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Students learn conflict resolution skills through the use of historical documents and a role play simulation, set in the context of the historical conflict among the Greek city-states before, during and after the Peloponnesian War.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


Ancient Greece and the Peloponnesian WarA Workable Peace Curriculum Attributes

The Consensus Building Institute and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
Cambridge, MA: PON Books (2008)

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.