The influence of the ancient Greeks extends to nearly every area of modern education, a fact that makes it easy to develop entire theme units on classical Greece that encompass every subject. Whether you're a classroom teacher or seeking to enrich your child's education, you'll find many ways to incorporate arts and crafts into studies of ancient Greece.
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Greek Vases and Pots
Athenian pottery was exported throughout the world, and much of what we know about ancient Greek life is derived from the paintings on Athenian vases and jars. Let kids get their hands dirty while they learn valuable lessons about geometry and life in ancient Greece by making Greek pots and vases. Incorporate culture into the lesson with a reading of "Ode to a Grecian Urn" to extend the lesson even further. Use real potter's clay with older students or make your own for younger ones. After the clay has air-dried, have them paint their Greek urns and vases in the styles from various Greek states.
Build a Model
Have kids build a model of a Greek temple or other famous piece of Greek architecture. Allow them to research the basics of Greek building styles and study some examples of Greek architecture in modern buildings like the U.S. Capitol. Be creative with building materials. Oatmeal and breadcrumb boxes make great columns and sugar cubes are ideal for mock marble blocks.
Make Your Own Olive Wreath
When Athens hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics, the Greek hosts decided to revive an ancient tradition--crowning the winners with olive wreaths as they did in the original Greek games more than 2,500 years ago. Celebrate Greek history and culture by making olive wreaths of construction paper. Provide a cardboard template for tracing olive leaves onto green and brown paper, then let students cut out the leaves and glue or staple them to headbands cut to fit each student's head.
Make Clothespin Gods
Apollo had his lyre, Athena her owl and Poseidon his trident. Each Greek deity of the Greek pantheon had symbols that were unique to them. Have your kids choose a god to research, then let them make dolls from round-headed clothespins to represent their chosen subject. Provide clothespins, construction paper or scraps of cloth for clothing and yarn for hair. Add an extra dimension of interest to the project by challenging students to identify their classmates' dolls based on the symbols.
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