Link to the Lesson Plan and Resources

Lesson Description: This lesson plan will use various forms of media to teach students about the Trojan War and the Trojan Horse. Two episodes from The Simpsons will be used in the lesson. One to show what happened when the Greeks used the horse, and another for the students to apply their knowledge of the war.

The Simpsons in Social Studies Lesson Plan

Author: Brian Adams

Subject: Ancient World History

Topics Covered: Trojan War

Overview: In this lesson plan the classic show The SImpsons will be used to introduce the topic of the Trojan War and the Trojan Horse to the students. Two episodes will be used in this single lesson plan. They are Lemon of Troy, and Tales from the Public Domain. The episodes will be used at different times during the lesson to first introduce the topic with an obvious reference, and later for the students to apply their learning to a not-so-obvious reference.

Lesson Essential Question(s)

· Why did the Greeks need to use the horse trick to get into Troy?

· What is the importance of the Trojan War?


· Pennsylvania History Standards

o 8.4.W.D


· The Simpsons Season 6 episode 2F22 Lemon of Troy

· The Simpsons Season 13 episode Tales from the Public Domain

· Graphic Organizer/Viewing Guide

· The story of the Wooden Horse from http://storynory.com/2006/10/28/the-wooden-horse/. Either the text version, or the audio version.

· Introduction

o Students should answer the following questions

§ Have you heard of computers getting Trojan Horses before, what do you think it means? (take a guess if you don’t know)

§ We have been talking about the Greeks for a while now, where can you see Greek Mythology and language in our culture today? (Nike, USC Trojans, Achilles’ Heal, etc)

o Give the students a few minutes to answer the questions, then talk about their responses together as a class.


1. Introduce the students to the Trojan War by telling them the story of Helen eloping with Paris to Troy.

a. Ask the students why they think the Greeks would not be very happy about this.

b. The students should then answer the part in their Graphic Organizer for why Helen is referred to as the “Face that launched a thousand ships”

2. Next, explain to the students how the war started, and why it lasted so long.

a. Students should again fill in this part of the organizer

3. Next switch on the reading of the “Wooden Horse from storynory.com and let it play for a few paragraphs at a time. Have the students write notes about the Trojan’s argument and eventual decision to let the horse into their city.

a. Ask them what choices they had and why they chose to let it in.

b. Then have the students speculate why they might believe a story like they were told.

4. Next, turn on The Simpsons episode from Season 13 Stories from the Public Domain. Only play the first part of the “D’Oh, Brother Where Art Thou” clip. This is where the Trojan Horse is seen and the Trojans are tricked. Have the students take note of what happened in the episode.

5. After the clip of the episode has been played, play the rest of the story for the students.

a. They should then take note of how the story ends.

6. Lastly, play the next clip from The Simpsons from the episode “Lemon of Troy”. Only show the clip from the end of the episode where the men and boys of Springfield deliberately have their RV towed and taken to the same impound lot where the lemon tree is being held.

a. First you must explain to the students what has happened earlier in the episode (this saves you from having to show the entire thing)

i. In a nutshell: Springfield’s rival town Shelbyville steals the town Lemon Tree and hides it in the Shelbyville impound lot. The children of both towns proceed to fight until the adults get involved. This is where we pick up with the clip.

b. Have students draw comparisons between the Trojan War, and the episode.

c. Ask the student if they think the writers of the show knew that they were making the reference. (they definitely did)

d. Where else might they see references like this?

o Revisit the questions they were to answer in the beginning. See if the students can give a better version of a Trojan Horse Virus now. Ask them how they are better able to answer it after what they just learned.