Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
A Message of Ancient Days
Lesson at a Glance
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Chapter 11, Lesson 2: Athens: A City-State (pp. 338-343)
The Big Idea
Framework Concept: Culture Athens developed a successful
form of democracy, or government by the people.
- Outline the steps Athens took to develop rule by citizens, beginning
with monarchy, moving to oligarchy, then tyrants, and finally ending with
democracy. Be sure students understand that the word tyrant then did not
have the negative meanings it does today. Point out the ways in which rule
by tyrants actually helped create democracy.
Use the Lesson Outline to preview the content of the lesson. You may wish to print it for your students as a guide during reading.
Check for Understanding
- Ask each student to take on the role of a metic or foreigner, living
in Athens around 500 B.C., and to write a letter home describing the
government of the city, Athenian society and economy, and his or her
life there. Encourage students to use details to create a full picture.
- Have students look closely at the coins on page 343, and then create
one or more new designs for Athenian coins. Ask them to be aware of the
meanings of the specific symbols they choose. When finished have them
share their designs and explain their symbols.
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