From the 5th to the 2nd century B.C., the Greeks produced three major architectural orders known as the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. Evidence of what ancient Greek looked like is found in the remaining temple structures throughout modern Greece. Using materials such as cardboard, markers, crayons, paper towel or toilet paper roll cores, children can reconstruct examples of architecture from each order for projects on ancient Greek culture.

Creating Columns

Doric, Ionic and Corinthian architectural orders are distinguished by specific styles illustrated in the construction of columns. To explore the differences, children can create models of columns using pieces of narrow cardboard or empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls to illustrate the detailing and shapes of each order. For the Doric style, children will create a wide, simple column culminating in a broad, plain top. In comparison, Ionic style columns are narrower with a decorative scroll design at the top. The final stage of ancient Greek architecture, sparingly used in Greece, the Corinthian style columns illustrate a move toward intricate decoration at the top with carvings of acanthus leaves. For the tops of the Ionic and Corinthian columns, children may wish to simply glue on drawings that have been cut out.

Parthenon

Built at the Acropolis to honor Athena, the goddess of wisdom, the Parthenon is an example of the Doric order of architecture from the 5th century. Children can reproduce the Parthenon through cardboard models of the structure with empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls used for the Doric columns at the front of the temple. Carved scenes and figures from Greek mythology that appear on the Parthenon can be represented by drawing cutouts.

Erechtheum

Constructed from 421 to 405 B.C. in the Ionic architectural style, the Erechtheum temple at the Acropolis in Athens is a more complex structure than the Parthenon. With shrines dedicated to the gods Erechtheus, Poseidon, Athena and Polias, it can be broken down into four sections. The eastern, northern, and western porticoes of the temples have Ionic columns flanking the entrances while the southern portico is distinguished by sculptures of six female figures. Children can again construct detailed cardboard models of the temple by using toilet paper or paper towel rolls and drawing cutouts for the Ionic columns and statues.

Acropolis of Athens

Meaning “The sacred rock, the high city,” the Acropolis of Athens was one of many such acropolises throughout Greece. However, it is in the Athenian city of the ancients that children can learn lessons on both the Ionic and Doric architectural styles. A group project, children consult pictures of the layout of the Acropolis including the location of the Parthenon and the Erechtheum. Using cardboard models of the temples and creating additional buildings or decorations with cardboard, children create their own Acropolis. Neutral-colored molding clay can be used to make statues of the gods.