Lesson Plan

Live from Ancient Olympia!

The kylix depicting pentathletes is an example of pottery and decoration from the late Archaic period
Photo caption

The kylix depicting pentathletes is an example of pottery and decoration from the late Archaic period.

If television had existed in the time of the ancient Greek athletes Milo of Kroton, Diagoras of Rhodes, Melankomas of Caria, Polydamas of Skotoussa, and Theagenes of Thasos, no doubt their triumphs in the ancient Olympic Games would have been the subject of numerous live broadcast interviews. In this lesson, students will have an opportunity to develop such "live interviews" with ancient athletes; working in small groups, they will produce a script based on the results of their research and they will perform the interview for other students in the class.

To prepare meaningful scripts of questions and responses for their interviewers and athletes, student groups will draw upon resources of an online exhibit, "The Ancient Olympics," developed for the EDSITEment-reviewed Perseus Project. Designed especially for students, this exhibit includes sections on ancient and modern sports, the site of Olympia as it looks today, the cultural and historical context of the Games, and athletes who were famous in ancient times. Whether they access the site themselves or are provided with reprints by their teacher, students will find ample resources on "The Ancient Olympics" with which to construct interviews that reflect their understanding of some of the values and beliefs underlying the ancient Olympic Games.

This lesson can be taught either by itself or in conjunction with the more extensive lesson unit, "It Came From Greek Mythology" , which offers several activities for teaching about the mythology of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as the ancient concept of the hero. Although designed for students in grades 3 through 5, much of "It Came From Greek Mythology" is adaptable for older students, and serves as a useful compendium of EDSITEment resources on Greek mythology and culture.

Guiding Questions

What beliefs and values are reflected in stories about famous athletes at the ancient Olympic Games?

Learning Objectives

Learn about the city of Olympia and the ancient Olympic Games that were held there.

Read stories about ancient athletes.

Analyze the qualities for which ancient Olympic athletes were praised or blamed.

Write and perform scripts for "live interviews" with ancient athletes that reflect an understanding of the beliefs and values that underlay the ancient Olympic Games.