Exploring Ancient Greece

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



Unit 6

2nd Grade

Unit Summary

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


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • What connections can we make between ancient Greece and our society today?
  • What did the ancient Greeks believe and/or value?
  • How did ancient Greek beliefs and values shape their society?

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

  • Participate in shared research and writing projects
  • 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.

Opinion Writing Focus Areas

  • State an opinion and supply reasons that support that opinion. 

In this unit students work on writing paragraphs that state an opinion and include reasons to support the opinion. They also start to work on the 3rd grade skill of sorting evidence into relevant categories to write multiple paragraphs. 

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.



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

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 6, 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).

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards

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Unit 5

Exploring Habitats