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Greece:  Where Are You?


Lesson Summary


In this lesson students will be introduced to the location of Greece and some interesting facts about the climate, land, plant life, and architecture.



Objectives / SOL Correlation


H/SS 3.4 The student will develop map skills by

a) Locating Greece, Rome, and West Africa;

b) Describing the physical and human characteristics of Greece, Rome, and West Africa;

c) Explaining how the people of Greece, Rome, and West Africa adapted to and/or changed their environment to meet their needs.

H/SS 3.5 The student will develop map skills by

a) Positioning and labeling the seven continents and four oceans to create a world map;

b) Using the equator and prime meridian to identify the four hemispheres;

c) Locating the countries of Spain, England, and France;

H/SS 3.4 The student will interpret geographic information from maps, tables, graphs, and charts.


Expected Student Outcomes






Architecture                           ancient                                    climate                               environment                                contribution                            land (typography)



Materials Needed





Internet—wonderful websites

Holiday brochure pictures



Time Frame:  This is really a unit and should be broken up over several days.  Each activity links to the previous one and it would be up to the teacher to decide how much or how little depending on the composition of the class.  1-5 days (short activity each day)


Prerequisite Skills


Students should have some experience with the following: 

  1. Recognize a map of the world.
  2. Recognize characteristics of landform such as mountain, desert, and coast.





  1. Remind students of the purpose of making maps.  Refer to the story, Harvey, the Pig and his adventures moving around aimlessly without having a map.  Why do people make maps?  What is a map?  Place a map of the world on the overhead or use a wall map.  Introduce the continents by singing the continents song and locating each continent as you sing.
  2. Now narrow the focus to Europe and remind students that last year they studied Egypt.  Have a student locate Egypt then tell them that we are going to study a country north of Egypt across what sea.  Place a transparency of the Parthenon on the overhead.  (Photograph attached).  Ask students to look at the picture and guess what it is?  What it is made of?  What kind of land it is built on?  Why it was built?  How big is it?  Why might it have been built?  Have they seen anything like it?  Could they build one? Where do they think it is located?
  3. After discussing the Parthenon.  Show a large map of Greece.  Again maps attached that can be made into a transparency.  Show a world map then the close-up map of Europe then Greece.  Discuss the difference between the two maps.  Concepts that should be covered:
    1. Map is a picture of land with lines on it to indicate borders (created by man)
    2. A picture from space would not show the lines
    3. World map is a picture taken further away then the close-up map of Greece
    4. Photograph of Parthenon is a picture closer still of a specific place on a map
  4. Give out the blank map and place the transparency on the overhead.  As you discuss each concept have students color in the symbol on their map.
  5. To conclude the lesson, give students the handout of Herodotus map of the world and a modern map of the world.  Ask them to compare the two then draw a map of Greece with various areas located on it.  For an extension have them color on their map as directed by the handout.  Key elements covered in this part of the lesson are:
    1. Location of Greece
    2. Water bodies around Greece
    3. Location of Athens
    4. Locate the coast and discuss the characteristics of the land
  6. Read about Greece.  Locate the water and islands on the map and ask them to find the most distant area Herodotus noted on his map.  Discuss life on the sea, jobs and daily living.  Ask students to imagine the feeling of being on the sea without a map.  Why did the Greeks bother to create maps?


Another series of lessons could focus on the following:

  1. Important facts about Greece in the past
    1. Inventions Major occupations
    2. Major landforms and how they affected life in Greece—mountains, coast, desert
    3. Politics and daily life
    4. Other facts that you might want to include
  2. Have students create their own “Did you know…” cards.  Give them the blank card and have them create their own set.  This will provide an instant set of flash cards to use for review and you can build on the set and pass to the next teacher so that they can use them to review for the exam.




The students will be given a quiz that will include two maps (world and Europe only).  They must locate Greece on both maps and place symbols on the map that reflect the information studied in the lesson. 


Material on quiz would cover the following:


Rubric for Success



(80% of material presented)


(60-79% of the material presented)


(59% and below of the material presented)

The student will be able to

·        Locate Greece on a world map and on a map of the region

·        Label important physical and architectural locations in Greece

·        List different climate elements in Greece

·        Recognize the language of Greece

The student will be able to

·        Locate Greece on a world map and on a map of the region

·        Label important physical and architectural locations in Greece

·        List different climate elements in Greece

·        Recognize the language of Greece

The student will be able to

·        Locate Greece on a world map and on a map of the region

·        Label important physical and architectural locations in Greece

·        List different climate elements in Greece

·        Recognize the language of Greece





Give students the handout of the globe and the shape of Greece.  Have them color Greece in both places so that they have a sense of the shape of the country and its location on the globe.


Have students do the Greek Alphabet activity.   Have them bring their work to class and display it for all to see. 


Activity Ideas

  1. Mixed Up Pots.  Decorate several clay pots (4-5) with paint or magic markers.  Put all the pots in a brown paper bag and gently hit the pots with a hammer.  Shake the bag.  Remove the pieces.  Have students be archeologists who have discovered the pots.  Using glue, try to put the pots back together in a pattern that “seems” to make sense.
  2. Read an excerpt from the book, Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay. This is a hilarious account of how a completely wrong impression can be obtained by interpreting what we think the meaning of an object might be.  After reading several incidents from the book and sharing the pictures, have students draw an everyday object of their own and the write a wrong interpretation of it.  Place them on the bulletin board and share the fun.  What if the archeologist who studied Ancient Greece got it wrong?
  3. Read one of Aesop’s Fables.  Discuss what a fable is and who Aesop was.  Aesop wrote not only fables he created but also recorded many fables from ancient India.  Read a fable daily and have your students interpret them.  Many lessons are taught through these fables. 
  4. Have students write stories about daily life in Ancient Greece.  They will write as if they are telling about their own life in an ancient Greek city-state and record in a journal the activities of their day.  Great website available on Daily life in Ancient Greece.
  5. Paper Columns.  Why do so many Greek buildings feature huge columns?  Have students test the strength of a column.  Will a single of paper support a book?  Take an 8-½ by 11” sheet of paper.  Roll it into a cylinder to represent a column.  Secure it with tape.  The more tightly you roll it, the more books it will hold.  Set your column on the floor and balance a book on the top.  Add another.  How many will it hold?  When your column collapses, check it.  The place where it bent is the weak position.

6.      Greek Inventions:  GIFT-WRAPPED GREEKS 

·        Cut manila folders into different shapes.  

·        Write one thing the Greeks gave the world on each shape. There will be duplication; that's fine.

·        Gift-wrap each shape, in colorful, festive wrapping paper, along with a small piece of candy.

·        Bring "gifts" to class in a plastic garbage bag.  (Bring extra garbage bags; you'll need them!)

·        Pass out "gifts" from the Greeks; one "gift" per student.  Tell students that these are "gifts" given to the world by the Greeks.  Have students open their gifts. Have each student write a one-two paragraph report on their "gift" in the first person, explaining why "their" invention, or their gift, is of value to the world.

·        Collect wrapping paper while students are writing.  Ask if anyone would like to share their "gift" and what they wrote about their gift with the class.  After some of the students read their paragraphs, post all "gifts from the Greeks" on the Gifts from the Greeks bulletin board.

·        Gifts could include: Greek columns (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian), trial by jury, myths, democracy, sculpture, comedy, tragedy, theatre, the Olympics, epic poetry, architecture, mosaics, and fables.

7.      Art & Architecture:  THE PARTHENON
on the top half of a piece of paper, have students drawn a picture of the Parthenon.  On the bottom half, answer printed questions:

TOP HALF:  Student Drawing of the Parthenon

BOTTOM HALF: Fill in the blank:

1.      ____________ Who was ruler when the Parthenon was built?

2.      ____________ What name is given to the time when the Parthenon was built?

3.      ____________ What type of architecture was used?

4.      ____________  How were pillars arranged so that they seemed straight?


Unit Resources for Greece:


Attached are the following resources to use with this unit.  Since this was only one lesson in the unit, other concepts required by the SOL are included here.





The following web sites were used in preparing this lesson.  source of Did You Know Card idea  Snaith Primary School in the United Kingdom  Mr. Donn’s Olympic Game Simulation and links Ancient Olympics Scavenger Hunt Ancient Greece Activity Page Ancient Greece Virtual Classroom Ancient Greece Resources



Daily Life in Ancient Greece

Voyage Back in Time to Ancient Greece and Rome. Source for ideas listed in lesson plan.

Greece the Good Old Days

Exploring Ancient Greece Oak View Elementary

•Worksheets to use in teaching Ancient Greece BBC Schools Cyber sleuth’s Ancient Civilizations Clipart Ancient Greece Kids Connect  Food