Sunday, June 25, 2017

DIY Spartan Armor from Duct Tape, Paper Bags, and Cardboard

We've been studying the city-states of Ancient Greece, and while I agree more with Athens, come on. Who doesn't actually love Sparta the best?

Well, I should really call it Λακεδαίμων,  because I'm trying to get my Greek phonics up to speed, but Sparta is what we've learned to call it, so let's go with that.

The kids and I read and studied the chapters in Story of the World volume 1 about Athens vs. Sparta and the Greco-Persian Wars. I'm hoping to get through the Peloponnesian War next week. Story of the World isn't a complete curriculum for the older child, of course, but it is an excellent spine, easy to look at and say, "Okay, this chapter is the Greco-Persian Wars, so let me find some more great resources and activities to give that more depth and context."

We found some websites and online videos--

--and read and watched some resources from the library--

While Syd was away at a slumber party, Matt and I even ordered pizza and let Will watch 300 with us. It's VERY violent, but the military reenactments are okay--you can see what a phalanx is, although in your head you have to imagine the soldiers as more rangy than ripped. We showed Syd just the iconic "This is Sparta!" scene, because it's in Story of the World, as well.

Our big project for this unit, however, was to make some Spartan armor. I saved some large pieces of cardboard from the box that my new treadmill (yay!) came in, and bought some gold duct tape. To that we added brown paper bags from the grocery store, a couple of Sharpies, scissors, and gold paint.

For the helmet, we followed the suggestions from this tutorial, using gold duct tape to make the helmet bronze, though, and of course my older kids were able to cut out their own helmets themselves:

I showed the kids (yet again, sigh...) how to use string and a pushpin to make a compass for circle drawing, and then the kids made their shields out of cardboard--shields three feet in diameter!!!

The most authentic Spartan shield embellishment would be a giant lambda, but even the Spartans at one point got to design their own shield embellishments, so those hand-me down shields would still have been seen at any battle, and why on earth would I deprive my younger child of the chance to fight with a unicorn on her shield?

We also didn't put on the horsehair crest--it was in vogue for a while, but not always, and the kids didn't really want to add anything else to their helmets.

Besides, don't you think that Syd is fierce enough without it?

We'll be too far north on our travels to see the location of Ancient Sparta, but we ARE going to drive right through modern Thermopylae!

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