Socratic Seminar Lesson Plan – Grade 6 Death of Socrates

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Socratic Seminar Lesson Plan – Grade 6 Death of Socrates

Text: Excerpt from Plato’s Crito and worksheet, Plato’s Crito (Platos Crito link at
SS.HAW.c Make decisions and analyze decisions of individuals, groups, and institutions in other times and places, and evaluate the consequences

SS.HAW.60.02e Evaluate the achievements and limitations of political and social institutions that developed in Athens, Sparta, and other Aegean city-states

SS.HAW.60.02.e.2 Analyze the relationships among maintaining order under the rule of law, protecting individual rights, and providing for the common good

SS.HAW.60.02e.3 Analyze the concept of citizenship and explain how the concept has changed at different times and in different places

SS.HAW.60.04g Explain the significance of Socrates
Objective(s): Students will explore the reasons for the death of Socrates and what it says about the rule of law.

Time Required: 45 minutes

For the teacher: Socratic Seminar Record Sheet
For each student:

Copy of selected text and worksheet

Rules for a Good Fishbowl Discussion

Fishbowl Discussion: Overview

For each participant:

Teacher’s Evaluation of Participant’s Performance

For each coach:

Coach’s Evaluation of Participant’s Performance

Pre-Seminar Activities:

Provide students with some background knowledge of ancient Greece.

Provide background material on Socrates (see suggested links above).
Provide selected text and worksheet for students to read and complete prior to Socratic seminar.
Participants and coaches will meet for a pre-conference to discuss the participant’s goals for the discussion.

Essential or

Opening Question:

Why was Socrates tried and put to death?


Was Socrates’ trial and death justified?

Additional Questions:

  • What was Socrates accused of?

  • What proof or testimony was offered against Socrates?

  • Were the charges justified?

  • Why was the Assembly actually angry?

  • What is meant by “rule of law”?

  • Does the trial of Socrates reflect “rule of law” or mob rule?

  • Does Socrates have an obligation to obey the law?

  • Should a person obey a bad law?

Post Seminar Activities:

The teacher will thank students for their participation and summarize the main ideas and concepts examined during the discussion.

Coaches provide feedback to the participants during a post-conference to acknowledge strengths and identify weaknesses.
Students may extend the discussion and compare Socrates to another historical figure, such as Martin Luther King, who also challenged the laws of his day and spent time in jail.
Students may write an appeal to the Athenian court citing evidence to persuade the court to release Socrates.

Assessment Options:

The teacher will evaluate participants and coaches using rubric provided.

If time permits, students may write a paragraph or complete an exit ticket to explain what they learned from the seminar.

Teacher Resources:

The Baldwin Project: The Story of the Greeks ( )

Socrates (

The Last Days of Socrates (

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