Ancient Greece and the Peloponnesian WarA Workable Peace Curriculum


Students learn conflict resolution skills through the use of historical documents and a role play simulation, set in the context of the historical conflict among the Greek city-states before, during and after the Peloponnesian War.


One copy of a Teacher's Guide DVD will be included with your order. (Funded by the Roy A. Hunt Foundation and JAMS Foundation.)

Note: Purchase of the teacher’s manual for this Workable Peace Curriculum Unit includes a site license, which grants the user permission to reproduce its contents (including the role simulation instructions) for academic purposes at a single site, such as a school or organization. The individual role simulation for the Ancient Greece and the Peloponnesian War curriculum (entitled "The Athens-Melos Role Play") may be purchased on a per-participant basis by clicking here. If you have any questions about the scope of the site license, please contact Stacie Nicole Smith, Director of Workable Peace, at or 617.492.1414 ext. 124; or PON’s Director of Curriculum Development at 617.495.1684.

Ancient Greece and the Peloponnesian War

This unit examines the historical conflict among the Greek city-states before, during and after the Peloponnesian War. Students explore the relationships between Athens, Sparta and their allies—a relationship that culminated in war. Drawing from the Melian Dialogues of Thucydides, the Athens-Melos Role Play simulates the historical negotiations between the city-states of Athens and Melos during the seven-year interlude of peace in the middle of the Peloponnesian War, when an Athenian fleet arrived to demand that Melos—which was independent but culturally connected to Sparta—join the Delian League, a coalition of Greek city-states led by Athens.

Overview of Workable Peace

Workable Peace is an innovative high school humanities curriculum and professional development project for secondary school classrooms. Using new teaching materials and strategies, Workable Peace integrates the study of intergroup conflict and the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and perspective-taking skills into social studies and humanities content. It gives teachers academically rigorous tools for teaching the major themes and key events of history in ways that enliven the imagination, awaken moral reasoning, and impart social and civic skills that students can use throughout their lives.

By inviting students to examine history and current events from multiple perspectives, Workable Peace develops students’ abilities to understand the underlying sources of intergroup conflict, and allows them to practice skills for resolving conflicts without violence. Workable Peace integrates the study of intergroup conflict with core social studies and humanities subjects, and helps students understand and make connections between conflicts around the world, in the U.S., and in their own schools and communities. In these ways, Workable Peace makes the teaching and learning experience more creative, productive, and meaningful.

A team from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education evaluated the Workable Peace curriculum and found significant improvements in students’ tolerance for difference points of view, understanding of conflicts and strategies for resolving them, and listening and perspective-taking skills. In addition, students demonstrated deeper understanding of the historical content they were studying, and a stronger ability to connect this with other historical conflicts, and conflicts in their own lives.

The Workable Peace curriculum reflects core concepts and key content areas in the Curriculum Standards for Social Studies of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and similar state standards. It is designed to be integrated into secondary school social studies and humanities classes. It can also be used in after-school or out-of-school settings.

Each curriculum unit contains five sections (each with a detailed Teacher’s Guide):

  1. an analytical framework that teaches the sources of intergroup conflict and conflict management strategies;
  2. introductory activities to teach conflict analysis, using historical events and primary source documents;
  3. an in-depth role play that challenges participants to voice their group’s needs, understand the needs of others, and seek ways to meet their goals through negotiation with representatives of other groups;
  4. additional resources, including an annotated bibliography of additional information on the issues in the role play, as well as civic learning activities that apply the conflict resolution skills to parallel issues in students’ lives; and
  5. additional negotiation and mediation skill-building activities.


To order at the highly reduced K-12 rate, please provide (in the "Comments" box in the online check-out process) the name and address of the K-12 institution, the name of the teacher who will be using the curriculum, and the name of the course in which the curriculum will be used.