Teams of sixth graders recently competed against each other for points by learning about Greek city states and completing as many tasks as possible. They painted shields bearing the emblems of Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Argos, engraved clay coins, decorated sashes that they wore each day, and wrote (and loudly performed) chants that permeated the walls of Hurd House. They became experts on their topic, writing a set of running notes to present to their class.
After learning about both the ancient and modern Olympics, students took part in their own City State Olympics. Events included solving tricky math problems, competing in the cotton ball shot put, speeding through a Latin declension race, and participating in a tongue-twister challenge.
The study unit culminated with students using the armies they had earned through points in the earlier competitions to go to war with one another—a classroom-sized representation of the ancient Greek wars. Little did they know that as they battled one another, a more formidable opponent lay in the shadows. The Roman Empire (in the form of their teacher Lindsay Clarke) swept in on the second day of war with an army nearly 100 times the size and beat the city states into submission.