Ancient Greeks

Clay pot

You will need:

Air dry clay,
Acrylic paint and brushes.

We started this activity by talking about pottery back during the ancient Greek period. We also found out that they worked with stone and wood as well. She found one story really interesting about a man who made a marble statue of a lady that looked so life like he fell in love with it. Aphrodite the god of love felt sorry for him and turned her into a real women for him.
    We looked at pictures and noticed the decoration was of people and events.  We decided to make a big pot with Buttons favourite events painted on the side. She also noticed patterns on some of the pots so decided to decorate the lid with patterns. 
   She worked really hard on her pot, trying to make it a nice big pot. She's only ever made bowls before so I knew this could be trickier for her but she listened carefully and asked for help when she struggled. 
   We left it to dry for a few days then painted it. She picked some lovely memories like the time we met daddy from work and played with the frizbee, she did a tiger in the zoo because we visit the zoo for her birthday every year and her dancing at her dance party, as well as a few other things. It was lovely to see the way her mind worked when picking what she wanted to paint. 
   She loves patterns and sequences, so the lid really excited her which again was great to see. This month has been a joy to learn together.

Write a myth

This was fun. She had heard a few Greek myths on Horrible Histories and I read her the Minotaur myth. I decided as Button loves a story I would loosely explain how you write a story using a plot. We started by drawing her monster and her hero. Then I got her describe them to me and I wrote down all her key points. I then explained that we need a rough story outline like who is the victim, where does the monster live, how does the hero get there and how does he save the day. We then started to piece all the ideas together to make her story. She didnt want anyone to die or get hurt and had remembered the myth about the God who ate all his children then bought them all back up. So at the end her hero helps her monster, who is by then sick and brings up the people he ate. I liked that she let her heart show on the page and was true to herself. It had a happy ending.

Alphabet 

This was quite interesting. I found the ancient Greek alphabet but wasn't sure how I was actually going to use it. We sat down and just looked at it together. Button started pointing out letters that were the same amd I would tell her what the letter was called back then. Then I had the idea to make three headings "still use" "looks similar" "dont use" I then got her to go through it one letter at a time and copy the letter under the heading she thought it belonged. This helped with her handwriting skills and her copying skills. She actually found this fun and I was surprised as she's not a keen writer. She then counted all the letters we still use and was amazed at the amount. This was just a simple activity to show something we take for granted every day that the ancient Greeks gave us.

Stem - build a tower

This is another fun and quick way to look at the ancient Greeks. We wanted to explain how they used the post and lintel system. All you need are plastic cups and baking tins. We actually used the polystyrene cups as the plastic cups we had were too thin and weak. 
  We told Button we wanted her to build something that would hold her weight from just these two items. Even though she was excited by the challenge we could also tell she didn't think she could do it. 
   We showed her the principle of the idea by placing the cups in the wrong place and showing her that the tray will topple. We also googled pictures of old Ancient Greek buildings for examples. 
   Then we left her to it. She decided straight away to make make the cups two strong and then she started building. Almost immediately Button realised she needed to evenly space the 'columns', starting with four corners and then filling the space, before putting the tray on. When she was ready to stand on top, Mummy helped her up and then let go. Her face was a picture when she realised she had done it. 
    Daddy then tried to explain the process of weight distribution through the lintel and how the columns share the weight evenly. However, at this stage Button was more interested in 'what' she had done rather than 'how' it had worked.
 We then asked her to do a second layer and then stand on it again. She was even more amazed that it worked. This was such an easy activity to set up and do and was a lot of fun.

Polybius' checkerboard

Whilst studying the Greeks Button, Mummy and Daddy dipped into the Horrible Histories book, "Groovy Greeks" at various points through the month. One evening Daddy and Button came across Polybius' checkerboard and Button really bought into it. 

It is basically a code using a grid to turn letters into numbers:

 

So for the letter you want you rad the horizontal number first and then the vertical number. So a 'b' would be '1' horizontally and '2' vertically making it the number '12'.  So 54, 15, 43 would be 'yes'.

Button was so excited and grasped it so well that she decoded the whole example that they gave in the book. It was quite long so Daddy was very impressed that she stuck with it. 

If you fancy a go at decoding, try this coded message:

32, 45, 32, 32, 54 / 11, 33, 14 / 14, 11, 14, 14, 54 / 42, 34, 13, 25.

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