let the games begin!
Members of the ancient Greek city-states of Athens, Sparta, Megara, Corinth and Argos squared up at yellow barricade tape to take their throw. Each competitor had a hand at his or her shoulder, poised to push their shot as far as possible. A line of spectators wearing festive chitons—sporting pink hearts to green stripes—stood a few feet away. They carefully analyzed the competitors’ technique while cheering. It would be their turn soon!
Team Galaxy’s version of the Olympic Games celebrated the completion of the sixth-graders' social studies unit on Ancient Greece.
Reenacting a highlight of Ancient Greek Civilization
extraordinary feats of athletic endeavor
Olympic Games were the sporting, social and cultural highlight of the ancient Greek calendar. They lasted a full five days by the fifth century B.C.E. but at John Jay Middle School they were staged over one morning. Events included the shot put . . . with pom-poms, the javelin . . . with straws, the discus . . . with paper plates, and finally the relay race . . . with an egg on a spoon.
As with the ancients, the games were officiated by Zeus—Jesse Weiss—wearing a kingly crown, and Hera—Christine Watroba—holding a pint-sized torch.
“The children learned to work cooperatively on a daily basis in order to earn drachma for their city-state,” said Watroba. “From wearing their chitons and helping each other take notes to participating in a Quiz Bowl and performing ancient Greek tragedies for their peers, students had fun and became well versed in another ancient culture. We hope that the students realized that it is not the triumph but the struggle to persevere that is important to be successful in life.”