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Tried and Tested - Olympian task

Subject: History

Lesson: Olympic Games in Ancient Greece

Ages: Seven to 11

Supplied by: Jackie Patrick from Hayling Island in Hampshire

1. What is it?

A history lesson on the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece aimed at ages seven to 11. By the end of this lesson pupils will know about the events and religious festivities of the Ancient Greek Olympic Games and also about their influence on the Olympic ideal of today.

2. Who is it aimed at?

With the Olympic Games awarded to London in 2012, this will continue to be a topical subject to teach over the next few years. The lesson is suitable for a wide range of ages (ideally seven to 11) and abilities as the resources can be differentiated at the preparation stage.

3. What do I need for the lesson?

The resources take time to prepare but can be kept and reused. Make card packs to store in envelopes, coded on the back for easy sorting. The class needs to be able to share if they are in pairs or groups of four. The cards should reflect the lifestyle, beliefs and achievements of people living in Ancient Greece in relation to the Olympics, and can vary in difficulty based on pupils' reading ability and understanding.

4. What happens in the lesson?

Use the images or as your introduction. Give out cards to pairs or to groups of four. Ask them to match two together. This sorted information (and what is learnt during the introduction) becomes a basis for a group presentation. Pupils need to work together to plan and prepare in a set time. Each group has a few minutes to make presentations. They could use role-play, computer work, paint illustrations, a rap, pictorial or written displays. As the pupils enjoy each others' presentations, they extend their learning.

5. How do you know it has been successful?

As pupils read and sort the cards, you can watch them learning as you move around the room. During the presentations, you become a spectator and can easily record achievement with a camera or with pen and paper.

6. Why would you recommend this to other teachers?

The card activity is particularly good because it appeals to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. It also helps to keep the more "challenging" pupils on board. Pupils need to think about their task as they plan and prepare their presentations. They are able to use their own strengths to decide how best to record their work.

7. Give us three top tips

1. Expect sniggers about naked athletes.

2. Allow at least an hour for this lesson - but longer if possible.

3. Have a good selection of reference books and picturespostcards available, so children can find out more as required.

8. Useful resources

The British Museum's website could be your introduction to the topic - it offers games, puzzles and plenty of pictorial information.


Title: Ancient Greece scheme of work

Age group: Seven to 11

Subject: History

What is it? A scheme of work offering six weeks of detailed planning for the Ancient Greece topic. Suggested activities include designing a mask for a mythical character, exploring differences between Athens and Sparta and researching about the Olympic Games.

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Star Rating: 5.

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