This exploration is for high school only, as the colored smiley shows. You can learn about the ancient Greek philosophers with your older teens!
Your high school student can read independently while you are working on another exploration or reading with your younger kids. Then watch the recommended videos with your teens so you can have a discussion about the ideas of these philosophers together.
The ancient Greek Philosophers notebooking page is a history exploration that pairs with Layers of Learning Unit 1-4 about Ancient Greece. Layers of Learning has engaging printables in every unit of this family-friendly curriculum. Learn more about Layers of Learning.
The “big three” ancient Greek philosophers were Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Socrates taught Plato who taught Aristotle. All three philosophers are important not just because they were the first to think the things they did, but also because their ideas are still influencing us today.
Step 1: Library Research
Before you begin exploring, read a book or two about Greek philosophy. Here are some suggestions, but if you can’t find these, look for books at your library about Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, or Greek philosophy. The colored smilies above each book tell you what age level they’re recommended for.
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Greek Philosophers: the Lives and Times of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
by Simon T. Bailey
Step 2: Ancient Greek Philosophers Notebooking Page
You will need the printable Ancient Greek Philosophers notebooking page, a sheet of colored paper, glue, and scissors, plus a pen to write your thoughts down.
First, watch a video about each of the Big Three philosophers.
Cut out the Greek philosophers and their temple then cut between the philosophers so that you can create flaps. Glue the pediment (triangle at the top) to another sheet of paper or into your notebook.
Step 3: Show What You Know
Show what you’ve learned about the Greek philosophers by writing under each flap. Record your thoughts about the ideas each of these philosophers contributed to human understanding. Can you find ways these ideas have influenced and shaped modern ideas?
Additional Layers are extra activities you can do or tangents you can take off on. You will find them in the sidebars of each Layers of Learning unit. They are optional, so just choose what interests you.
Chose one of the philosophies presented in the videos and discuss it. If you were to implement this philosophy in real life, how would it work?
There were many more Greek philosophers and you will probably come across some in your reading about ancient Greece. Add another page to your notebook to write down their names and their accomplishments. Put them on a timeline of you want to keep track of when they lived.
The first person to call himself a “philosopher” didn’t make the cut as one of the big three, but he was important and worth a mention nonetheless. His name was Pythagoras. You might remember him from math class. He’s the one who came up with the Pythagorean Theorem having to do with triangles. You know, a2 + b2 = c2.
Learn more about Pythagoras, who did a whole lot more than study triangles.
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