Athens and Sparta: Are they the same or different?

Subject: Social Studies

Lesson Length: 60 mins

Topic: Greek City-States

Grade Level: 6

Objective: Critical thinking, Informing


The Rise of Classical Societies

Brief Description: Students will identify the similarities and differences of Greek city-states: Sparta and Athens.

Know Before You Start: Students should have some understanding of the different city-states that developed throughout Ancient Greece; specifically Athens and Sparta.

Athens and Sparta: Are they the same or different? - Exemplar comic, panel 1 Athens and Sparta: Are they the same or different? - Exemplar comic, panel 2

Hook: Display the words: men, women, and kids. Brainstorm what daily life looks like for these 3 groups of people in America today. Which responses would not exist in Sparta or Athens? Which responses would only exist in either Sparta or Athens? Imagine and discuss what life must have been like during Ancient Greek times.

Activity: In pairs, students will create a 2 panel comic comparing one aspect of life in Athens or Sparta with their own life and experiences. Topics may include: government, gender roles, role of children etc.

  • Panel 1: Using the sample comic as a guide, depict one aspect of life in Athens or Sparta.
  • Panel 2: Illustrate how the depiction in Panel 1 compares to your current life. (Ex. I’m so glad we have the right to vote in our country.)

Closure: Have student pairs briefly present their comics to the class. Have the Athens comics go first, then the Sparta comics. As an exit ticket, have students decide which city-state they’d prefer to be a part of and why.


  • Allow students to use a Venn Diagram to compare life in Ancient Greek vs. present day. 
  • Provide visuals as needed.
  • Provide sentence frames as needed.
  • Allow students to work in small groups. 
  • Allow students to use speech-to-text feature as needed.


  • Comic for print or display: Comic 1
  • Teacher should ensure an even distribution between Athens and Sparta.
  • Teacher may assign city-state and perspective to student pairs.