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Agnes Devine
Thurgood Marshall Middle School
Seventh Grade World Cultures
Unit Lesson Plan
The Influence of Religion in Ancient Greece

Day One: The Background of Ancient Greek Religion

Warm-Up: Students will have approximately 5 minutes to answer the following questions with complete sentences.

  • Define polytheism.
  • Examine the picture on the overhead (picture of Zeus). Is this a god or a human? Justify your answer.

Objective: Students will learn about the ancient Greek religion in order to describe the importance of religion in some societies and to compare the influence of religion in ancient Greece to the influence of religion in modern society.

MSPAP Objective:

  • Social Studies Skills: Students will demonstrate an understanding of historical and current events using chronological and spatial thinking, develop historical interpretations, and frame questions that include collecting and evaluating information from primary and secondary sources.
  • World History: Students will examine significant ideas, beliefs, and themes; organize patterns, and events; and analyze how individuals and societies changed over time and the world.

Introductory Activity:

  • Have students complete the K and the W of a KWL chart about Greek religion. (What they know and what they want to know.)
  • Have students share some of their work.

Developmental Activity: Students will be learning the background of ancient Greek religion in order to examine how it influenced their society and their everyday lives. The information they will obtain about this religion will also be used in later lessons that will compare and contrast different religions in history.

Practice Activity:

  • "Popcorn" read pages 346-347 of the text A Message of Ancient Day that describes the religion of ancient Greece
  • Group discussion of the reading. (When covering a new topic, students usually have questions. Also, I will ask questions of the students to assess that they understand the reading and to have them speculate why the Greeks had many gods, why they all had a special power, etc.)

Independent Activity: In the reading, Zeus and his family are described. Students will be asked to choose one of these gods and write a paragraph describing a situation when and why an ancient Greek may have prayed to this god.



  • Have a few students share their paragraphs.
  • Explain to students that they will be examining how this religion influenced the Greek society and their everyday life.


  • Informal questioning and rotating around the classroom.
  • Completion of a paragraph that describes a god and a reason why a Greek would pray to that god.
  • Have students complete the L (what they learned) of their KWL chart.

Day Two: Ancient Greek Art

  • Students will view different slides of ancient Greek art (vases, figurines, and architecture). I will explain to them that historians know about ancient Greece from examining these objects. Class will revolve around explaining the "story" behind each piece of art.
  • If much or ancient Greek art portrays scenes dealing with religion, many monuments were built for gods and goddesses, and figurines were designed to honor the gods while people were away from home, what does this say about the ancient Greeks?
  • Students will read Demeter and Persephone in the text To See a World. They will be asked to illustrate an important scene (or scenes) of the myth on a vase outline.

Day Three: Ancient Greek Theater

  • Students will examine the reasons for ancient Greek theater festivals and the traditions followed in the theater.
  • Focus will be placed upon the religious reasons for the festivals and also the religious tone of most performances.
  • Students will be asked to read the myth Pyramus and Thisbe and create a modern version of the story of the young loves.

Day Four: The Ancient Greek Olympics

  • Students will read page 345 or A Message of Ancient Day that describes the original Greek Olympics.
  • Focus will be on the purpose of the games: to honor the gods.
  • Students will Venn diagram the original Olympics and the modern Olympics.

Day Five: Ancient Greek Myths

  • Students will use www.greekmythology.com to find out what the god Apollo’s main daily duty was.
  • Have students speculate why the Greeks did this.
  • Discuss what we know today about the sun, moon, and planets.
  • Have students choose an event in nature and create a myth explaining the event.


Day Six: Assessment

  • Students will be asked to answer the following questions (using FUSE):
  • Describe how religion influenced ancient Greek life. Provide at least two examples and explanations of the influence.
  • Does religion influence society today? Defend your answer with at least two examples and explanations.

  • Prior to answer the second question, some discussion will probably occur.

Culminating Activity

  • To conclude the unit I will take the products of the students work and create a "mini-museum" or our own in the showcase outside our room.
  • Also, I am going to attempt to arrange a field trip for the students to see some ancient Greek artifacts.

MS Word version of this file.

Image collection for this lesson.

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Last updated August 1, 2002.