Encourage students' interest in Ancient Greece with creative and historically accurate school projects. Make sure all projects are supplemented with well-researched historical texts so that the fun is bolstered by strong content standards. Students will enjoy researching Ancient Greek dress, studying Greek myths, creating Medusa masks, studying the Greek alphabet and preparing Greek food.
Ancient Athenian Costume Day
Invite students to research Greek clothing using online resources or library books, and then use colored pencils to design historically accurate costumes. As a class, brainstorm materials found at home that could be used to replicate the tunics and cloaks of Ancient Greece. Sheets, leather belts and sandals are a good place to start. Plan for an Ancient Greek costume day when students can wear their designs in class.
Greek Myths Revisited
Students can read and research classic Ancient Greek myths to learn the stories of Theseus and the Minotaur, Hades and the River Styx, Apollo's Oracle at Delphi, or Echo and Narcissus. Have students pick a favorite mythological character and develop a modern problem for the hero to solve. For example, have Persephone, whom mythology says was involved in the creation of the seasons, return to tackle global warming. Students can illustrate their Greek myths and share them with classmates or go on a "book tour" to share their stories with other classrooms,
Find or create a template of a frightening Medusa face and let students use it to make their own masks. Students can use acrylic paints and paint brushes to complete fanciful designs on the masks before cutting out the face and snakehead hair using scissors. Use glue to attach the snakes in a semi-circular arrangement around the crown of the Medusa face. Finally, glue or tape a tongue depressor or craft stick at the base of the Medusa face so that students can hold the mask before their faces.
Learning Ancient Greek Alphabet
Challenge students to learn the Ancient Greek alphabet, which is found in most Ancient Greek textbooks or on Greece-specific websites. Students can practice listening to one another in small groups, or work together to develop clever mnemonics to help remember letter order. Ask students to name similarities between the Ancient Greek and English alphabets.
Ancient Greek Cooking Day
Bring items used in Greek food, including oil, fruit, nuts, zucchini, tomatoes, olives, lemons and oregano. Even without an oven, students can prepare Greek salad with feta cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, black olives, olive oil, vinegar and black pepper. Cucumber salad is easily prepared with yogurt, chopped cucumber, crushed garlic and dill weed herb. Have a feast in class and discuss the agriculture of Ancient Greece.
- athen image by Pontus Edenberg from Fotolia.com