Since the local curriculum engages both sixth and second graders in learning about the roots of Western Civilization, teachers invited sixth graders to help the younger students gain a better sense for this topic through experiential learning. With that need in mind, the sixth graders began to consider how to create visual and hands-on ways for second graders to appreciate ancient Greek culture and how it still influences American society today.
The sixth graders began by doing intensive research about the rise of democracy during the late 500s BCE, the Golden Age of Athenian history, and the enduring achievements of ancient Greek culture. They decided to present their findings through a “Greek Cultural Fair” that would include plays, mock Olympic Games, and activities involving science, mathematics and government. Recognizing that the younger students had many diverse learning styles, the sixth graders worked in small groups to create displays, exhibits and presentations that would engage many varied learners.
With facilitation help from their teachers, the sixth graders planned the fair, setting goals and tracking their progress on charts. Before the fair day arrived, they established relationships with their younger counterparts through individual pen pal letters.
On the day of the fair, the sixth graders transformed the middle school into a setting from “Ancient Greece” and welcomed their second-grade guests—serving as docents, actors and teachers at various classroom stations.