Ancient Greece: Week 3

For week three of our Greece Unit, we’ll take a trip to Mount Olympus to learn how the Greek gods impacted life, culture, literature, and more. We will enjoy learning about some important math discoveries and taste delicious food that came to us from Ancient Greece. Download our skills and books tracker for the week here.

What you need:

Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):

Optional additional reading:

Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):

Note: We break down our supply list by so you can choose what you need based on which lessons you plan to do with your child.

Greek root word trees:

Column building game:

Column STEM activity:

Build a column:

Parthenon watercolor craft:

Fig parfaits:

  • 2 cups Greek-style yogurt (like Fage 5%)
  • 1/2 cup granola of your choice
  • 6 fresh figs cut into quarters (or 1/4 cup of fig jam)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
What to do:

We recommend doing the below lessons in this order to build on each skill your child will develop, but don’t feel that you *need* to do them in this order. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!

Lesson 1:

Gods of Greece may sound like unrelatable history, but that fact is they are a part of our daily life. Have you heard any of these expressions: “Achilles heel.” “Midas’ touch.” “Pandora’s box.” What about words like “echo” or “chaotic”? Have you ever seen the movie Hercules? All of these words, phrases, and idioms have one thing in common: They all come from ancient Greek mythology!

Activity 1: Read the book Mythology. (Read as much as your child is interested in reading—don’t feel like you have to read this book cover to cover.)

Activity 2: Listen to an ancient myth on this podcast by National Geographic Kids.

Activities 3: What is an echo? Watch this video to learn the scientific explanation of echos.

Activities 4: Some animals use echolocation to see. Read about three of those animals here. Learn more about bats in this video, which will review echolocation.

Lesson 2:

What language did ancient Greeks speak? Not too surprisingly, they spoke ancient Greek—but that language is actually very different from modern-day Greek. The three major dialects of ancient Greek were Aeolic, Doric, and Ionic. Ionic was the first literary language used in ancient Greece and was used by Homer in his epic poems “Iliad” and “Odyssey.” Ancient Greek is written in the Greek alphabet and is written from right to left. (source

Activity 1: Watch this video for a brief history of the language. 

Activity 2: Print out this Greek alphabet printable. Next, practice listening and writing Greek expressions using Google Translate. Look up: “hello,” “friend,” “love,” and “mom.” Next, try typing your name into Google Translate and see if there’s a Greek translation. Using the Greek alphabet, write out your Greek name.

Activity 3: Knowing the origins of English words we speak all the time is actually really helpful. It helps us understand spelling rules and definitions. Let’s dig into some language arts with a Greek twist. This link lists some Latin and Greek word origins. Download the Greek list and examine it together.

Next, use this our Greek root word tree printable to create as many root word trees as you would like using the root words from the list above. For example, the Greek root “phon” means sound. We get words like “phonic,” “symphony,” and “phone” from this Greek word. Using Google, look up more words that begin with phon. Add all of these words to your root tree. 

Lesson 3:

There is some pretty amazing architecture that comes from Greece. Let’s learn more about it today!

Activity 1: Read + Discover. Read Ancient Greece for Kids – Phidias. Phidias was an ancient Greek artist and sculptor. Then play this column building game to reinforce the differences between the three columns. (Here’s an article for you to review so that you can know the differences clearly.)

Activity 2: Writing. If you are keeping a writing journal of Greek people in history this month, add Phidias to it.

Looking for an alternative writing topic? Have your child describe their dream house. How many rooms does it have? Is there a water slide or a trampoline room? Would they add Greek columns to it? Why or why not?

Activity 3: Let’s test the strength of columns with this STEM activity. How much weight can your column structure hold?

Activity 4: Next, let’s build a column! Try one of these two ideas:

Activity 5: Read about the Parthenon on pages 66 and 67 of the Usborne Greeks book. You can also learn a bit more about it in the opening paragraph of this link. (For additional details, read the short chapter book Where is the Parthenon? by Roberta Edwards.)  

Let’s draw and paint a picture of the Parthenon as you see in this picture using watercolors. (Here’s a template if you would prefer not to draw it.) Start by using a pencil and ruler to draw the shape of the Parthenon in the center of your watercolor paper. Next, watch this video for a watercolor painting lesson. If you would prefer to use crayons, markers, or paint, that is perfectly okay! Do what works for your child.

Lesson 4:

Have you ever heard of Pythagoras? Let’s learn more about this important Greek mathematician today.

Activity 1: Who was Pythagoras? Read this article to find out. Next, read the book, What’s your Angle, Pythagoras? to learn about his discovery.

Activity 2: Is your child ready for an advanced math lesson? Start by reading this lesson plan on how to introduce these complicated concepts in a simple way to your elementary student. Next, use this article to set up a math problem using LEGOs as math manipulatives. Practice working with the Pythagorean theorem. 

Lesson 5:

This week’s food history subject? Figs! Let’s dig in.

Activity 1: Read this article to learn about the typical diet of the ancient Greeks. Create a Venn diagram detailing the similarities and the differences between your family’s diet and that of the ancient Greeks. Do you have more in common with them than you first might have thought? What foods would you like to try that you’ve never eaten before? Check this list of ancient Greek cuisine for recipes you might want to try, or visit a local Greek restaurant this weekend if there is one near you.

Activity 2: The fig was a food known to the ancient Greeks that we can also enjoy today. Let’s read a bit about the fig:

“Figs belong to the category of the most nutritious fruits….Along with grapes, figs were known to be the favorite fruits of ancient Greeks. The iconic fruit can be found in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries because it requires hot, dry weather to grow. August is known as ‘fig month’ in Greece because it is at this time that the delicious fruit is at its most ripe and juicy. However, Greeks consume dried figs all year round. They eat them as snacks and add them to salads. Along with grapes, figs were used in cooking as well in Ancient Greek times.” (source)

Next, let’s prepare this fig parfait recipe from our friend Ashley at @cookingfullcircle to get a taste of this fruity deliciousness. 

Figgy Yogurt Parfaits
(serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Greek-style yogurt (like Fage 5%)
  • 1/2 cup granola of your choice
  • 6 fresh figs cut into quarters (or 1/4 cup of fig jam)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

Directions:

Start with a jar or bowl. (A tall, narrow dish or glass will put the layers on display the best.)

Start with a sprinkle of granola.

Top with 1/2 of the fresh figs (or fig jam).

Add 1/2 cup of yogurt, and top with a drizzle of honey.

Repeat layers at least one more time, or as many times as you need to to reach the top of your container.

Serve and enjoy!

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Published by learnandliveletter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-11.

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