Cross curricular: Creative topic – It’s all Greek to me

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By Rosie Warden — Junior Ed PLUS Guest Editor 2007 and Year 4 teacher

Explore the gods and goddesses of the Ancient Greeks with this month’s creative topic

Ancient greek columns

Falling in love, arguing with family members, casting out children and partying too hard… Not the latest episode of EastEnders, but the antics of the Greek gods and goddesses – the focus for this month’s creative topic. Read on for a range of exciting cross-curricular activities to help children explore the ideas and beliefs of the Ancient Greeks.

Mythology was central to Ancient Greek culture. Greek myths about gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines (not to mention fantastical monsters!) were used to explain the natural world. The Ancient Greeks believed that there was a god for every aspect of their lives and that these immortal gods controlled everything – so it was essential to keep them happy! Mount Olympus in northern Greece was believed to be the home of the gods and was often so cloudy that no one could see its summit.

As children research the Greek gods and goddesses, encourage them to use the information as the basis for making their own class database.

Activities

  1. Zeus & Hera – PE
  2. Athena – D&T/literacy
  3. Demeter & Persephone – spelling
  4. Hades – speaking & listening
  5. Aphrodite & Eros – persuasive writing
  6. Hermes – geography/maths
  7. Apollo & Artemis – D&T/science
  8. Poseidon – literacy
  9. Dionysus – drama/art
  10. Hephaestos – science
  11. Prometheus & Heracles – D&T/literacy

Ancient Greek theatre

1 Zeus & Hera

Background: Zeus was the King of the Gods, and Hera was his wife. As God of the Sky and the Weather, he carried a thunderbolt and sceptre, and was often accompanied by an eagle. He had hundreds of children, including Apollo, Hermes and Heracles. The Olympic Games were held in his honour.

Zeus’ wife, Hera, was the Goddess of Marriage. She was extremely jealous of Zeus’ many affairs, and exacted terrible revenge on his girlfriends and illegitimate children. The Heraia festival was dedicated to Hera. Like the Olympic Games, it contained athletic competitions and was held at Olympia, but only women were allowed to compete.

Activities:

PE: To celebrate the upcoming Olympics, encourage children to compare the events and celebrations of the modern Olympics with those of the Ancient world. You could hold your own mini-Olympics/Heraia festival and then crown the winners with home-made olive wreaths. (See Junior Entrepreneurs: The sports day challenge for more ideas about how to plan a mini-Olympics.)

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