We have found the inclusion of a lesson on the 7 ancient wonders to be most helpful. By the time the kids get to ancient Greece, they have studied 3 ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Some have lost their focus.
By the time we get to our unit on ancient Greece, often our kids have forgotten Mesopotamia, and sometimes even ancient Egypt. To fix this, during our study of ancient Greece, we use a lesson (or two if needed) on the 7 ancient wonders to bring them back into focus on civilizations around the Mediterranean. We get out the maps, and remember where ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt are located. We emphasis that the Greeks the 7 ancient wonders, and that they were limited to the world they knew, that being the world around the Mediterranean. We touch on why the Greeks might select the Statue of Zeus at Olympia as a must see tourist attraction. (Zeus of course is the king of all the Greek gods and Olympia is the home of the ancient Greek Olympics.) We bring in the personality of the Greeks themselves compared to other cultures we have studied. We ask our kids to select a wonder from those the Greeks might have seen that is not on Philo's list and justify its inclusion. This lesson starts with classroom discussion and then breaks into small groups.
On the other hand, if our class is beginning to think the only early civilizations were around the Mediterranean, we use a lesson on the 7 ancient wonders to open up the world, by asking our students to research and select an 8th wonder from all the ancient cultures, including those they have not yet studied. We ask them to justify why the Greeks would have included such a wonder had they known it existed. Use an example, like Stonehenge. Would the ancient Greeks have selected a bunch of rocks to be a wonder? Probably not, unless they were man-made, arranged in a beautiful pattern, and covered with ornate art. The Greeks loved beauty. This lesson starts with the personality of the ancient Greeks, and then breaks into small groups.
New teachers: Set a time period - I use any structure built in BCE times. Set your rules - preface presentations with a quick statement on courtesy.
Here are some other approaches to a quick study of the 7 ancient wonders. We hope you find them useful.