Greek festival helps students learn history

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 21, 2013

The sights, smells and sounds of ancient Greece filled the halls of Salisbury Academy creating a hands-on experience in which the curriculum came to life during the Greek Festival.
After a unit of integrated study, second- and sixth-grade students, clad in togas and tunics, participated in this festival that included presentations, activities, authentic Greek food donated by Mykonos Grill and mini-Olympic games.
The unit is enhanced by the opportunity to learn through inquiry, collaboration and discovery in a hands-on experience, according to second grade teacher Mary Lou Williams. “It’s a real life application of a trip back into history.”
Prior to the festival, the second grade class learned about Sparta and Athens, Greek philosophers, geography, the Greek alphabet and mythology. They also made a paper doll of their own god or goddess. In art class, the students made traditional Greek Olympic head bands and torches. Williams said that by incorporating lessons of Ancient Greece across the curriculum, students learn to apply knowledge instead of memorizing it.
Sixth grade students also studied ancient Greece and the two classes engaged in lessons and activities together during the festival. “One of the many things we do well here is pair different grade levels together,” said Williams.
Students in the sixth grade studied the “Iliad” and “Odyssey” and the history of ancient Greece. Students also wrote and performed plays based on Greek myths, created Greek avatars, wrote myths about these new gods and goddesses, and participated in an Athenian versus Spartan debate. They also presented projects on Greek gods and goddesses, as well as historical figures to the second grade. “The Greek festival is the culmination of the ancient Greek unit and enables the sixth-graders to share what they have learned with the second grade,” said sixth grade language arts and history teacher Pat Foley.
In art, sixth-grade students selected a Greek god or goddess to illustrate using a scratch board. They also worked on ancient Greek pottery designs and made Spartan shields.
During the festival, students played a memory game and recalled facts about ancient Greece and made gilded bracelets. In the gym, physical education teacher Tommy Wilson led students in mini-Olympic games, including chariot races on tricycles.