Exploring Ancient Greece

In this unit, students explore ancient Greece, learning and exploring the different characteristics of ancient Greece and its values.

Unit Summary

As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in April 2021. See which texts and materials have changed as part of the revision in this guide to our 2nd Grade text adjustments.

In this unit, students explore ancient Greece. Over the course of the unit, students learn and explore different characteristics of ancient Greece and its values. Through learning about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of ancient Greece, students will be challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how those values compare to society today. Students will also learn about the different gods and goddesses and analyze the role they played in ancient Greek society. At the end of the unit, students will be challenged to compare and contrast the role of the Olympics in ancient Greek society with the modern-day Olympics. It is our hope that this unit, in conjunction with others in the sequence, will help students understand early civilizations around the world.

The mentor text for this unit, Ancient Greece and the Olympics, allows students to practice multiple informational reading strategies independently and in partners. Over the course of the unit, students will practice the spiraling strategies of determining the main topic and details, using context clues to figure out unknown words, analyzing illustrations, and using text features to deepen their understanding of a text. An additional focus of this unit is on describing how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text. Over the entire unit, students should be challenged to think critically about the reasons authors include in a text to support a particular point and why those reasons support the point. Another focus of this unit is on comparing and contrasting the most important points presented across two texts on the same topic. It is important to note that in order for students to successfully analyze authors’ use of reasons and to compare and contrast across texts, students must be able to determine key details. Plan small

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions


  • What connections can we make between ancient Greece and our society today?
    • Spent time playing sports and keeping fit
    • Valued school and education
    • Philosophers still read today (Socrates, Plato); Homer still read today
    • Studied the human body; Hippocratic Oath
    • Architecture inspired buildings today
    • Drama inspired plays today
    • Many words in English come from Greek
    • Olympics
  • What did the ancient Greeks believe and/or value?
    • Learning, fun, and beauty (for some groups of people)
    • Sports and a strong mind/body (for some groups of people)
    • The gods/goddesses of Olympus
  • How did ancient Greek beliefs and values shape their society?
    • Spent a lot of time worshipping and honoring the gods (festivals, temples, sports, Olympics)
    • Encouraged men and boys to go to school, attend symposia, learn from older men
    • Spent a lot of time enjoying themselves (games, sports, parties)

Foundational Skills

Fluency Focus Areas

  • Readers read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage
  • Readers use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage
  • Readers reread in order to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding

Like prior units, the main fluency focus of this unit is on reading an informational text with the right expression and intonation to show interpretation of the passage. This includes knowing how to read different text features to highlight the feature's purpose, and rereading and self-correcting in order to figure out the meaning of domain-specific, multisyllabic, or tricky words. This unit includes both Read Aloud and shared reading texts; therefore, students will have a chance to hear multiple examples of fluent reading while also having ample time to practice reading fluently on their own.

Writing Focus Areas


Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Review all sentence-level writing strategies.

Since it is the last unit of the program, teachers should review whatever sentence activities students would benefit from reviewing:

  • Producing simple sentences
  • Correcting run-on sentences
  • Sentence completion with the words “because,” “but,” or “so”
  • Sentence combining (two or three sentences)
  • Subordinating conjunctions to introduce dependent clauses at the beginning of a sentence ("before," "after," "when," and "if")
  • Sentence expansion (using all question words)

Paragraph-Level Focus Areas

  • Selecting relevant details from a list to support a given topic sentence

Students will use their understanding of the text and main topic to determine which key details best support a given topic sentence. This reinforces the work they are doing with reading standard RI.2.8 in this unit.

Informational Writing Focus Areas

  • Use facts and definitions to develop points

Students will end the unit by doing a research project on one of the topics studied. After practicing selecting relevant details from a list to support a given topic sentence throughout this unit, they will continue this work by using facts and definitions to develop points in their research projects.




artifact brutal citizen compete devote democracy headstrong honor modern moody oath obey philosophy please potter resist rival rule sacrifice seldom store tense truce vase worship

To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections


  • Describe the city-states of Athens and Sparta.
  • Describe what daily life was like in ancient Greece and the way it was different from daily life today.
  • Explain how the first Olympic Games started and what they represented.
  • Explain why the Greeks worshiped gods and goddesses.
  • Identify and name three or four of the most popular gods and goddesses (Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Artemis, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Demeter, Ares, Hermes, Athena, Hades).

Lesson Map



Common Core Standards

Core Standards























Supporting Standards