Sixth-grade classes at Lincoln Academy spent the last two weeks of school studying ancient Greece and letting their creative juices flow.
Students in the Very Strong Needs gifted classes and Accelerated Integration of Middle Math classes created Facebook pages, wrote songs, developed a magazine and sewed costumes for a Greek fashion show.
“At this point in the year, the kids are tired after EOGs, and they need a unit to energize their curiosity,” said math teacher Angela Dalton. “We planned ahead for this by writing a grant back in November to cover the cost of materials.”
Dalton, along with reading teacher Penny Martin, science teacher Seema Anand and social studies teacher Damian Eastwell, received a $700 grant from the Guilford County Schools Enrichment Fund.
Dalton created the Greek mythology unit and taught many of the activities last summer during the Formative Learning Experience gifted camp at Elon University. Martin and Dalton made presentations at the North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented conference.
“We chose Greek mythology as the core subject for our classes because it intrigues young scholars,” Dalton said. “Greek mythology is a subject that is revisited throughout students’ educational experiences and is interdisciplinary.”
The lesson incorporated literacy, math, social studies, science and the arts.
Students analyzed Greek mythology characters through literature, explored the history of the planets and constellations and more.
“Students learned how in earlier times Greeks were predominant in their knowledge about the earth, universe, constellations and the planets,” Anand said.
One of their most daunting but fun tasks was designing and sewing their own 21st-century mythology character costumes and creating masks after researching the influence of Greek and Roman designs on fashion from past to present.
Students learned to sketch designs of their costumes using ratio and proportional reasoning, and then used those sketches to sew. The costumes were created with no patterns.
For most students, the task also involved learning how to use a sewing machine.
“Some were learning for the first time,” Dalton said. “We spent time learning about the parts of the sewing machine and their use.”
Parent volunteers helped.
“Our biggest challenge was the outdated and unserviced sewing machines loaned to us from the home-skills department,” Dalton said. “We had a lot of breakdowns, which challenged us with our time to complete products.”
To round out the project, students chose a genre of 21st-century music and created lyrics to their songs based on their characters.
The songs were played during the fashion show the last week of school.
Using pbworks.com, students also created a Facebook page for their character, and the pages were shown during the show.
“The students often surprised me with the approach they took, and in a very limited time created something unique and impressive,” said social studies teacher Damian Eastwell.
Dalton said student continually told her how much fun they had the last few days of school and how they would never forget the experience.
“It makes me want to cry because our kids deserve this every day, but with time restraints and limited funding, teachers can only do so much,” Dalton said.
“I hope that students take away with them an experience that helped nurture their creativity and desire to explore new ideas.”
Contact Jennifer Atkins Brown at (336) 574-5582.