Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco uc berkeley History-Social Science Project



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Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project

2011 Ancient Civilizations Summer Institute

Alison Waterman – 6th Grade

Unit Topic: Ancient Greece (see Unit Map attached)
Unit Focus Question: Why is ancient Greece considered the foundation of western civilization?

Unit Teaching Thesis: Ancient Greece’s many achievements in government, literature, language, mathematics, science, art, and architecture have helped shape our western culture, and continue to influence our society today.
History-Social Science Content Standard: 6.4.4. Explain the significance of Greek mythology to the everyday life of people in the region and how Greek literature continues to permeate our literature and language today, drawing from Greek mythology and epics, such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and from Aesop’s Fables.
6 -8 Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills: Research, Evidence, and Point of View 4. Students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions from them.
Common Core Standards: Reading Standards for Literacy in History / Social Studies 6-12: Grade 6-8 Students: Key Ideas and Details: (2) Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Common Core Standards: Wring Standards for Literacy in History / Social Studies 6-12: Grades 6-8: Text Types and Purposes: Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content: (a) Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish claim(s) from alternate or opposing cliams, and organize the reasons and evidence logically; (b) Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate and understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.


Lesson Plan

Lesson Topic: Greek Pottery
Big Idea” Lesson Focus Question: How do the mythology, literature, and art of the ancient Greeks reflect their beliefs?
Lesson Teaching Thesis:

The ancient Greeks’ belief that the gods directly affected people’s lives is reflected in their mythology, literature, and art. Myths explained the causes of both natural and historical events to the Greeks. The literature of the ancient Greeks emerged from their mythology; mythological stories were often the subject of Greek art as well. An educated Greek would not only possess such skillfully crafted vessels, but would also recognize the scenes painted on these pots.


Additional Teacher Notes:

Evidence (specific examples) of Greeks’ belief that the gods caused both natural and historic events:

  • Volcanic eruptions were caused by the god Hephaestus, who created weapons for the gods in his underground forge.

  • The Trojan War was caused by an argument among three goddesses over an apple inscribed “For the Fairest.”

Evidence that Greek literature and art emerged from their mythology:

  • The Trojan War and its aftermath, long part of oral tradition, are recounted in Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey, as well as in the tragedies of Sophocles and Aeschylus.

  • Scenes from myths were painted on vases, pots, and other vessels, suggesting that these myths were not only familiar but important to the vessels’ owners.

Link from lesson focus question to unit focus question:

Greek mythology, literature, and art have continued to shape western culture and thinking. From the language we use to the ideas expressed in our art and literature, Greek mythology has continued to influence writers, thinkers, and artists who followed and were familiar with the work of the ancient Greeks.


Pottery Lesson Focus Question: What does this Greek vessel teach us about the beliefs of the ancient Greeks?
Pottery Lesson Teaching Thesis: This vessel shows the inter-relatedness of Greek mythology, literature and art. The paintings on the krater depict important scenes from the epic poem The Iliad, which in turn is based on mythology. Pottery reveals the beliefs that were important to ancient Greeks.
Texts:

  • Ancient Civilizations (2006 Holt, Rinehart and Winston) pp. 270-275, 303-304

  • Fleischman, Paul. Dateline: Troy (1996 Candlewick Press) pp. 58-60

  • The Usborne Encylopedia of Ancient Greece (2001 Scholastic) pp. 80-81

  • Get Smart with Art at the de Young binder, Ancient Civilizations Object Information Sheet #7


Primary Sources: Two terracotta pots on display at the Legion of Honor:

  • Volute-krater (wine vessel) attributed to the Baltimore Painter (South Italian, Apulia, c. 330-320 BCE, #2005.24a-b)

  • Black-figure amphora (Greek, Athens, late 6th century BCE, #1925.368)


Observation and Analysis Strategies:

  • Analyzing Art

  • Summarizing the Primary Source


Writing Instruction: Thesis and Evidence Paragraph Frame/Outline


Lesson Overview and Rationale:

Students will observe and analyze a Greek pot that depicts an important scene from Homer’s epic poem The Iliad. Students will then read a synopsis and excerpt from The Iliad and use this information to synthesize (put together) the relationship between mythology and the arts (i.e., literature and visual art) to the ancient Greeks. Together, text and artifact will enable students to infer that the ancient Greeks’ belief in the importance of their gods and mythology is reflected in their art and literature.



This lesson could be used during a unit on ancient Greece or as a preview to the unit. Ideally, students would observe and analyze the photographs of the pots and read the excerpt from The Iliad the day before a field trip to the Legion of Honor to look at the actual Greek pots on display.
Lesson Steps:

  1. Explain to students that they will observe and analyze two photographs of Greek pots from the Legion of Honor’s collection. Explain that Greek pots came in many forms, depending on the purpose, and that styles of decoration changed as time passed. Tell students they will get a chance to practice and improve their observation skills, as well as their ability to analyze (take apart) and synthesize (put together) information to help them interpret the meaning and importance of the paintings on Greek pots.

  2. First, show the picture of black-figure amphora. Ask students to create an “I See/I Question” T-chart to jot their first observations and impressions of this pot. Have students share their observations and questions with a partner, then share out with whole class. (Ex.: “I notice there are four people who look like they are fighting. Three of the warriors are dressed similarly, but one looks like he’s wearing a lion skin.”)

  3. Next, instruct students to read the information about the amphora (Object Information Sheet #7 in Get Smart with Art at the de Young binder). Then have students review their T-charts to see what information they can now add. Help students see that knowing background information about a culture enhances their understanding of the significance of the object.

  4. Describe the black- and red-figure method of painting pots that developed in Athens. (See The Usborne Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece, pp. 80-81). Help students understand that the shape and decorative style of a pot helps historians determine the vessel’s function, as well as the date and place of origin.

  5. Now show students a picture of the volute-krater. After they have looked at it for several minutes, distribute the “Analyzing Art” worksheet and together complete Part 1 (use an overhead or LCD projector).

  6. Give students 10 minutes or so to complete the “I see…” column in Part 2. You may want students to work individually before sharing/comparing in pairs.

  7. Tell students that they will need more information before they can complete Part 2. This time they won’t get an information sheet explaining the meaning of the illustrations on the krater. Instead they will do a little research by reading an excerpt from a well-known work of Greek literature, The Iliad.

  8. If students are not already familiar with The Iliad, you may wish to summarize the story or have students read a brief synopsis (attached). If you wish to spend a few days having students read or act out the story of the Trojan War, several retellings of The Iliad for students are available.

  9. Once students are familiar with the overall story of The Iliad, have them read the excerpt from Paul Fleischman’s Dateline: Troy (pp. 58-60) which presents the death of Patroclus and the revenge of Achilles.

  10. Now have students return to the “Analyzing Art” worksheet and complete the “I think this means…” and “Questions I’d like to ask…” columns in Part 2.

  11. After 10 minutes or so, facilitate a discussion of students’ answers (and questions) generated by comparing the excerpt from The Iliad to the paintings on the krater.

  12. Finish up this part of the lesson by asking students to practice making inferences about the importance or meaning of the volute-krater before writing their inferences down in Part 3.

  13. For homework, or in class the following day, have students use the Analyzing Art worksheet to complete the frame for summarizing and inferring the message of the primary source and connecting its meaning to the lesson focus question.

  14. Additionally (or alternatively), you could have students complete the Thesis & Evidence Paragraph Frame. This would probably be a separate lesson on turning observations and inferences into strong expository writing.

  15. If possible, take students to the Legion of Honor to see the black-figure amphora and volute-krater before asking them to make inferences which will form the basis for students’ writing.
















ANALYZING ART: Visual Analysis Worksheet Name:_______________________________________________
Lesson Focus Question:___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Title of Object: _____________________________________________________ Media: _____________________________________________


Part 1. WHO, WHERE, WHEN: Thinking about the context in which this object was created

Artist: What do we know about the artist(s) who created this object?



Audience: Who is the intended audience?

Place and Time: Where and when was it created?


Historical Context: What was going on during this era or time period?

Part 3. WHY: Synthesis – Putting it all together (Do this AFTER you complete Part 2!)

This object shows …

Use information above to help you infer (form an idea about) the meaning or importance of this object. Begin sentences with “This piece shows/suggests/describes…”



ANALYZING ART: Visual Analysis Worksheet Name:____________________________________________________


Part 2. WHAT: Observing, explaining, and making inferences about what you see

I see …

Describe in detail everything you see when you look at the object. Optional: draw a sketch as well.

I think this means…

Use your background knowledge to explain the purpose of the object and the meaning of the images you see.

Questions I’d like to ask…

List questions you still have.









I. Summarizing the Primary Source
_____________________________________________________ is a ________________________________

(name, title of source) (type of media)


that ______________________________________________________________________________________

(describe content of primary source)


_________________________________________________________________________________________
II. Establishing Context of Primary Source
The ____________________________________________________________ was created during a time when

(name, title of source)


_______________________________________________________________________________________ for

(describe historical setting)
__________________________________________________________________________________________

(audience)


  1. Inferring the Message of Primary Source

____________________________________suggests/shows that______________________________________

(name, title of source) (WHO?)
portray____________________________________________________________________________________

(WHAT? message regarding a person, place, event, idea)


__________________________________________________________________________________________

because ___________________________________________________________________________________

(REASON)
The evidence for this is ______________________________________________________________________

(SPECIFIC DETAILS – images on pot)


__________________________________________________________________________________________



  1. Connecting Primary Source to Focus Question

This artwork relates to the focus question because _________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

(summarize how the primary source evidence answers the focus question)




Synopsis of The Iliad

The ancient Greeks created myths that explained both natural and historical events. For example, the war between the Greeks and the Trojans was attributed to a conflict among the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, each of whom claimed an apple inscribed “For the Fairest.” The most powerful Olympian god, Zeus, selected the Trojan prince Paris to be the judge; for Zeus did not wish to anger any of these dangerous goddesses (one of whom was his wife, another his daughter). Paris chose Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, because she promised Paris the most beautiful woman in the world as a reward. Unfortunately for Paris, Helen was already married to the King of Sparta, Menelaus. Urged on by Aphrodite, Paris abducted Helen and took her to Troy. This outrageous act led to a war between the Greeks and the Trojans, and this war ultimately led to a battle between the Greek hero Achilles and the Trojan hero Hector, son of Troy’s King Priam and brother of Paris.

The stories about the Trojan War reflect the Greeks’ belief that the gods were behind human events, and that too much pride (hubris) was both crucial to a hero’s success and would inexorably lead to his downfall. When Paris abducted Helen, he set off the Trojan War. When the Greek king Agamemnon feuded with Achilles over a Trojan trophy of war (the slave girl, Briseis), Achilles sulked in his tent and refused to fight. Achilles’ withdrawal from battle led to the death of his dear friend Patroclus at the hands of Hector, which spurred Achilles to seek revenge by not only killing but dishonoring the body of Hector. Although the Greeks ultimately defeated the Trojans, it was at great cost – perhaps another important lesson or belief reflected in Greek mythology.




INTERMEDIATE THESIS & EVIDENCE PARAGRAPH FRAME/OUTLINE
Focus Question:____________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Writing Instructions: ________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Thesis statement:___________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Explanation of Idea: ________________________________________________________________________



_________________________________________________________________________________________

Evidence:_________________________________________________________________________________



_________________________________________________________________________________________

Explanation of Idea: ________________________________________________________________________



_________________________________________________________________________________________

Evidence:_________________________________________________________________________________



_________________________________________________________________________________________

Analysis: _________________________________________________________________________________



_________________________________________________________________________________________

Concluding statement: _______________________________________________________________________



_________________________________________________________________________________________
Note: Could include several more pieces of evidence with specific evidence.


Previewing the Artifact (Key)


I Notice

Write down things you see in your artifact

I Wonder

Write down questions you have about your artifact

  • The vessel (pot, jar) has a wide mouth and a handle on either side of its short neck

  • The background is reddish, while the figures and geometric designs are black and white

  • The scene painted on the pot shows four people who look like they are fighting

  • Three fighters are dressed the same (wearing short tunics and helmets), but each holds a different weapon (spear, bow and shield, ax)

  • The fourth fighter is bigger, taller, and darker-skinned than the other three.

  • He looks like he’s wearing a lion skin and using a sword or club to fight off the other three




  • What was this vessel used for? Is there a name for this kind of pot?

  • Is the red background the natural color of the clay? How did the artist make the figures black and white?

  • Who are the fighters? Why are they fighting?

  • Why are three of the fighters dressed the same way? Are they on the same side? Are they men or women?

  • Who is the big fighter in the middle wearing the lion skin? Why is he fighting the other three?

  • Why is he wearing a lion skin?

  • What are all the fighters barefoot?

  • Why don’t they wear more protective clothing?

  • What do the geometric shapes mean? Are they just for decoration?





ANALYZING ART: Visual Analysis Worksheet Name:____________________________________________________
Lesson Focus Question: What does this Greek vessel teach us about the beliefs of the ancient Greeks?

Title of Object: Volute-Krater (wine vessel) Media: terracotta


Part 1. WHO, WHERE, WHEN: Thinking about the context in which this object was created

Artist: What do we know about the artist(s) who created this object?

The artist was probably a man living in Apulia, a Greek colony in southern Italy. Art historians call him the Baltimore Painter.



Audience: Who is the intended audience?
The owner of this piece was probably a wealthy, educated Greek living in the colony of Apulia.

Place and Time: Where and when was it created?

It was created in the Greek colony of Apulia in southern Italy c. 330-320 BCE.




Historical Context: What was going on during this era or time period?
Alexander the Great conquered first Greece, then the Persian Empire from 336-323 BCE. As he conquered Persian lands, he left behind cities and buildings modeled on those of the Greeks. According to many stories, Alexander carried a copy of Homer’s Iliad with him wherever he went and believed he was descended from the Greek hero Achilles.

Part 3. WHY: Synthesis – Putting it all together (Do this AFTER you complete Part 2!)

This object shows …

Use information above to help you infer (form an idea about) the meaning or importance of this object. Begin sentences with “This piece shows/suggests/describes…”


  • The vessel shows scenes without any words to tell the story. This suggests that the story would be familiar to anyone who saw it.

  • It was probably made towards the end of the classical age, since it uses the red-figure method of decoration rather than black-figure, and was found in a Greek colony rather than in Greece.

  • The illustration suggests that the gods want Achilles to enter the battle and avenge Patroclus by killing Hector.

  • Although Achilles treated Hector’s body with disrespect, and Achilles himself was killed shortly afterwards by Paris, the scene on this pot shows Achilles as a hero. This suggests that the Greeks admired him not only for his strength but also for his loyalty to his friend – and that they accepted that even a hero (or a god) was capable of both good and bad deeds. In other words, the Greeks didn’t expect their heroes (or gods) to behave perfectly.




ANALYZING ART: Visual Analysis Worksheet Name:____________________________________________________


Part 2. WHAT: Observing, explaining, and making inferences about what you see

I see …

Describe in detail everything you see when you look at the object. Optional: draw a sketch as well.

I think this means…

Use your background knowledge to explain the purpose of the object and the meaning of the images you see.

Questions I’d like to ask…

List questions you still have.

  • large clay vessel with two handles, each decorated with a (female?) head

  • entire vessel is painted with scenes in which people and horses are mainly red, while background is mostly black

  • In one scene four horses are pulling a chariot. The chariot holds two men. It looks like one may be the driver (he’s not holding a shield), while the other looks like a warrior (he has a round shield). Both men wear helmets.

  • Above the horse-drawn chariot a man sits on a bench or chair. He is surrounded by figures with wings (gods, perhaps?) It looks like a suit of armor is floating above him.

  • The bottom, middle and rim of the vessel are decorated with designs.

  • This vessel is a krater, used for mixing wine and water.

  • Red-figure style later than black-figure…

  • The horse-drawn chariot, armed men, and floating armor suggest a war scene or story, such as the Iliad.

  • The floating armor may be symbolize bravery or strength in battle. I think it may be the armor Hephaestus made for Achilles to replace the armor Patroclus borrowed (and Hector stole).

  • The winged figures may represent gods who are influencing the war. The wings could represent their ability to travel quickly from Olympus to earth.

  • The seated man holds a staff, which could symbolize his authority. He looks bigger than the other figures; his size may represent his importance. The gods seem to be telling him something.

  • I think the man with the staff is Achilles, and the winged gods want him to enter battle wearing the armor made by Hephaestus.

  • Why is the seated person (Achilles?) holding a staff?

  • Are the winged figures gods? If so, which gods?

  • What is the meaning of the winged figure riding a cow or bull in the upper part of the vessel?

  • What is shown on the other side of the vessel? Are the scenes on both sides related?




I. Summarizing the Primary Source
The volute-krater from the Greek colony of Apulia is a red-figure terracotta wine vessel

(name, title of source) (type of media)


that was used to mix water and wine.

(describe the primary source)


__________________________________________________________________________________
II. Establishing Context of Primary Source
The volute-krater from the Greek colony of Apulia was created during a time when

(name, title of source)


Alexander the Great was conquering and Hellenizing the Persian empire

(describe historical setting)
and Greeks were living in Apulia, a Greek colony in southern Italy.

(audience)


  1. Inferring the Message of Primary Source


The volute-krater from the Greek colony of Apulia (name, title of source)
shows a scene from The Iliad.

(WHAT? message regarding a person, place, event, idea)


We know this because we see Achilles in his tent receiving the armor that Hephaestus has made for

(SPECIFIC DETAILS - images)


him at the request of Achilles’ mother, the sea-nymph Thetis, to replace the armor Hector took from
the body of Patroclus.



  1. Connecting Primary Source to Focus Question

This artwork relates to the focus question because it shows that myths and stories about heroes and



gods were so familiar and important to the ancient Greeks that they were used to decorate kraters and other pots such as this one. This scene from the Iliad shows that the Greeks believed the gods were directly involved in human affairs, and that people could learn important lessons from stories such as those in the Iliad. It also shows that most educated Greeks were familiar with the Iliad.

(summarize how the primary source evidence answers the focus question)



INTERMEDIATE THESIS & EVIDENCE PARAGRAPH FRAME/OUTLINE (KEY)

Big Idea” Lesson Focus Question: How do the mythology, literature, and art of the ancient Greeks reflect their beliefs?


Writing Instructions: Answer the focus question by writing a well-structured paragraph. Begin with a thesis statement, provide at least two supporting ideas with specific evidence for each, and end with a conclusion. Supporting evidence should include one example from Greek art, and one example of either Greek mythology or literature. Proofread and edit your final paragraph.
Thesis statement: The mythology, literature, and art of the ancient Greeks reflect their beliefs that the gods were directly involved in events that affected people’s lives.

Explanation of Idea: The ancient Greeks created myths that explained natural as well as historical events.

Evidence For example, Greeks explained volcanic eruptions by telling stories of the god Hephaestus, who created weapons for the gods in his underground forge, and attributed the cause of the Trojan War to a conflict among the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. This story and others form the basis of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, as well as many other important works of Greek literature.

Explanation of Idea: Mythological stories were frequently the subject of Greek art as well.

Evidence For example, scenes from myths were often painted on vases, pots, and other vessels. An illustration on a volute-krater from the Greek colony of Apulia c. 330-320 BCE shows Achilles receiving new armor made by the god Hephaestus to replace the armor taken by the Trojan hero, Hector, after he killed Achilles’ beloved friend, Patroclus.

Analysis: This scene illustrates the Greek belief that the gods took sides in human conflicts, as well as the belief that death was not too high a price to pay for one’s honor. The fact that this scene was painted on a large wine vessel suggests it was part of a familiar and important story.

Concluding statement: Beliefs about the role of gods, men, and honor in ancient Greece were expressed in their myths, and were frequently the subject of Greek art and literature. Greek mythology has continued to influence modern writers, thinkers, and artists. For evidence, just read Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief, or look up the origins of the words we use to describe a long, arduous journey (an “odyssey”) or a difficult task (“herculean”).
Note: Could include several more pieces of evidence with specific evidence.



Ancient Civilizations in the Sixth Grade Curriculum Summer Institute

Lesson Application #2: Greek Pottery by Alison Waterman





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