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Murray Journal

Greeks, Romans Come Alive at Liberty Elementary’s Museum

Dec 08, 2015 08:43AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama

Murray - Liberty sixth grader Rylee Smith had never heard of Aristotle before she was assigned to learn about him as part of the sixth grade in early October.  

Rylee teamed up with classmates Esperanza Ceja and Alysia Shaffer and researched Aristotle, wrote a poem and created artifacts to present at the Oct. 29 Greek and Roman museum.  

“I learned he is a guy who is really dedicated to the scientific method,” Rylee said.

Esperanza said that he also is a philosopher.

“When things happened, he explained why they had happened,” she said.

Alysia said that through studying Aristotle and other famous Greeks and Romans, she learned how they helped develop today’s thinking.

“Leaning what they did and how they did it, really changed the world,” she said.  “If Aristotle didn’t create the scientific method as we know it, we wouldn’t be practicing it.  If others didn’t create roads, the alphabet and theaters, we wouldn’t know them or use them as we do.”

Teacher Judy Mahoskey said that through this unit, they are learning about the religion, geography, history, culture and power that all impacted society.  They also are practicing written and oral communication skills and making connections between all the disciplines.

“Even though it all happened a long time ago, it impacts us today,” she said.  “In ancient Rome, the architecture was well developed — the roads, aqueducts, arches.  Astronomy, surgical tools, kites, highways, the alphabet, the calendar: all were influenced by ancient Greeks and Romans. Even the train of thought, such as Aristotle realizing that disease isn’t a punishment from God, but rather it comes from our environment made breakthroughs on lives then as well as now.”

The culminating project allows students, dressed in sheets to represent togas, to present their findings, a poem and a homemade artifact to other schoolmates and teachers at their museum.  

Fourth grader Luisa Valladolid attended the museum with her class.

“I really like how the students put it together,” she said.  “You can tell they studied their material a long time and had to prepare so much.  I’ve learned so much about the Greeks and Romans.”

Mahoskey, who said it’s the unit she teaches them with the most facts, said it’s one the students enjoy.

“The kids know all the facts and they need to be able to fully understand their person to write a poem.  But the highlight for many of them is when they challenge parents — and usually beat them — to a Jeopardy game of Roman and Greek history,” Mahoskey said.

Sixth grader Abby Curtis shared with other students that Julius Caesar was a philosopher, served in the military, married Cleopatra and took over the whole country as dictator.

“When you serve in the military, they were given an honor of laurel leaves,” Abby said, sporting her own leafed crown.  “He wore them as a sign of being in charge and wanting to be respected.”

Abby made the crown as well as a staff, which was a long, spray-painted pole with a Styrofoam ball with foam pieces attached.  The final touch was to wrap leather around the handle with hot glue.

“It was really fun to make the staff and crown,” she said.

Sixth grader Mitch Buist spent hours making a wolf out of boxes and cartons, duct taped it together, then painted the project.  He teamed up with Ian Harding to explain how the wolf rescued Romulus and Remus when they were abandoned by their family.  

“Romulus eventually killed his brother and took over Rome as the king, though,” Ian said.

Fourth-grade teacher Toni Wilkins said that she enjoys seeing the artifacts students make.

“It’s really fun to see how creative they can be with common, everyday items,” she said.  “It’s also a great opportunity for fourth graders to get a feel of what’s coming up for them in sixth grade and get excited about learning the Greeks and Romans.”

At the museum, students Madison Lundquist and Safiya Ashworth shared a message of author Tertullian: “The first reaction to truth is hatred.”  

“I learned so much about how the Greeks and Romans lived, died, what their story is, their impacts of society and culture from history to architecture and how it affects us,” Safiya said.  “It’s really been fun learning about them.”