Greek myths. Whenever we go to the library, we look for and read many others. But we all agree that if you were to own only one book of Greek myths, this would be the one.

Tales of Daily Life in Ancient Greece

Reading tales of daily life in Ancient Greece transports children back in time to learn more about this glorious civilization from antiquity.

Meet the Spartan Twins as they watch the Parthenon be built. A Macedonian earns acceptance from the people of Thebes.

Fictional Tales of Ancient Greece From The Baldwin Project

Greek Letter Sporcle

Can You Name the Greek Alphabet? is a Sporcle Greek alphabet quiz game.

Type in the English names of the Greek letters. At first, it might be difficult, but with practice, you will get better and better.

With this fun online game, you compete against yourself. Can you beat your own time?

Another fun way to practice the Greek alphabet is to purchase two copies of the poster to the right. Cut them apart, laminate them, and use them to play Go Fish, Memory or other card games.

By just playing games, you will be surprised at how fast you can learn all the letters.

Ancient Greek Geometry

The Ancient Greeks spent their time studying geometry. Geometry looks at shapes and spacial relationships and describes them using numbers and diagrams.

There are dozens of projects you can do to better understand geometry. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Blow bubbles—what happens when you blow them through a square opening rather than a round one? Can you make square bubbles?
  • Compare squares and triangles—use K'nex to form geometric shapes
  • Compare squares with cubes, triangles with cones and hexagons with polyhedrons.

Golden Ratio and Pythagoras

Daily Life in Ancient Greece

Acropolis of Ancient Athens, Crowned by the Parthenon and a Statue of Athena

Acropolis of Ancient Athens, Crowned by the Parthenon and a Statue of Athena

Building Our Own Parthenon

Together we assembled the Parthenon, that incredibly majestic symbol of Ancient Greece. Creating paper models gives you the opportunity to revisit all that you have been learning. Later, we used it in dollhouse fashion to retell the stories of Ancient Greeks meeting on the steps to talk, philosophize, or conduct business.

Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean

Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean immerses you in an exciting, competitive world filled with aggressive trading, perilous voyages, and the construction of grand monuments. It is a game of commerce for 3-6 players set in the islands of the Aegean Sea. The time is 600 B.C., and mainland Greece stands on the threshold of glory. The Aegean Islands now attempt to share in that glory and thrive in an increasingly profitable (and dangerous) world.

Each player represents a different island in the Aegean Sea populated by two villages and a fleet of trading ships. Each island's villages produce commodities which are either traded with the other islands or sent abroad across the Mediterranean Sea. Fleets journeying to distant lands face the deadliest hazards and obtain the greatest rewards.

Each player strives to develop his island by building additional villages, workshops, and advanced structures such as fortresses, shrines, and academies. The first player to complete all of the structures on his or her island, including two Great Wonders, wins the game!

Playing Parthenon

Playing Parthenon

Greek History Can Be Hilarious!

Dr. Allan Chapman, Oxford University professor and historian of science, presents this humorous and entertaining series charting the life and times of some of the world's most influential scientists.

The Riddle of Epicurus: Ancient Greeces and Higher Level Thinking

Either God wants to abolish evil (natural disasters, diseases, suffering, famine etc), and cannot; or he can, but does not want to . . . If he wants to but cannot, he is impotent. If he can but does not want to, he is wicked . . . If, as they say, God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?

Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes

My 13-year-old expressed an interest in learning about philosophy. When I ran across this audiotape, I just had to get it and pop it in the car's CD player. My daughter, of course, loves to tell jokes. So I thought that this slant on teaching philosophy might be just the thing to tickle her funny bone.

Children Create Their Own Icarus Copying the Techniques of Matisse

The mythology of Ancient Greece has inspired people for centuries. Icarus by Henri Matisse is done in a simple, bold style. By creating artwork that copies the masters, children have a chance to explore different artistic styles and broaden their perspective on the ways that they choose to illustrate their work.

  1. Read the story of Icarus from D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.
  2. Show the children the poster of Icarus by Henri Matisse. Discuss the colors and the simple shapes that depict Icarus as he falls from the sky.
  3. Ask children what materials they think might have been used to create this picture.

I found that with very young children, it was easier for them to use pastels on dark, blue construction paper to create their pictures of Icarus. For older children, you might have them cut the pieces from yellow and black construction paper and glue them on.

Greetings from the Ancient Greeks

Aakash on March 08, 2019:

Let me know about Greek culture.

How they calculate

the devil 666 on May 23, 2017:

it is really important somewhat didn't understand the info

Niktravelfit on July 20, 2014:

Really great job on this lens - thanks a lot!

AstroGremlin on February 04, 2014:

Love this lens! Learned about a book, D'Auleries I had not seen. The reviews indicate I've been missing a lot.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on January 28, 2014:

Ancient Greek culture has always fascinated me. And I enjoy re-reading Edith Hamilton's Greek mythology. Great lens! Well done!

NoYouAreNot on March 16, 2013:

Superb lens!

I'm delighted to meet such an ardent lover of our Greek mythology and culture here on Squidoo. Thank you for introducing little ones to ancient Greek world.

kabbalah lm on February 27, 2013:

Great lens. Blessings

Zut Moon on May 31, 2012:

Another Excellent lens ... Blessed...

eccles1 on May 26, 2012:

Either God wants to abolish evil (natural disasters, diseases, suffering, famine etc), and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. ... If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. ... If, as they say, God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world? I think the answer to his riddle is we need Higher Level Thinking and as Aristotle says it is not enough to know but we must try to have and use it

I love these men!

ogrote on April 18, 2012:

Very good lens - I think we have a lot to learn from Ancient Greece in this Olympic year.

DonD LM on January 25, 2012:

You have an excellent lense. I enjoyed reading you lense about Ancient Greek Activities.

crstnblue on January 22, 2012:

Wonderful land thoughtful ens on study and ancient Greek activities.

Glad to learn something new today! : )

Thumbs up for you!

traveller27 on November 23, 2011:

Great lens - blessed by a travelling angel.

shauna1934 on September 28, 2011:

Adding this to my delicious list. Not sure if history repeats itself or not.

Varelli on July 14, 2011:

I like ancient history, especially greek. Great lens indeed!

anonymous on May 08, 2011:

wonderful lens. the ancient greek activities are filled with fun and creative which are celebrated as a great historical period. you can also find that through latest clothes with custom greek letters on our website

Shannon from Florida on January 18, 2011:

Great lens! Thank you for sharing! I'm saving this for when we study Ancient Greece!

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on November 25, 2010:

This is perfect timing for me. We are just looking for a project to do to finish out the year, and this is about where we are in history. Thanks for pulling it together.

scar4 on October 12, 2010:

Very informative and resourceful. I am interested in Greece history and culture. Thank you for the lens.

Michael Shepherd from Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland on October 01, 2010:

Wow, what a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious lens. I haven't seen one this good since the one on Michelangelo.

Bella Stella on September 09, 2010:

You must have worked a lot in order to make such a less. I like the photos and the videos you have used. You might be interested in my lens that is about Ancient Athens, in particular Philopappos hill which used to be an important monument during the ancestry. I hope that you will have a look at it, if you have some free time!

Nan from London, UK on August 28, 2010:

I wish we had had access to this when I was learning about the ancient Greeks and Romans in school.

anonymous on April 20, 2010:

All of your lenses are so colourful and instructive, for all ages. Thank you.

Evelyn Saenz (author) from Royalton on March 25, 2010:

@Helena_Schrader: These are the materials that I used with my daughter when we were doing our Ancient Greek Unit Study. I hope they help you if you decide to study Ancient Greece with your children.

Helena_Schrader on March 25, 2010:

This is a wonderful lens! There is so much great information and so many interesting resources here. You've done an amazing job putting all this together. When you get the chance, I'd love for you to stop by my lens and say hello.

Evelyn Saenz (author) from Royalton on December 10, 2009:

@hypnosis4life: Thank you so much. Have you studied Ancient Greece with your children?

Evelyn Saenz (author) from Royalton on December 10, 2009:

@AlisonMeacham: Thank you, Mouse, We certainly have enjoyed this unit study.

AlisonMeacham on December 09, 2009:

Wonderful as always Evelyn. I have sent this to some of my homeschooling friends as I know they will love it.

hypnosis4life on October 16, 2009:

Love the Lens - and what a subject. Still a lot we can learn from ancient Greece.

anonymous on October 13, 2009:

As a child I love the stories of Greek mythology. Another great Home Learning resource here Evelyn

Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on October 11, 2009:

Happy to see my daughter's Ancient Greece Lapbook here! :-)

Nice lens. I loved all the poster issues.

anonymous on October 10, 2009:

This is a great looking lens. I'll have to browse some of your other lenses. :-)