Purpose: To develop a better
understanding of the Greek city-states.
Children can easily become
confused when studying the ancient Greek civilization. Some can
understand that these people were all Greeks. Others can
understand that these people were loyal to their city-state.
Most have trouble putting these two ideas together.
Positioning: This 4-5 day unit
may be taught anytime during your study of ancient Greece, but
works extremely well positioned immediately before any
comparison of Athens and Sparta.
Paper, crayons, colored
pencils, or paint
A bag of bows (red, white,
and blue) to use as prizes
Tape recorder, music
Materials you need for the
5 sets of jacks
at least 2 baskets and 6
light weight balls
shoeboxes prepared for
random drawings (tongue-twisters, art)
box filled with items
(for memory game)
paper javelins, or
purchased toss games (we used some from the dollar
a watch to wear, with a second
hand, or some kind of timer
copies of each
city-state's pledge (to hand to the students, if
Introduce the Greek Olympics to
your class. Explain that the Olympics were so important to the
ancient Greeks that wars were stopped, to allow participants to
attend. So important were these Olympic games to the ancient
Greeks, that we are going to hold our own Olympics. In ancient
Greece, each city-state sent a team to represent them in these
famous games. At our Olympics, we will have
representatives from 5 different city-states.
TO BE GREEK: The ancient Greeks
all spoke the same language. They believed in the same gods.
They shared a common heritage. They perceived themselves as
TO BE A CITIZEN OF A CITY-STATE:
They referred to themselves, however, as citizens of their
individual city-states. Each city-state was a separate political
unit, having its own personality, goals, customs and laws.
Ancient Greeks were very loyal to their city-state.
What I want you to do now is to
break up into 5 groups. Assign each group one city-state
(Sparta, Athens, Corinth, Argos, Corinth)
Direct students to
start designing their flag and pledge, plus whatever else they
might wish to design. Tell your students that they will be
reading, or performing their pledge (as pledges can be read,
sung, chanted, or performed as a cheer) at the opening of the
Olympics. Each class will be doing this same activity, so keep
an eye out for your fellow Argives, Spartans, Athenians,
Corinthians, and Megarians.
Have books or material on flags
of the world available for their use, if available, to give them
some ideas. If possible, also have a collection of various
pledges available for them to use as examples. Offer help on
pledges as needed.
Greet your class at the door.
Prepare for the Olympics!
Continue working in groups.
Finish flags, pledge, and any other material.
HANDOUT: Give each group the
handout on the Olympic Events (or one you created, with events
of your choice). Have each team select one representative, plus
an alternate, for events that require a single
representative. Make sure they hand these sheets in, so that you
know who will be representing each city-state in single
representative events. Remind your Olympians that they will need
to select a song to hum, for the Music Appreciation event.
Encourage them to practice the tongue-twisters, to use secret
handshakes and salutes, and to start plotting with other
DAY THREE &
Run the Olympics!
PREPARATION: Set up your
classroom to make room for the games. Shove furniture out
of the way as much as possible. Put together desks (or use a
table) in the center of the room. Put a podium or a table in the
corner. Clear your bulletin boards to make room for the flags of
your city-states per class. Hang five signs - one sign per
city-state, so the students know where to hang their flags. Have
something available to use to hang the flags and stick on the
OLYMPICS OPERATION: Surprise your
students! As they prepare to march into the classroom in the
opening procession, play music. (We used the theme from Star
Wars). When the lead team (Argives) stop at the podium, stop the
music. Greet your Olympians!
Hail athletes from Argos,
famous Greek musicians!
Hail athletes from Athens,
famous Greek scholars!
Hail athletes from Corinth,
famous Greek traders!
Hail athletes from Megara,
famous Greek colonizers!
Hail athletes from Sparta,
famous Greek warriors!
In ancient Greece, the Olympics
were held in honor of Zeus. Today, our Olympics will be
held in honor of the Ancient Greeks.
Have each city-state read or
perform their pledge! Hail each one! When all city-states
have been individually honored, open the games with something
All hail the Ancient Greeks. HAIL
HAIL! Honored Olympians, post your flags, and let the games
(Hang flags on the wall. This not
only looks very nice, but gets the flags out of the way, and
designates each team area within the room.)
FINAL NOTE: If you run your
Olympics for two days, open the second day with the opening
processional, again. Play your music. These are the Olympics.
Enter and exit the games with fanfare!
CLEAN UP: Have the students clean
up the room, to prepare for the next class. Close by reminding
the students that in ancient Greece, competitors at the Olympics
won nothing except perhaps a laurel wreath. But today,
since we are honoring the ancient Greeks, we will honor them
with something they have would have enjoyed - one piece of candy
per child. Distribute candy.
DISMISSAL: As your students exit
for their next class, stand at the door:
Hail Greek athletes from Argos,
Athens, Corinth, Megara, and Sparta! All Greece thanks and