Greek is the word

4th April 2008 at 01:00
Bring ancient adventures to life with the help of modern technology, says Iain McJannet

Two years ago, I moved year groups and inherited a box of photocopied pages and worksheets from history books that were supposed to be resources for teaching about Ancient Greece.

I wasn't inspired by any of these well-used documents and I knew the children wouldn't be either. As a topic I'd saved for my Year 6 class post-Sats, I wanted to provide something more for them but had a limited budget and limited resources. Luckily, the internet was full of great stuff.

Having looked at the topic, I decided to put together a booklet that could be used as a backbone to the lessons, covering all the basics. Then I tried some of the following activities with my class:

- Reading the story Mission to Marathon by Geoffrey Trease, which is about the Persian invasion of Greece. I used this book to introduce ideas and stimulate discussion (including how the author knew about Ancient Greece) and as a source of information. The book prompted some great dialogue and lots of digression from the story.

- Creating a "Who's Who" of Ancient Greece that children could add to through their own research.

- Comparing Athenian and Spartan ways of life and discussing the relative merits of both. Children also decided which city state they would prefer to live in - with surprising results.

- In maths, following in the footsteps of Pythagoras by exploring square and triangular numbers as well as Pythagoras' theorem, and using Eratosthenes' sieve to investigate prime numbers.

- Producing creative writing based around the famous Greek battles.

- Using digital images of our PE lessons to create our own vase art.

- Exploring theatre, Greek myths and legends - Greek Myths by Marcia Williams is good - and using these to produce short pieces of drama using our own masks produced in the Greek style.

- Producing and performing a whole-school assembly based on the story of Icarus and Daedalus. This was adapted from www.edgyproductions.comassembliesindex.html.

I'm looking forward to teaching the topic again this year and have recently come across Art from the Past - The Greeks by Gillian Chapman, which has some simple and fantastic ideas for producing Greek artefacts in the classroom

Iain McJannet teaches at Rosehill Junior School in Rawmarsh, Rotherham

USEFUL WEBSITES

Woodland Junior School Greek Page: www.woodlands- junior.kent.sch.ukHomeworkGreece.html

BBC Schools site for Ancient Greece: www.bbc.co.ukschoolsancientgreece

Information on all aspects of Ancient Greece: www.socialstudiesforkids.comsubjectsancientgreece.htm

The city states of Ancient Greece: www.sikyon.com

Life in Ancient Greece: http:greece.mrdonn.orgdailylife.html

Who Wants To Be An Ancient Greek Millionaire: www.teachingandlearningresources.co.ukmilliongreece.html.

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