Ancient Athens is often called the birthplace of democracy. With three branches of government and elected officials, it bore significant similarities to modern democracies. However, only twelve percent of Athens's populace was allowed to vote, and civic involvement was much more participatory. In this Structured Academic Controversy (SAC), students consider whether or not ancient Athens was truly democratic.

Image: Photograph of the Acropolis from the Pnyx taken in 1967 by Roger Wollstadt. From Flickr.


Do you mind sharing how you modified this lesson that got you the results you wanted or hoped for?
Overall the primary source documents and secondary source selections were great. I would like to see more of Plato's or Aristotle's views on Athenian democracy. My students struggled with the strengths and weaknesses questions of the Guiding Questions.
I just used these documents in my 10th grade Honors World History class and will definitely use them again next year. I modified the activity slightly and the result was fantastic. The students really got into the activity with lively discussions. I heard some very good questions being raised within the groups, such as the role of slavery and equality in a democracy. The one thing I will do differently in the future is to give them the reading as homework so that we can have more time for sharing out at the end.
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