Lesson Plan

Anicent Greece

Olympics
Jake S.
Classroom teacher
Cabell Midland High School (Ona, WV)
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My Grades 9
My Subjects Social Studies
Objectives

•Students will become familiar with ancient Greek attitudes towards sport. •Students will be able to describe the distinctive features of the philosophical approaches known as virtue ethics, deontology, and utilitarianism. •Students will become familiar with the contributions of Aristotle and Plato to the construction of virtue ethics. •Students will be able to describe how cultural attitudes towards winning and losing reflect broader philosophical currents. •Students will be able to respond critically to the thesis that "the goal of sport in education hasn't changed in 2,500 year."

Subjects
Social Studies
Grades 9
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Other — Watching

Students will watch a small Olympics montage video via youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0lT9dw90lc&safe=active

2 Direct Instruction

•Students will become familiar with ancient Greek attitudes towards sport. •Students will be able to describe the distinctive features of the philosophical approaches known as virtue ethics, deontology, and utilitarianism. •Students will become familiar with the contributions of Aristotle and Plato to the construction of virtue ethics. •Students will be able to describe how cultural attitudes towards winning and losing reflect broader philosophical currents. •Students will be able to respond critically to the thesis that "the goal of sport in education hasn't changed in 2,500 year."

3 Guided Practice

Activity 1. Warm Up Begin the lesson by asking students to share their views on the institution of high school sports. Discuss: •Why do you think that almost every high school in America has an athletic program? •What is the best rationale for including sports in a high school education? •How would you summarize the goal of a high school sports program? Take note and make a list of the specific values that students most readily associate with high school sports. Do students emphasize the educational value of physical fitness and exercise? School spirit and pride? Teamwork and camaraderie? Sportsmanship and fair play? Hard work and discipline? Determination and competitiveness? Try to get a sense of which values students deem most central to the success of a high school sports program. Are there any students who believe that high school athletics do not effectively serve a real educational purpose? What are some of the non-educational functions that high school sports might perform for the school and local community? Entertainment? An opportunity to socialize? An outlet for physical aggression or hyper-competitiveness? Something to keep students occupied after school? II.•To what extent do high school athletes and coaches consider winning to be the primary goal of the sports program in which they participate? •What do coaches, teachers, and administrators teach high school athletes about the value of winning? •To what extent is winning a legitimate way to describe the goal of high school sports? Finally, have students comment on some of the well-known maxims that may have shaped their attitudes towards winning and losing. Specifically, call your students' attention to the two often-cited quotations below: 1."If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?" Attributed to Vince Lombardi, coach of the Green Bay Packers, 1959-1967. 2."The important thing in life is not victory but combat; it is not to have vanquished but to have fought well." Attributed to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympic games. Discuss: Which one of the above two quotations has had a greater influence on students' perspective on the importance of winning at sports? 3.Activity 2. The ancient Greek connection Distribute copies of Heather L. Reid's article, "Sport, Education, and the Meaning of Victory," a link from the EDSITEment-reviewed EpistemeLinks. Tell students that the paper was presented at a conference of philosophers, and that Reid's argument focuses on the connection between sports programs at modern educational institutions and ancient Greek philosophy. Instruct students to carefully read and annotate Reid's article and then to complete the attached Arguments and Evidence Worksheet. The worksheet requires students to complete an outline of the article by identifying Reid's thesis and filling in the blanks with evidence and examples from Reid's essay. The worksheet's outline should help students follow the logical flow of Reid's arguments. The worksheet also includes a "Key Definitions" section to help students keep track of the technical terms that Reid uses. Activity 3. Reid's Arguments: An Initial Appraisal Once students have completed the Arguments and Evidence Worksheet, they can discuss their initial impressions of Reid's central claim. Recall that her thesis is that "the real goal of sport in education hasn't changed in 2,500 years; it is the cultivation of aretê, human excellence." Invite students to evaluate the assumptions and premises that enable Reid to reach this conclusion.

4 Independent Practice

Ask students to imagine that they have read the following news item in their local paper: In response to a budget crisis, the School Board is prepared to vote to save money by dramatically curtailing the athletic program in the high schools. The Board has not yet decided which or how many sports will be cut. The Board is also considering a proposal to cut the budget for high school programs in foreign languages or music. A spokesperson for the Board has said that before the vote on this issue, the Board members hope to receive input from the general public.Instruct students to draft a letter to the School Board addressing the proposed cut to the sports budget. Where applicable, students should cite the arguments made by Reid in "Sport, Education, and the Meaning of Victory." Students should state what they believe to be the goals of high school athletic programs and should discuss the relevance of those goals to the educational mission of high schools. Students should engage the arguments discussed in this lesson to explain why athletics is more or less central to education than foreign languages or music. Finally, students should suggest which sports should be eliminated from the athletic program first and which should be retained for their educational value.

5 Wrap-Up

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Students will use notability to answer the prompt above in the independent practice.