Ancient Greece: A Unit Study
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 effected 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 of the less 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 goddess.
- Created a time line in order to keep track of the events mentioned. Teacher OZ has some good examples but we just made our own on index cards which 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 archaelogical sites.
Read lots of books about Ancient Greece - Discover new books and recommend the best Ancient Greek books
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 if you were to own only one book of Greek Myths, this would be the one.
Tales of Daily Life in Ancient Greece - Fictional Stories about 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 by the people of Thebes.
Fictional Tales of Ancient Greece from The Baldwin Project
- The Spartan Twins by Lucy Finch Perkins
One lovely spring morning long years ago in Hellas, Lydia, wife of Melas the Spartan, sat upon a stool in the court of her house...
- A Young Macedonian by Alfred J. Church
A Macedonian wins the foot race at the Ancient Greek Olympics and becomes accepted citizens of Thebes.
Learn the Greek Alphabet
Greek Letter Sporkle
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.
- Decipher the Code of the Ancient Greek Alphabet
Use this chart to help you write your own imaginary letter home to Athens!
Introduction to Ancient Greek Mathematics
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 hexigons with polyhedrons.
Golden Ratio and Pythagoras
Daily Life in Ancient Greece - What was it like to live in Ancient Greece?
- Ancient Greece - Daily Life - The British Museum
Learn about daily life in Ancient Greece through interactive readings in conjunction with the museum's collection.
- The Internet Classics Archive | The History of Herodotus by Herodotus
The History of Herodotus by Herodotus, part of the Internet Classics Archive
Ancient Greek Commerce - Build the Parthenon
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.
Epicurus: Ancient Greek Philosopher
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 to 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, but also 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!
Illustrated by Stephen Walsh.
Winner of Origins 2006 Best Boardgame of the Year
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. Using a blend of archive, animation and comedy dr
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?
Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar...: - Understanding Philosopy Through Jokes
My 13 year old expressed an interest in learning about Philosophy and 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.
Icarus by Henry Matisse
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. Some children prefer acrylics on a canvas,