Social Studies Ancient Greece Lesson Plan with a Focus on Building Vocabulary

Lesson Plan Example


  1. Hercules by Robin Moore   Grade Level-6th
  2. Target vocabulary words- Words with multiple meanings

(hide– the skin from an animal killed in hunting, land– a region or territory, track– footprints or other marks left by an animal, person, or vehicle, back– to do something in return, cover– to spread over a surface)

  1. Comprehension Skill- Cause and Effect


This lesson is relevant because it will be used in concert with Social Studies curriculum about Ancient Greece and Greek Mythology. Students are familiar with the Greek gods and goddesses and this story helps to illustrate the relationship that the ancient Greeks had with the gods of Mount Olympus. This relationship is heavily influenced by the idea of Cause and Effect. The vocabulary words are selected based on Assessment Anchor R.6.A.1.1.1: Identify and/or apply meaning of multiple meaning words used in text. The definitions of these words are different depending on the context they are found in. It is necessary for students to be able to identify words based on context clues.

PA Standard: 1.1.6.A: Use word analysis skills, the glossary/thesaurus, and context clues to decode and understand new words in content areas during reading.

PA Standard: 1.1.6.D: Demonstrate comprehension/understanding before reading, during reading, and after reading on grade level texts through strategies such as summarizing, note taking, extending ideas from text, comparing and contrasting texts, determining fact from opinion, and supporting assertions about text with evidence from text.

Instructional Objectives

Vocabulary: When given 5 sentences containing words with multiple meanings, students will use context clues to identify the correct definition of the word with 100% accuracy.

Comprehension Skill: When given a blank graphic organizer with 3 squares labeled “Cause” and 3 squares labeled “Effect”, students will be able to correctly list causes and effects from the story Hercules with 100% accuracy.

Lesson Initiation

The teacher will lead the students through the creation of a concept map. On the board there will be a large circle with the word Chores written inside. The teacher will ask students to volunteer words or phrases that come to mind when they think of doing chores. The teacher will then say that in the story Hercules, a very powerful man must complete different tasks and chores for people because he wants something very badly. They will have to read the story to find out what he had to do and why.

Instructional Activities

Materials- class set of the book Hercules by Robin Moore, a class set of Multiple Meanings Activity sheets, a set of Kameenui’s vocabulary cards for the teacher, a class set of Cause and Effect Graphic Organizer worksheets, and a class set of Vocabulary Independent Practice worksheets.

Presentation- The teacher will present the new vocabulary words using Kameenui’s Technique: The teacher will show the word, the teacher will model the word, a student will pronounce the word, a student will read the definition of the word, the teacher will ask several students questions about the word, a student will repeat the definition, and the teacher will repeat this for the rest of the vocabulary words.

The teacher will present the comprehension skill by drawing 6 squares on the board, each connected by an arrow. The teacher will introduce the idea of cause and effect and then the students will fill in the boxes with examples that they have experienced.

The teacher will conclude the presentation with a mini lesson on Greek Mythology by reviewing the concepts discussed in Social Studies class. The students will list as many of the gods and goddesses that they can remember from previous lessons. The teacher will inform students of the relationship between Hercules and the god Zeus and the goddesses Hera and Athena. The teacher will review with students how the Greeks felt that their lives were controlled by the decisions of the gods and if they displeased the gods, their lives could be ruined. Teacher will inform students that since Hercules is half-human and half-god, he had to endure many consequences for his actions.

Guided Practice- In order to practice the comprehension skill, students will take part in a DRTA activity. The students will first look over the material and then make some predictions about what might happen in the chapter. The students will stop after 4 paragraphs in order to discuss the predictions and will make new predictions. This will be repeated until the chapter is finished. The teacher will inform the students that their predictions should focus on the skill of cause and effect. The teacher will direct their predictions so that students will list a cause from the story and predict the effect.

While the teacher reads the chapter from the book, students will practice vocabulary by playing Multiple Meanings Activity. Using the card at their desk, students will mark each square in which the definition is used during the reading. Then, using the letters in each square, students must unscramble the letters to solve the riddle.

Independent Practice- In order to practice comprehension skills after the story students will complete a Cause and Effect Graphic Organizer. They will fill in the boxes under Cause with elements of the story and then fill in the boxes under Effect.

To practice vocabulary after the reading, students will complete a worksheet that contains the five target words in sentences. Students must use context clues in order to select the correct definition for the word used.

Lesson Summary

To summarize the lesson, the teacher will lead the students in a brief discussion on the events of the book. The teacher will again relate the story to students’ prior knowledge about Greek Mythology. The teacher will guide the discussion to mention that stories like these were used as ways to describe natural events such as weather, constellations, and unfortunate life events.

Lesson Evaluation

Students will be evaluated by their participation in the DRTA activity, the accuracy of their Multiple Meanings Activity, Cause and Effect graphic organizer, and the vocabulary worksheet.

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