Classroom Showcase for Classroom Greek History Projects

Showcase of Classroom Projects


Hollow Hills Elementary

Classroom Projects Showcase
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Kate Hovey with one of her masks

Author Kate Hovey with mask of Aphrodite.




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Classroom Showcase Projects


Greek Kylix Project
Print Version [PDF] Size: 149kb
View Applicable Ca Standards

Greek Amphora Project
Print Version [PDF] Size: 24kb
View Applicable Ca Standards

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[Author: Kate Hovey]  

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"The Art of the Mask"
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Part One
[9 min]
Part Two
[10 min]
Part Three
[10 min]

Greek Kylix Project

sixth grade students learn kylix use in ancient Greece
[larger image]

Stacks of finished kylices made by sixth grade students at Hollow Hills Elementary in Simi Valley, California.

(Estimated time: Two Class Sessions)

1. Prepared (wedged) clay (both slabs and precut circles for the base)
2. Mold for stemless kylix (see note)
3. Brushes/sponges and water
4. Glazes-orange and black only
5. Implements for trimming the clay slab and scoring the handles
6. Access to kiln for firing

Note on Molds:
The kylix was an elegant, stemmed drinking cup used widely in ancient Greece. The stemless version reproduced here resembles a shallow bowl with handles. "We used wooden bowls purchased through a restaurant supply store for this project," says sixth grade educator Caroline Hardeman. "They are approximately ten inches in diameter and are pre-sprayed with nonstick cooking spray to prevent any clay from adhering to the bowl."

sixth grade students learn kylix use in ancient Greece

Hollow Hills Elementary School educator Caroline Hardeman explains to her sixth grade students how the kylix was used in ancient Greece. An elegant drinking cup in which a mixture of wine and water was served, the kylix was a popular vessel at Greek parties, called "symposia."

Session I-
Forming the Kylix
Roll wedged clay into 14" x 14" slabs approximately 1" in thickness, taking care to remove any air bubbles. Precut 3" circles from extra slabs of clay to form the bases.

Gently lay each slab over a prepared bowl/mold and press the clay around the bowl to create the shape. The excess clay should be carefully trimmed away and the edges smoothed with a slightly damp sponge.

Put some extra clay in a small amount of water and mix together until it reaches a thick, soup-like consistency. Called "slip," this mixture will be used as a glue to attach handles and bases to the unfired vessels.

Roll palm-sized amounts of clay into balls and flatten them slightly on a table. Pressing down with the fingers of both hands, roll the flattened balls back and forth until they begin to resemble long, thin, snakes. Continue rolling until each snake-like "coil" is the width of a small finger. Cut the coils into 6" lengths, form each piece into the desired handle shape and allow to dry. Attach handles to the sides of each kylix using a scoring implement and slip. Do the same with the base.

Allow to dry for at least 48 hours. Remove all the vessels from their molds and check for cracks before replacing them for further drying. Drying times vary, but there is no rush. "Due mainly to scheduling, we may wait two weeks between forming the bowls and glazing them," says Caroline. Once they are thoroughly dry, they are loaded into a kiln and fired before any glaze is applied.

Session II-Glazing
Sponge the entire kylix with a thin coat of water. Using brushes of varying sizes, apply black and orange glaze. After the base coat has dried, take a small brush and outline the chosen design on the interior of each kylix. "Students were allowed to choose either red or black figure pottery as their model and had pre-sketched their designs on paper plates," says Caroline. After glaze is applied, the vessels are loaded back into the kiln for a second firing.

sixth grade students learn kylix use in ancient Greece
[larger image]                   [larger image]

The almost flat surface on the interior base of the kylix, called the tondo, was the main surface decorated in the traditional painting styles of the fifth and sixth centuries B.C. Since each picture would be covered with wine, the scenes could only be viewed as the wine was drained, surprising the drinker as they were revealed.


Greek Amphora Project

(Estimated time: Two Class Sessions)

1. A roll of natural-colored bulletin board paper
(brown mailing paper may also be used, or
pieces cut from grocery-weight paper bags)
2. Tempera craft paint: orange, yellow, brown and black
3. Brushes
4. Fine point and ultra-fine point black Sharpie markers
5. Implements for trimming the clay slab and scoring the handles
6. Template of Greek Amphora (see note)

Note on templates:
Many styles of ancient Greek urns can be found online and copied free of charge. Sixth grade educator Holly Dye chose the amphora for this project because of its historical significance and visual impact. "I shared with the class the actual size of the amphora, which would be close to a slightly younger child's height," Holly explains. "A vessel of this type would be filled olive oil--the liquid gold of our time. It was the top prize for winning an Olympic event."

Session I-
Cutting Out and Painting Templates
After cutting out the templates, mix a small amount of orange into the yellow tempera and paint half of each vase vertically-this, the lightest color, is painted first, representing the way natural light would strike the amphora.

Mix a small amount of brown into the orange tempera and apply vertically to the urn's mid section, taking care to "feather" the darker color into the lighter orange-yellow section. Feathering is a technique that uses a dry brush (stroking left to right) to blend darker painted areas into lighter ones.

Add more brown tempera to the second mixture and paint the last vertical third of the urn, taking care to blend the darker color into the urn's mid-section, using the feathering technique. No lines of color should be visible if the feathering technique is correctly used. The final color mixture can also be dry-brushed over random sections of the amphora to give it an aged appearance.

sixth grade students make amphorae templates from the ancient Greece era

Templates for Greek amphorae have been cut out and painted by sixth grade students at Hollow Hills Elementary in Simi Valley, California. After the templates are dry, students will add decorations imitating classical Greek vase painting styles.

To diminish curling, either press the dried templates between books or iron them without steam on the unpainted side. Note that heavier paper curls less-something to keep in mind when selecting your materials.

Session II-Adding Decorative Elements
Use an ultra-fine Sharpie marker to outline the chosen design, then fill in as needed with a thicker marker. Authentic designs can be selected from online resources (for example, typing the keywords "Greek Black Figure Vase Painting" and selecting Google Images), or students can make up their own designs based on a favorite Greek myth.

Finished Black Figure style Greek amphora template

Finished Greek amphora template finished in the early 7th Century B.C. Black Figure style.

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