Looking Back: Ancient Greece – Minoans

I’m doing a series called looking back, documenting learning the children and I did together prior to me blogging.  This week I’ll be going back 2 years to when we studied the ancient Greeks, beginning with the Minoans (the girls were 8 and T11 was 9).  I loved teaching about the Minoans.  They seemed to have been such a colourful people, who whilst included in Greek study, were essentially a race of their own.  Our book list was as follows:


The Usbourne book has a particularly readable section on the Minoans, with lots of colourful pictures.

We found Greece on the world map and then found Crete (where the Minoans lived) and coloured that in on an Ancient Greek map:


We looked at the whole of Greece in the Ancient world and where Crete was situated compared with other countries we studied and looked at a list of important dates in the history of the Ancient Greeks:

DSC_0567I had the children read through the books and write a short paragraph on the Minoans:

DSC_0569They make note pages for everything they learnt: the Minoans and farming, language, writing, dress and trading with the rest of the world:


We cut out some Minoan dolls to show how they dressed:


And made a note page by decorating an envelope and sticking it on a sheet of paper, thus keeping our dolls safe!


I photocopied a map of the Palace of Knossos and we did some work about Arthur Evans, the man who excavated it:


I also researched some photos of frescos of boats from the palace and decorated jars from Knossos but found in surrounding countries and asked the children what this primary evidence told them about the sea-faring abilities and trading prowess of the Minoans.  They made up a note page to show their answers:


Then we did lots of art study.  First up was a fresco of bull leaping:

I used a meat tray to make up plaster slabs and had the children try to replicate the bull leaping:

Birdworld 014Birdworld 018

We also looked at the beautiful dolphin fresco, one of my most favourite pieces of art ever:

As the children had already done the frescos of the bull leaping, I had the children try to copy the dolphin fresco using a new to them medium of watercolour pencils.  They drew and coloured in their copy of the dolphins and then ran a wet paint brush over the coloured pencil marks.  This turns then into paints.  I thought the results were just lovely!  I pasted a picture of the original fresco in the right hand corner for reference:

T (9 at the time)
T (9 at the time)
C (who was 8 at the time)
C (who was 8 at the time)
L (who was 9 at the time)
L (who was 8 at the time)

We had a lovely time!  Mycenaeans next!

Further resources:


http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/greeks/minoan_01.shtml (fall)


Click on the picture for a documentary on the Minoans:


  1. I just LOVE your way of “scrapbooking”. So detailed. So interesting. Such an inspiration to others. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It was fun scrolling through this post because we recently studied the Minoans. I actually knew what the pictures were about before reading. Homeschooling is teaching me so much about history!

    1. Whilst you over here I was at your blog trying to get my head around molecular structure!! I think, after taking chemistry at A level and somehow passing with no clue about chemistry, I actually understand!!

  3. Love this post it will be so helpful to me once we get to Ancient Greece, thank you for taking the time to go back over your years and post about them 🙂

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