Alternate Unit 6: Exploring Ancient Greece
In this unit, students explore ancient Greece, learning and exploring the different characteristics of ancient Greece and its values.
Alternate Unit 6
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.
The mentor text for this unit, Ancient Greece and the Olympics, allows students to practice multiple informational reading strategies independently and with partners. Throughout the unit, students will practice determining the main topic of a section of a text and also the entire text. Students will also explore how authors include many types of details in a text. Students will begin to analyze which details in a text are important, and which details in a text are just interesting and make the text more enjoyable to read.
Students will use all of the strategies they learned in previous units to engage with classmates in partner, small group, and whole class discussions. Students will continue to build on their peers’ talk and may begin to critique and analyze the reasoning of their peers when applicable.
Students continue to build their writing fluency by writing daily in response to the Target Task question using a combination of simple and complex sentences. Students also have multiple opportunities to write both informational and opinion paragraphs, building on the strategies they have learned across the entire sequence. Students end the unit by participating in their final research project, with an emphasis on using facts and definitions to develop points. Across the unit, students also write multiple opinion paragraphs, focusing on stating an opinion and supplying reasons to support the opinion.
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Book: Ancient Greece and the Olympics: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2004)
Assessment Text: “Ancient Greece: Democracy is born” (Newsela)
Book: Growing Up in Ancient Greece by Chris Chelepi (Troll Communications, 1997)
Book: The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki (HarperCollins, 1997)
Video: “Ancient Greek Vases” (YouTube)
These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
Download Content Assessment
Download Content Assessment Answer Key
Download Cold Read Assessment
Download Cold Read Assessment Answer Key
Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
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.
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
The main topic is the big idea of a section of text; understanding the main topic of a section of text helps the reader determine which details are important.
Authors include many types of details in the text; some details are important and support the author’s point, while the others are just interesting.
Participate in shared research and writing projects.
Use facts and definitions to develop points.
State an opinion and supply reasons that support that opinion.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 12, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
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.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
Describe Athens and Sparta and what was similar and different about the two city-states by identifying the main focus of specific paragraphs within a text.
Identify and explain the evidence an author uses to support the idea that “religion was a big part of Greek life” by identifying and describing how reasons support particular points the author makes in a text.
Describe two gods and what made them unique by identifying and explaining details the author includes to support the main points in a text.
Argue which god or goddess is the most powerful by using details from the texts about their personality, actions, and relationship with others.
Analyze the evidence the author includes to support the statement, “The ancient Greeks had busy lives,” by identifying and describing how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
Explain how ancient Greeks loved learning, fun, and beauty by identifying and describing how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
Analyze how the evidence from Growing Up in Ancient Greece builds on information from Ancient Greece and the Olympics by comparing the most important information presented by two texts on the same topic.
Explain what life was like in ancient Greece by writing an informational text with a strong introduction, details from the text, and a conclusion.
Explain the statement, “The ancient Greeks left gifts for the whole world to enjoy,” by identifying and describing how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
Using information from the video and book, recreate a Greek vase to show a detailed illustration of life in ancient Greece.
Explain how and why the Olympics became the most popular festival in Greece by identifying the main topic and details within a text.
Defend if the Olympics were important to everyone in ancient Greece by identifying the reasons an author states to support a point.
Describe two different Olympic events by identifying the main focus of specific paragraphs and the key details within them.
Argue which event in the Ancient Olympics was the most difficult by using details from the text.
Explain why the author says, “When the winners returned home, they were greeted like heroes,” by analyzing and describing how reasons from the entire text support specific points the author makes in a text.
Using information from the unit, recreate a Greek vase to show a detailed illustration of an Olympic event.
Defend if the Olympic Games of today are exactly the same as the early Olympic Games by explaining the reasons an author gives to support a point in a text.
Debate and discuss unit Essential Questions by stating a claim and supporting it with evidence from the entire unit.
Writing – 3 days
Research and present on a specific aspect of ancient Greek society.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
— Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
— Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
— Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
— Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
— Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
— Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
— By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
— Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
— Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
— Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
— Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
— Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
— Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
— Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
— With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
— Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
— Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
— Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
— Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known prefix is added to a known word (e.g., happy/unhappy, tell/retell).
— Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe foods that are spicy or juicy).
— Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
— Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
— Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
— Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
— Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
— With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
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