NYS Social Studies Standard World History- Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.
“Ancient Greek Culture”
Grade level: 6
May 04, 2010
Purpose/Rationale for the Learning Experience
The purpose of this learning experience is to teach students about Ancient Greek customs, traditions, religious and spiritual beliefs.
Distinguishing cultural differences regarding customs, traditions, religious and spiritual beliefs is essential for living in a multicultural world.
Why is it important to learn about other cultures?
What do you know about Ancient Greece?
What was Greek religion like?
How did the Greeks honor their Gods?
What are customs and traditions of the early Greeks?
The students will be able to identify religious and spiritual beliefs of a Greek city-state.
The students will be able to create a shield that represents the religious and spiritual beliefs of a Greek city-state.
This learning experience is designed for a sixth grade 15:1:1 (15 students, 1 teacher, and 1 classroom aide) self-contained social studies class. However, there are only five students in the class this year. Many of the students in the social studies class are also in the self-contained 15:1:1 class for ELA, Mathematics, and Science. The class consists of a total of five students—two boys and three girls. The students’ ages range from eleven to twelve years.
All students have a documented disability and all students have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that must be followed. Three students have a language-based learning disability, one student is labeled as other health impaired (OHI), and one student has Asperger’s Syndrome. All students receive speech twice a week—once in group and once individually—and one student sees a Reading Specialist once a week. The students in this class demonstrate a wide range of abilities—some students perform at the sixth grade level, while others perform at a second grade level.
Grade Level: Sixth
New York State Learning Standard: Social Studies
Content Standard: World History- use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.
Key Idea: (1) The study of world history requires an understanding of world cultures and civilizations, including an analysis of important ideas, social and cultural values, beliefs, and traditions. This study also examines the human condition and the connections and interactions of people across time and space and the ways different people view the same event or issue from a variety of perspectives.
Students will know the social and economic characteristics, such as customs, traditions, child-rearing practices, ways of making a living, education and socialization practices, gender roles, foods, and religious and spiritual beliefs that distinguish different cultures and civilizations. (p. 37)
Using multiple resources, students will create a shield that represents the religious and spiritual beliefs of a Greek city-state assigned to each student.
To identify religious, and spiritual beliefs of a Greek city-state.
To create a shield that represents the religious and spiritual beliefs of a Greek city-state.
A shield that represents the religious and spiritual beliefs of a Greek city-state.
A typed paragraph describing the religious and spiritual beliefs on the Ancient Greek shield.
A four point rubric will be used to assess the student’s knowledge of the religious and spiritual beliefs of the Greek city-states based on their shield and paragraph.
The rubric will include the following attributes—content (accuracy), creativity and neatness, paragraph and sentence structure, and mechanics.
Overview of what the students need to know:
Prior to Learning Experience:
Listen and follow written and verbal directions.
Focus and remain on task.
Ask for assistance, if needed.
Students should be able to type a paragraph using Microsoft Word.
During Learning Experience:
Read and underline important characteristics of Greek city-state using the textbook and Ancient Greek city-state supplements.
Draw or print out pictures that represent a Greek city-state’s customs, traditions, religious and spiritual beliefs.
Utilize creativity and neatness by cutting and gluing pictures onto shield.
After Learning Experience:
Write a short paragraph describing the customs, traditions, religious and spiritual beliefs of an assigned Greek city-state.
Type paragraph describing the customs, traditions, and religious and spiritual beliefs of Greek city-state.
Present shield and read paragraph to class.
Key Subject-Specific Vocabulary:
During the learning experience, students will learn and review the following vocabulary words:
traditions- the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice
customs- a habitual practice
city-state (polis): basic unit of government in Ancient Greece
Zeus- ruler of Greek gods
Mount Olympus- highest mountain in Greece, where it was believed the most important Greek Gods lived
Myth- a story that people create to explain beliefs about their world
Olympics- games held every 4 years as part of a festival to honor Zeus
Fable- story that tells a moral and usually involves animals
Peninsula- body of land surrounded by water on three sides
Peloponnesus- name for the peninsula at the southern tip of Greece
Isthmus- narrow strip of land that connects two larger land masses
Phoenician- Mediterranean culture from whom the Greeks developed their written language
Alphabet- a system of symbols that represent sounds
Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Megara, Argos- Ancient Greek city-states
This learning experience includes assessments that are diagnostic, formative, and summative.
The diagnostic assessment includes a KWL chart that students complete as a class. Each student must participate by stating at least two comments about the “what you know” section or “what you want to know” section. This will evaluate the students’ prior knowledge of Ancient Greece. The students’ prior knowledge of Ancient Greece will most likely to be minimal; therefore, the teacher needs to scaffold students intensely in order to activate their schema.
The following is the KWL chart created by the students.
K (What you know)
W (what you want to know)
L (What I learned)
Poseidon (God of sea)
Zeus (God of sky)
How did they live?
What language did they speak?
What Gods did they worship?
How did the Olympics start?
What events did they have?
Greeks were separated by mountains and Mediterranean Sea
Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hercules
Olympics were held to honor Zeus
Types of Olympic events: foot races, javelin throw, wrestling
People lived in city-state (polis)
Different types of government (Oligarchy, aristocracy, democracy)
2 main city-states—Athens and Sparta
Mt. Olympus is highest point in Greece; believed to be home of the most important Gods
The formative assessment includes the lesson quizzes that the students will take after each lesson.
The summative assessment includes the final product the student completes including the shield and the typed paragraph describing the components of the shield. Students will use the Ancient Greek Shield Checklist (page 20) to self-assess their work. Using the Checklist, students will put a check mark next to make sure that they have included all aspects of the task.
The Ancient Greek Shield Rubric is aligned to the NYS Standards and Performance Indicators with the words “religious and spiritual beliefs”. These words can be found in Key Idea 1, and the performance indicator on page 37 of the NYS Social Studies Learning Standards, found on the New York State Education Department website (page 21).
The sixth grade special education students create a shield to represent their assigned city-states’ religious and spiritual beliefs (see page 41).
Student work is graded based on a 4 point rubric. A score of 14-15 indicates that the student has demonstrated a firm grasp on the grade level concept. This level of competence is the “distinguished” range and means that the student understands the important customs, traditions, religious and spiritual beliefs of a Greek city-state.
A score of 12-13 indicates that the student is skilled at identifying the customs, traditions, and religious and spiritual beliefs of a city-state with at least 80% accuracy. This score would be in the “proficient” range.
A score of 8-11 indicates that the student cannot identifying the correct number of customs, traditions, and religious and spiritual beliefs of a Greek city-state or write a paragraph describing the shield. This score would be in the “developing” range.
This learning experience was administered to five students in a sixth grade special education classroom. The teacher displays an exemplar of an Ancient Greek shield of Olympia and paragraph describing the shield.
After scoring each student’s shields and paragraphs, two fifths (40%) of the students were able to create a shield at the distinguished level. One student scored at the proficient level, and two students scored within the developing level. The students who scored within the developing range struggled to follow the Ancient Greek Shield Student Checklist.
Teacher will ask the students, “What do you know about Ancient Greece?”
Students complete the “K” and “W” section of a KWL chart with the teacher while writing down the KWL chart in their notes. Teacher must scaffold students intensely in order to obtain prior knowledge of the subject.
Students will take turns reading lesson 1: The Geography of Ancient Greece from the McDougall-Little Ancient Civilizations textbook. Teacher will ask comprehension questions throughout the reading.
Teacher will hand out the “Re-teaching Activity” and complete the first few questions with the students
Students will complete the rest of the “Re-teaching Activity” using the text independently
Students will make flash cards from the following vocabulary words: peninsula, Peloponnesus, isthmus, Phoenician, alphabet.
Teacher will check the students’ flash cards for the correct vocabulary word and definition
Students will study their vocabulary words with a partner
If time allows, students will play a review game. The class is split in half; each team gets a small white board, marker, and eraser. Teacher reads definition of vocabulary word and students must work as a team to write down the correct vocabulary word. If the students write the correct word, the team throws a bean bag at a Velcro target board on the wall.
Students will complete a study guide for the lesson 1 quiz next class.
Students will take the lesson 1 quiz, and then complete a map activity.
Teacher will ask students, “What did we learn about last class?” Scaffold when necessary.
Teacher will begin reading lesson 2: Beliefs and Customs. Then students will take turns reading.
Teacher will ask comprehension questions throughout the reading.
Teacher will hand out Venn diagram to students
Teacher will draw and label Venn diagram on chart paper
Students will compare and contrast the Modern Olympics with Ancient Olympics together as a class
Teacher will hand out “Practice Activity” and read the directions aloud to the students
Students will complete the “Practice Activity” independently
Students will write the following vocabulary words and definitions on index cards (Zeus, Mount Olympus, myth, Olympics, epic poem, fable)
Students will study their vocabulary cards independently or with a partner
Ask students what the U.S. uses to represent our country. Tell them to think about the Olympics. Give more hints for students to guess a flag, as needed.
Tell students that the Ancient Greek warriors used shields in battle. Their shields represented their city-state of which they were extremely proud.
Hand out worksheet on Ancient Greek shields. Read aloud as students follow along.
Assign Greek city-states to each student and pass out Ancient Greek city-state supplemental material to each student (i.e. student with city-state of Corinth receives material on Corinth)
Choose the city-state of the student with the lowest reading ability
Ask students to read their material independently and raise their hand if they need help reading and read the city-state supplemental material together while the students follow along.
Tell students to underline religious and spiritual beliefs of their assigned city-state
Ancient Greek city-states supplemental material (p. 25-36)
Megara, Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Argos
Students will be able to use the computer in the classroom to explore the internet to find more information regarding their assigned Greek city-states. The students will also be able to find pictures on the internet or use clip art on Microsoft Word.
The teacher exemplar for this learning experience includes a shield of Ancient Olympia and a paragraph describing the shield. The exemplar is shown to the students because the shield and paragraph describe Olympia, which is not one of the five Greek city-states assigned to the students. This exemplar will aid the students while writing their paragraphs and decorating their shields (pages 22-23).