The Greeks were one of the great civilisations of the ancient world. Originating in the Neolithic Period, the Greeks were a dominant force in the ancient Mediterranean. For middle school students, a project on ancient Greece offers students the opportunity to study the cultural and artistic legacy of the Greeks.
Ancient Greek pottery is one of the remaining types of artefacts from the period. Greek vases, for example, were not only used for wine and olive oil but were also decorative pieces. For a project, have students recreate their own vase. Allow students some research time to find a suitable motif or pattern from the Greek world to decorate the vase from books and the Internet. Next, have students sketch the pattern onto a flower pot before highlighting with black acrylic paint. Vases can also be a also made from clay and fired in a kiln before painting.
As a polytheistic people, the Ancient Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Have students complete an independent research project on a god or goddess or their choice, like Zeus or Aphrodite, and find out how they were worshipped in ancient Greece. Alternatively, have students choose a mythological tale, like the birth of Athena, to illustrate in comic-strip style, to retell in a modern setting or act out as a drama project.
Have students recreate some of the most famous examples of Greek architecture, like the Acropolis or the Parthenon, using clay. To accompany the model, have students research the purpose of the building, how it was constructed and list its key architectural features, like columns. Have students present their model and research findings in a five-minute presentation in a school assembly or to parents.
Originating around 700 B.C.E., the ancient Olympics were used as a way to honour the god, Zeus, and athletes travelled from far and wide to compete in the five-day event. Give students a taste of this ancient past time by hosting their own class version of the Olympics. Events should be modelled on the original games and include running, wrestling, javelin and discus. Teachers could award wreaths and olives brances to the winner of each event, as the ancient Greeks did. Arrange the Olympics for an afternoon and invite parents to attend.