Grades/Level: Middle School (6–8), High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, History–Social Science
Time Required: Single Class Lesson
30–45 minute pre-visit activity, 1–2 hours at the Getty Villa, plus a post-visit at-home writing assignment
Author: Carolyn Frost, High School Teacher
Brethren Christian High School, Huntington Beach, CA

Activity Overview

Student in Athletes & Competition gallery

Use this activity for visiting the Getty Villa. Students engage with objects of their choice through two self-guided activities, one online and one at the Getty Villa. Then, as a post-visit activity, students complete a historical story-writing assignment.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• research various objects from the ancient world.
• properly identify various objects from the ancient world.
• speculate on an object's function and importance in both the ancient and modern worlds.
• write a historical story using an object examined during a visit to the Getty Villa.


Download the documents below to use for the pre-visit activity, visit to the Villa (student worksheet), and post-visit activity.

Activity Steps

Follow the steps below to make the most of your Villa visit.

1. Download the pre-visit activity documents for yourself and your students, and then use them in the classroom to help prepare your students for their Villa visit.

2. Before coming to the Villa, download and make copies of the student worksheet for each student (see Materials section above). At the Villa, students will use these sheets to investigate the Museum collection and site. An instruction sheet is included with the student worksheet to guide you and your chaperones at the Villa.

3. Follow up your visit with the post-visit activity, which your students can complete in the classroom or as a homework assignment.

Below is a summary of the activities contained in the downloadable materials.

Pre-Visit Activity: Prior to their visit to the Getty Villa, students search the Collection on the Getty website to find an object of their choice that is on display at the Getty Villa. They will properly identify and record findings about the object on the handout "Object Investigation Report," and begin to speculate about the object's function and place in society.

Student Worksheet: Students are divided into four groups for their visit to the Getty Villa. Each student group must locate four designated galleries, and then choose one object within each gallery. Guided by the "Questions to Think About" on the student worksheet, students record descriptions of the objects on a chart included with the worksheet. Keep students engaged in a discussion about the various objects' role(s) in the ancient world. As the groups explore the galleries, students will also find and observe the individual object of their choice from their pre-visit activity.

Post-Visit Activity: Individual students use their notes and experiences from the Getty Villa visit to write a historical story involving any object that they observed at the Museum. The focus now shifts from the object's function and importance in the ancient world to its relevance in the modern world. Through their writing, students should express the interaction that takes place between people and art.