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Yelena Shuster

12th Grade World History

28 minutes
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Governance in the Roman Republic (primary document based lesson Part 1)
For hundreds of years, people have drawn connections between the political systems of
the Roman Republic and the United States. In particular, they've pointed to both
governments' systems of checks and balances and elections of representatives. Yet
historians continue to debate whether the Roman Republic can accurately be called a
democracy. In this lesson, students investigate the question: How democratic was the
Roman Republic?
Enduring Understanding:
Students will learn about the beginnings of democratic governance two and a half
thousand years ago. They will hone their definition of democracy by evaluating the extent
to which the Roman Republic was a democracy and reflect on the ways in which the
Roman Republic may have impacted governance in the U.S. two thousand years later.
Goals and Objectives:
Students will evaluate primary and secondary sources to answer the central historical
Students will examine each sources credibility.
Standards (Correlation with PA Core):
CC.8.5.9-10.I. Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and
secondary sources.
CC.8.5.11-12.A.Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and
secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding
of the text as a whole.
CC.8.5.11-12.C.Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which
explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves
matters uncertain.
CC.8.5.11-12.E.Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including
how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
CC.8.5.11-12.F.Evaluate authors differing points of view on the same historical event or
issue by assessing the authors claims, reasoning, and evidence.
PowerPoint presentation from Stanfords Reading Like a Historian
Document A
o Paton, W. R. "Polybius: The Histories. 6 vols." LCL. Cambridge, Mass., and
London (1927).
Document B
o Millar, Fergus. "The Crowd in the Late Republic." Ann Arbor, Thomas Spencer
Jerome Lectures (1998).

Document C
o Ward, Allen M. "How Democratic Was the Roman Republic?." New England
Classical Journal 31.2 (2004): 101-19.
Graphic organizers for Documents A, B, and C from Stanfords Reading Like a Historian
Final Conclusion writing assignment sheet, also from Stanfords Reading Like a

Use PowerPoint to establish a definition of democracy, review basic background
information about the Roman Republic, and introduce the Central Historical Question.
Body of the Lesson:
Tell students that they are going to investigate the question of how democratic the Roman
Republic was by looking at a primary source.
o Hand out Document A: Polybius
o In pairs, students will read Document A and complete the Guiding Questions.
o After 10 minutes, students will share out responses as a whole class.
End the lesson with a summation of what we have learned from each of the three
documents and how they might have contradicted or supported each other.
Ask students about the benefits and limitations of using primary sources.
Accommodations/ Intervention / Enrichment:
Students with a documented need through an IEP and or 504-service agreement will be given the
accommodations necessary for them to complete this assignment. This includes, but is not
limited to access to less complex, yet parallel readings, preferential seating and extended time.
ELL students will been given additional time to read the articles using their translators as needed.
Additionally, I will circulate throughout the room assessing student progress and ensuring that all
students have a thorough understanding of the assignment and expectations.
Summative Assessment/Evaluation: During the lesson I will note who is reading and
discussing the documents, who is filling out the graphic organizers, and who is participating in
the whole class discussion.