Grade 5
My Class to Yours


Ancient Greece Game Board Project
Use with Unit 5, Chapters 11 and 12
Written by Shari Bithell and Christine Olmstead
Grade 6 teachers
Mariposa Elementary
Brea, California USA

Objective: To learn about the important contributions the Greeks made to history by making game board games.



  1. Break students up into 9 groups separated by each lesson in Chapters 11 and 12.
    • Early Greeks (pg. 328-333)
    • Cyclops's Cave (pg. 334-337)
    • Athens: A City-State (pg. 338-344)
    • A Tale of Two City-States (pg. 351-357)
    • The Golden Age of Athens (pg. 362-368)
    • The Peloponnesian War (pg. 369-373)
    • Alexander the Great (pg. 374-381)
    • Contributions of the Greeks (pg. 383-389)
  2. Each group of students will read their assigned section of the chapter. Each person in the group will individually come up with 15 questions and answers to their reading. They must identify the "key terms" and identify the 5 most important points from their section.
  3. As a group, students will think of board games that they have played (Monopoly, Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, Pictionary, etc.). They will use these games and rules as a guide to create a game that meets the following requirements:
    • Minimum of 25 Question and Answer Cards
    • They need to have a place to draw the card from and directions for what to do if they answer it correctly of incorrectly.
    • Minimum of 5 Vocabulary Word Cards or questions in the game.
    • Minimum of 10 Key Ideas illustrated or demonstrated in your game.
    • Make the Game (make sure to include all pieces: dice, moving pieces, money, etc.).
    • The Name and Topic of the game needs to be clearly labeled.
    • You must write or type out the rules.
    • Design a box for the game.
    • Do a trial run of the game.
  4. As a group, students will write a brief paper describing their game and rules. They need to include a list of questions and answers, vocabulary words with the definitions, and the key ideas they included.

Have students present their games to the class. Take an afternoon to allow students to play the different games.

The Artifact Game
Use with Unit 2: The Earliest People: A Message of Ancient Days
Written by Terry Karsh
Grade 6 teacher
Anderson School
Lawndale, California USA

Objective: Students analyze characteristics of an artifact and create a list of clues describing that artifact.

Here's a GREAT activity that lends itself well to the beginning of the school year. (I adapted it from the Access Activity listed on the bottom of page 91 in the Teacher's Edition.)

I bring in a few artifacts (tools, utensils, toys) from home. I keep the artifacts hidden from view. I read five clues that I have created for one of the artifacts. After reading each clue, the students try to guess what it is by asking yes-no questions. If they are stumped, I finally show the object to the class. We discuss my clues to see which ones were the most helpful. The class brainstorms and comes up with additional clues. We discuss and evaluate the clues. (I may repeat the process with another artifact).

Next, I divide my class into cooperative groups of four or five. I give each group a bag or a box with one artifact inside. Each group generates a list of clues for their artifact and groups present their clues to the rest of the class. Students ask yes-no questions to determine the identity of the object.

As a homework assignment, I ask each student to bring an artifact from home in a bag and to write five clues for that artifact. I remind students that artifacts must safe and appropriate for school.

The students present their objects one at a time in front of the class. I choose only a few students a day to present so it takes a week or two to get to the entire class.

My students LOVE playing "The Artifact Game." Besides analyzing artifacts, I feel this activity gives my students an opportunity to speak in front of the class in a fun, non-threatening process since students have only to read their clues and call on other students. It gives each child a voice and sets a warm and accepting tone for the rest of the school year.

Early Man/Dinosaur Timeline
Use with Unit 2: The Earliest People: A Message of Ancient Days
Written by Terry Karsh
Grade 6 teacher
Anderson School
Lawndale, California USA
TLKarsh @

Objective: Students create a timeline emphasizing the immense time span between the extinction of dinosaurs and the appearance of early man.

Many students in my class do NOT believe me when I tell them that dinosaurs disappeared 62 million years before humans appeared. Maybe they have watched too many B movies with caveman and dinosaurs! Or perhaps Barney and Fred Flintstone have played a role in their skepticism.

Even if they do comprehend the fact that dinosaurs were extinct before humans inhabited the Earth, sixty-two million years is an extremely fuzzy concept for sixth grade students to fathom. (It's probably a fuzzy concept for most adults too. I know I have trouble thinking about that amount of time!)

Here's a terrific timeline activity that really helps my students better visualize the gigantic time span between humans and dinosaurs and is guaranteed to keep the students' attention:

When I introduce Unit 2, I ask the question, "What do we know about Early Man." I write the question with a marker on a large sheet of butcher paper which I put on the front board of the classroom. Students discuss this question in small cooperative groups and a recorder in each group writes down their responses.

The class then comes back as a group. Each group tells one "fact" and I record their responses on the butcher paper (cluster or mind map). I write each response on the butcher paper even if I know it to be false. We continue around the room until there are no more responses.

I explain to the class that we are going to study Early Man in the next few weeks to find out if what we know about them is factual and to learn even more. (Note: I use the word "we" because I see myself not only as the teacher, but also as a learner. I learn more about history every year on my own and from my students.)

I write the word DINOSAURS on the butcher paper. I ask the students if dinosaurs were on the Earth at the same time as Early Man. I facilitate a short discussion.

I explain to the students that dinosaurs and man did NOT live on Earth at the same time. In fact, they lived millions and millions of years apart. I hold up a picture of a dinosaur with the words, "DINOSAURS-- Extinct 65 million years ago". I also hold up a picture of Early Man which has the words, "EARLY MAN--Appeared 3 million years ago."

I tell them that we are going to do a timeline with special "Scientific Paper" so that they can better understand the amount of years involved. I take the roll of toilet tissue from a bag and announce that this is my "Scientific Paper". (At this point, the students are astonished, involved, and laughing. I wait until they settle down and continue in a serious and professional tone.)

I tear off one square and tell the students that one square represents one million years. I tear off 65 squares and pass out two per student since I have over 30 students in my classroom.

I have the students stand in a line around the room holding the two sheets of tissue paper. (The line circles the room in my classroom. If I want a straight line, I use the playground or our multipurpose room.) I put the card with 1997 at one end of the line. I pin or tape the card or I have a extra student hold it. The class counts back 65 "Scientific Papers" (65,000,000 years) and we place the "DINOSAURS Extinct" sign there. The class counts back 3 "Scientific Papers" (3,000,000 years) from today's date and we place "EARLY MAN Appeared" sign.

I explain to the students that written language has been used for only a relatively short time. I then tear off a tiny piece from the most current tissue paper . I explain that this piece of paper represents all written history. I facilitate a class discussion and then the students write in their Learning Log about what they learned.

Students could glue the "Scientific Papers" on a long piece of butcher paper for a permanent timeline. They could make a longer timeline to depict when dinosaurs, starfish, and sharks appeared on Earth (See Understanding Chronology on page 87 of the Teachers' Edition). They could also do further research on dinosaurs.

This is a fun activity for both the students and myself. It definitely appeals to 6th grade humor. I feel that it is appropriate because it allows students to visualize an abstract concept in concrete terms that they can understand.

Visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum ( Web site. This museum is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and is the largest museum in the world devoted only to Paleontology. The web page is an excellent resource for information about dinosaurs and other ancient life forms. Students love the graphics from this website. Also, this is a terrific place for students to look for answers to their questions about dinosaurs (no matter how obscure).

The American Museum of Natural History ( is a world-renowned museum located in New York City. The entire website is outstanding and worth visiting again and again. You should definately visit the special section called Timelines ( Here students can travel back electronically to different time periods in the history of the earth to see animals and ecosystems. This contains text and graphics.

Timeliner (TM) 4.0 by Tom Snyder Productions (Mac and PC) is an outstanding computer software program which is suitable for grades K-12. Students (either individually or in groups) can easily design a timeline which will print on banner paper.

Flash Cards
Written by Mrs. Pokka
Grade 6-7 teacher
Brown Middle School

You make flash cards, with one having the word and another a definition, or you write questions. The children just play different games such as Go Fish with them. My students only had one B on their pop quiz. It works very well.

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