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JMU Elementary Education Program

A. TITLE OF LESSON: Now Showing: Democracy as seen in Ancient Greece
Students will have been learning about Greece for about a week and a half. My cooperating
teacher will have mentioned democracy but not specifically direct democracy. During their
government unit earlier this year, the students learned about the representative democracy of the
United States. This was also evident during my Seeing Student Thinking Interview where both
students were able to correctly identify that the United States has a representative democracy. I
will build upon that knowledge by having them compare it with the direct democracy of Ancient
Greece. I also noticed during my seeing student thinking interview that the students seem truly
interested in Ancient Greece. This lesson has a lot to do with government because it focuses on
the types of government (direct and representative democracies), but I will keep Ancient Greece
involved as much as possible because they are so interested in it by using a simulation where we
pretend that we are in a classroom in Ancient Greece.
Developmentally, according to Piaget, most of these students are in the concrete operational
stage of cognitive development. These students have more flexible thinking which is why a
simulation will work for them. It requires some imagination, but these students still need hands-
on, experiential learning (Developmentally Appropriate Practice, p. 272). These children can
solve some abstract problems at this point, but learning simply through reading or direct
instruction is not enough because they need that hands-on aspect in the classroom.
Understand what are the
broad generalizations the
students should begin to
develop? (These can be
difficult to assess in one
Know what are the facts,
rules, specific data the
students will gain through
this lesson? (These
knows must be assessed
in your lesson.)
Do what are the specific
thinking behaviors
students will be able to do
or practice as a result of
this lesson? (These will
also be assessed in your
-Students will understand
that people and events of
-Students will know that a
direct democracy is a
-Students will compare
and contrast the
Caryn Foster
March 26, 2014 at 2 pm

the past can influence
people and events of the
government in which
people vote to make their
own rules and laws.
-Students will know that a
representative democracy
is a government in which
the people vote for (elect)
a smaller group of citizens
make the rules and laws
for everyone.
-Students will know that
the current government of
the United States is based
on ideas developed in
ancient Greece.
government of ancient
Greece to the United
States government today.


Discussion questions at the end
of simulation
Venn Diagram Worksheet
Exit Ticket
Diagnostic features:
Thoughtful answers to
questions about fairness and
effectiveness of the direct
democracy-There really are
no right and wrong answers
here. Students should at least
discuss that both women and
slaves could not vote, and
decide whether that was fair
or not.
Venn diagram will compare
and contrast direct democracy
and representative
democracy. Students will
direct which phrases and
definitions go with the
ancient Greek government or
the United States government.
The exit ticket should have at
least one difference that we
talked about with our Venn

Some of these students will need
individual attention-my
cooperating teacher and aids will
assist. The exit ticket,
specifically, might cause some
trouble for a few students. If
necessary, we can have them
look at their Venn Diagram
again to brainstorm an idea.
I plan to use lots of visuals for
students that are not as focused
on the discussion. The pictures
will allow them to still be
involved in what the
conversation is about.


VA SOL: Social Studies 3.1
The student will explain how the contributions of ancient Greece and Rome have influenced the
present world in terms of architecture, government (direct and representative democracy), and
Role cards for simulation
Venn diagram handout for each student
Computer Access/Smartboard
Exit Ticket worksheets for each student
Paper bag
Sticky labels (for differentiation)

Activity Element
& Time (in
Procedures and


Academic, physical,
social & linguistic
resources, and
Introduction Cooperating Teacher will
go over the students Daily
Social Studies Review
Questions (Students
already have these in their
binders-VA SOL Practice
Students will be
following along in the
questions, correcting
them if necessary.
I will keep an eye
on a few students
to make sure they
actually correct
any wrong
Event 1

Ancient Greece Direct
Democracy Simulation
-Explain classroom
Students will be
appropriately and
following the classroom
I will have
pictures to go
along with the
expectations to the
students: We need to
remember our school
rules to raise our hand for
permission to speak and
leave our seat.
-Hand out the role cards
to the students (Woman,
Rich man, Slave)
-We will pretend that we
are a 3
grade class at an
elementary school in
Ancient Greece. We, as a
class, are trying to decide
on a class pet. We have
narrowed it down
between a goat, a pig, or a
donkey. We are going to
vote to make this decision
as we would if we lived in
Ancient Greece.
-Pass out the role cards to
students; have them
randomly select one out
of a hat with the cards
mixed in them.
-Explain to the students
that only the students who
have the Rich man
cards can vote.
Remember, every role is
-Discuss the following
questions: Who in our
class was completely
excluded from voting?
What role cards did those
people have? How was
expectations as discussed. (pictures of each
of the class pets &
the role cards)
There will be text
on the Smartboard
(the questions will
be there
that a fair way to vote?
How was it not fair?

Ask for final comments
for the discussion. Then
say that we are now going
to look at the Smartboard
again to learn more!
Students will finish the
discussion and then direct
their attention to the
Smartboard; they must
make sure they can see it

Event 2

Smartboard Lesson
-Direct democracy: In our
activity, this is what we did.
Who didnt vote? (Women
and slaves), Who could vote?
(The rich men), This is the
type of government that
Ancient Greece had. It is
called a direct democracy
because people vote to make
their own rules and laws,
-The United States has a
government that is a little bit
different but has some
similarities as well because
we got some of our ideas
from the direct democracy of
Ancient Greece. We have
what is called a representative
democracy. That means that
the people vote for (elect) a
smaller group of citizens
make the rules and laws for
-What would our activity
have looked like earlier if we
had a representative
democracy to vote for the
class pet?
The students will be
active learners during
this Smartboard lesson. I
will refer back to our
simulation to keep this
more engaging.
This is going to
be as short as
possible because I
dont want the
students to
disengaged, but it
is necessary to
look at a few
definitions before
moving on to the
next part of the
Transition Let the students know that Have a student help
we will now be doing an
activity on the
Smartboard. Hand out the
Venn diagram worksheets
to the students.
hand out the papers.
The rest of the
students will wait
quietly in their seats.
Event 3

Venn diagram to
compare and contrast the
ancient Greece
government to the U.S.
I will have a Venn
diagram at the end of the
Smartboard presentation
as a slide with different
answers already written
out. The students will tell
me where each phrase and
definition goes on the
Venn diagram.
The students will each
have their own sheet to
write down what we look

Students will brainstorm
ideas for how the
governments are similar
and different.
Students will write on
their Venn diagram
worksheet what we do on
the Smartboard to keep in
their binders for studying.
I will have labels
with the words on
them for one
particular student
to put on his Venn
diagram so
writing is not
The Venn diagram
will be projected
on the screen so
that all students
can see it
Physically active
because the
students will come
up to the
Conclusion: Exit Ticket!
What is one way that the
direct democracy of
Ancient Greece is
different from the
representative democracy
of the United States?
Students will be given
a lined sheet with the
question written on it
(the question will also
be up on the
Smartboard) and they
will write their
answers for me to
collect as assessment.
A few students
might need to
look back at
their Venn
diagrams for
this. One
student will
also need us to
write what he

First, the students really seem to enjoy learning about Greece. While this lesson is heavily
a civics lesson, I plan to incorporate Greece as much as possible. For example, we will pretend
that we are in a classroom in Ancient Greece during the simulation. The simulation also uses a
variety of activities that will help students with varied learning styles. There will be active
participation in a direct democracy and discussion. For both parts of this, I will have pictures on
the Smartboard and the questions will also be written up there so the students can see them again
if just hearing me is not enough.
When we get to the Venn diagram, I will have a couple of things to help students here.
Some students might need to be up and moving at this point; I will have students come to the
Smartboard to move the text to the correct spot on the Venn diagram. It will be projected on the
screen so that all students can see it so they can copy it on their own Venn diagrams. One student
has trouble writing more than just a couple of words. I will have sticky labels for this student
with the words already on them so he can just peel off the sticker and put it on the correct part of
the Venn diagram. Finally, for the exit ticket, a few students might need to look back at their
Venn diagrams. I will allow them to do this, if necessary, but I will have them try to write it
without looking back first. If they do need to look back, it is not taking away from their learning
because they are simply using a resource that they worked to create.

While Ancient Greece may not seem that important, my hope in this lesson is that
students will come to realize that people of the past can really influence people of the present.
Democracy originated from Ancient Greece; what would the United States be like today if we
did not have these foundations of democracy. Would we have a monarchy or a dictator or an
aristocracy? Maybe eventually the idea of democracy would have come about because people
might have been drawn to government by the people, but we will never really know.
I want this to be a powerful lesson for my students, and I believe that a simulation really
allows for that to happen. This means that it will be meaningful, integrative, value-based,
challenging, and active. The use of a simulation will allow for this to happen during my lesson. It
is meaningful because I am using an experience of something they can relate to, picking a class
pet to demonstrate what it would be like to be a citizen of a direct democracy. It is integrative in
that I am combining both civics and history. It is value-based because students must decide
whether or not they feel that the simulation is fair since not all students will get the opportunity
to vote. Students are learning what it is like to be an active citizen by voting. Decision making is
required as well as application of critical thinking skills; this makes this lesson plan challenging.
Finally, this lesson is active because the students will be engaged both physically and mentally.
One way I am doing that specifically is by having the vote be about a class pet, something the
students would be interested in (
This lesson aids in the students development as citizens. If we want policies of the
United States to actually reflect how our citizens feel, then we need every ordinary citizen to
understand what a democracy means. Voting for a class pet is an example that 3
graders can
relate to, but it is the beginning of understanding the democratic process that they will have the
opportunity to be a part of as they get older. Students get to explore this idea in a safe
environment of the classroom. I believe that this subject matter is very important because these
students will be adults before they know it; they will be the ones making decisions for our
country. Imagine if students never learned about what a democracy was, that could be a disaster
for our country.
This subject matter of democracy clearly goes beyond school. It is essential that they
develop these understandings during their time in school so that they can contribute to their
communities and to society. Being an active citizen is a part of this contribution. Students will
get to vote and maybe even be representatives in our government. This is not a subject matter
that can just be covered at a surface-level. Through a simulation, students get to experience
democracy firsthand. There is no better way to get students actively involved and interested in
their government than by making it relevant at a young age to simply teach them the process.
The issues that we as adults vote for will become relevant as they get older.
If there are any problems with the Smartboard, it would definitely affect my lesson plan.
My first back-up plan would be to have papers that I could put under the projector. The students
would still be able to see the text and the pictures if I did this. If the projector did not work
either, though, I would be writing on the whiteboard a lot more. I would also be doing the Venn
diagram activity on the whiteboard as well if that happened. The students might get upset if they
do not get to vote during the simulation, if they get a women or slave role card. Before we begin,
I will explain that every role in this is important. It might not necessarily be the role you would
like to have, but that role is essential to our class activity working correctly. In terms of their
learning, some students might have trouble wrapping their minds around the representative
democracy since we do not have time to do a simulation for both. I will try to give them a
concrete example. If we were voting on a class pet in the present day United States, all students
would vote on their representative. Then, these representatives would decide together on what
the class pet would be. Students might also have trouble understanding that women were not
allowed to vote in Ancient Greece. I will remind them that women could not vote in the United
States until much later. A woman not voting does not make that type of government bad.

Venn Diagram:
-Direct democracy
-Works well for a smaller
group of people
-Citizens are directly
responsible for making
-Only men could vote
-People vote directly to make
their own laws
-Representative democracy
-Citizens vote for or elect
-Representatives debate
and decide laws
-Works better for a larger
group of people
-Any citizen over 18 can
Ancient Greece
United States
-People have a
say in the
-Citizens take
part in the law-
making process