Persian War Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson will help your students understand the tactics used in the Persian War. Students will watch a video lesson, participate in group activities, and take a short quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the historical significance of the Persian War
  • explain the reasons behind the war
  • identify the geographic locations of major battles
  • summarize tactics and outcomes of battles


This lesson will take 45-90 minutes. The optional extension activity can take up to an additional 60 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

Materials Needed

  • World Map
  • Map of Greece


  • historian
  • horde
  • phalanx
  • propaganda


  • Ask students how historians learn about events that happened thousands of years ago. Write their ideas on the board.
  • Watch the video lesson Birth of History: Herodotus' Persian War as a class. Pause at 1:56.
  • Discuss Herodutus. Create a T-chart that differentiates the artifacts that are useful to historians from those that are not.
  • Continue watching the video. Pause at 6:18.
  • Show students a map that includes Persia, Athens, and Marathon. Discuss the geography and psychology behind the surprise victory of the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon.
  • Continue watching the video. Pause at 7:08.
  • Compare Xerxes battle tactics to those of Darius the Great.
  • Watch the remainder of the video.
  • Discuss the tactics used in the Battle of Salamis, as well as the influence this battle had on Grecians.
  • Use the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.

Group Work

Divide the students into three groups.

  • Group 1: Battle of Marathon
  • Group 2: Battle of Thermopylae
  • Group 3: Battle of Salamis

Have each group complete the following steps based on their assigned battle:

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