For this lesson I am going to divide the class into half. The two sides will be labeled Athens or Sparta. The two groups will then be responsible for learning and becoming experts on that city-state. I explain that a city-state is like a state is to us. That it has their own rules and practices that are unique and some that are similar to others. I model this using California and Arizona. We talk about how some rules are the same, but California would worry more about coastlines and we would be concerned with water usage.
I explain how the two groups will read and work together in order to each the other half of the class. The groups will need to read about their city-state. They need to make notes and use annotations to be ready to present. They need to makes sure that all the group members understand the facts and can answer questions when needed.
I used the following free passages on Sparta and Athens from Teachers Pay Teachers. The readings are a bit more difficult but if they work together and with me monitoring their reading they will be able to comprehend it.
Once the groups have read and have made notes, they will be ready to present. I draw a large Venn Diagram onto the white board and have students draw their own onto a sheet of a paper. I have them do this from their chairs and a few students will come to the board to write into the Venn Diagram. I tell the class to not fill in their chart until the one we create is discussed and that we all degree upon it.
Students will share the key details of what they read. We will fill in the chart as we go. The discussion gets interesting fast, students from the other group begin to exclaim that they also have that is their reading. You can go two ways here, allow the other group to interrupt here or to ask them to wait. I have them wait so that they have the opportunity to teach too.
Once that group has presented I have the other group present. I again have a couple of students come up and fill in their side of the Venn diagram.
We have a basic Venn Diagram and now we need to discuss as a class if we need to change anything. As we discuss this, I move or add details based on the conversation. I pretty much act like Vanna White following their lead. I only add to the conversation, but do not tell them answers.
When the class begins to settle and there is not as much discussion, I then prompt their thinking. This prompting is directed around the articles to start. To teach them more about the two city-states, I then use the Venn Diagram. Students will fill in their diagram as I talk, or they can wait until after. I go through the points on the diagram and add more information and details to each piece. Students interests are peaked because they now have a base to connect to.