Sophocles Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Who was Sophocles and what lasting mark did he leave on modern culture? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to outline pivotal facts about Sophocles' life and work while an activity connects students with his work.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize the life and influence of Sophocles
  • outline key events in the life of Sophocles
  • list examples of plays by Sophocles


1.5 to 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


  • Paper copies of the text lesson Sophocles: Biography & Plays, one for each student
  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated text lesson
  • Assorted photocopied excerpts from the plays of Sophocles


  • Begin by asking the students to write a sentence on their own papers explaining who Sophocles was.
  • Give the students time to share their responses with the class as you write key ideas on the board.
  • Pass out the Sophocles: Biography & Plays text.
  • Have the students take turns reading aloud a few lines each from the introduction and the 'His Early Life' section.
    • How did we do with our sentences about Sophocles?
    • Did anyone mention that he was a playwright?
  • Now have the class take turns reading aloud the remainder of the text lesson.
    • Was anyone aware that Sophocles was a general?
    • How did Sophocles' introduction of the third character change playwriting forever?
    • What was Sophocles' greatest contribution to society?
    • What is Sophocles' lasting legacy?
  • Pass out the worksheet and have students work independently to complete.
  • Review the worksheet with the class, having students self-check their work as you go along.
  • Give the class the chance to ask any questions they may still have about Sophocles before continuing.

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