Best Practices Lesson Plan Design – Elementary ss example

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Best Practices Lesson Plan Design – Elementary SS Example


  • To explain the political roots of our modern democracy in the United States of America. (SS3H1)

  • Locate Greece on a world map (SS3G1)


Using the connecting theme beliefs and ideals, students will explore concrete examples of Greek influence on United States architecture and the modern Olympic games; then they will learn about the more abstract influence of Greek government on the United States Government

By understanding location, students will understand where the United States is in relation to other places (Greece) in the world and continue to develop basic map skills.

Priority Standards:

SS3H1: TSW explain the political roots of our modern democracy in the United States of America.

  1. Identify the influence of Greek architecture (columns on the Parthenon, U.S. Supreme Court building), law, and the Olympic Games on the present.

  2. Explain the ancient Athenians’ idea that a community should choose its own leaders.

  3. Compare and contrast Athens as a direct democracy with the United States as a representative democracy.

SS3G1: TSW locate major topographical features.

  1. Locate Greece on a world map.

Resources for Instruction

TCSS Website

Georgia Experience

Studies Weekly


Pictures of Parthenon and U.S. Supreme Court Buidling

Time Allocated

7 days


How did Greek architecture influence columns on American government buildings?

How does the present day Olympics compare to ancient Greek Olympics?

How does direct democracy differ from representative democracy?

What influence did ancient Greek democracy have on the modern democracy in the US?

Where is Greece located in relation to the United States?

What is a republican form of government?

Activator/Connection/Warm Up

  • Using the website, Brainpop, show students the video clips on Athens, Olympics and Democracy. (Different one each day) with a partner, have student write down five things that they learned from the videos. Have students share.

  • Using the Pictures of the Parthenon and U.S. Supreme Court Building: (slide 2) Show the pictures of the Parthenon and the U.S. Supreme Court Building. With a partner, have the student write down five similarities between the two buildings. Have students share.

Instructional Delivery

  • Teaching Point/Mini Lesson/Teacher Input (I Do/Modeling)

  • Guided Instruction/ Differentiated Instruction (We Do)

  • Independent Practice (You Do)

Using the Georgia Experience, Chapter 1, and the Studies Weekly, Weeks 1 & 2,, share the information about Greece and how they influenced architecture, democracy (government) and the Olympics in the United States.

Democracy: students will participate in each type of election as a class. Election number one will be using the direct democracy approach in which each child votes individually on a topic. Some possible topics include voting on playing kickball or free play for recess, eating lunch in the cafeteria or the classroom, or choosing a class nickname or motto, etc. The second election will be using the representative democracy approach. Each group chooses a leader to represent the whole group. Make sure the group leaders know that their vote is supposed to represent “majority rule” not their personal feelings. Vote on the same issue as you did for the direct democracy and compare the results. Let each group take turns choosing a new leader so that students see how the views of the group as a whole should influence the decision of the group leader.
Architecture: Show students pictures of the Parthenon in Greece and the US Supreme Court Building. Ask students to compare the 2 building and write their responses on a chart. (The main focus of this discussion will center on columns. Students do not need to know the exact type of columns or the names of the different types of columns.) Students will then conduct some research at home or at school and bring in pictures of other buildings that have columns from building they find in Washington, DC, Atlanta, or their community to glue into their flip book.
Olympics: In pairs, have students read Origin and History of the Olympic Games and The Modern Olympic Games. Using a Venn Diagram, students will compare and contrast the ancient Olympic games and the Modern Olympic Games. Venn Diagram
Democracy: After the elections are completed, students will complete a Venn diagram to compare and contrast both types of democracy. Discuss as a group the pros and cons of both elections. Have students think about these questions: did each voting topic still have the same outcome; why did the elections turn out the way they did? Explain to students that we are a representative democracy in the United States; modeled after the ancient Greeks.

Students will write a story of their own. They will think of a time when they were asked to do an important task. Using the example set by Paul Revere, students will write a story describing the job/task they were asked to do, how they felt about doing it, and how they carried out the job or task, and how completing the job/task helped others.
Architecture: Create a flip book using pictures/drawings to show examples of how Ancient Greek architecture has influenced modern day architecture locally and nationally (U.S. Supreme Court Building).
Olympics: Students will write a speech to the International Olympic Committee convincing the committee to hold the Olympics in their hometown.

Think what the Committee is looking for:

A plan to build sporting venues

Good transportation

Public support

Strong security

Summarizer/Closure/Evaluation of Lesson

Ticket out the Door:

Democracy: Ticket out the door: Do you think that the Athens form of a direct democracy or our American representative democracy is better? Explain your opinion.
Architecture: Students will write a short paragraph that describes what we borrowed from the ancient Greeks that we see in many important buildings today.
Olympics: List 3 differences between the Ancient and Modern Day Olympics

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