What Made Alexander So Great?

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 12020

Why isn't he known as Alexander the Wiener or Alexander the Never-Heard-of-Him? What makes someone great? Examine Alexander's life and times and decide for yourself why one conquers the world by 32!



learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Who, in your opinion, is the greatest person in the history of the world? What puts that person at the top of your list?

There is a big chicken-or-egg debate amongst historians, and maybe you can help solve it once and for all: Do great men and women rise up to shape the events of history, or do the conditions in a society at a certain point in time shape the events and the people who are part of them?

Make a list of five of the most important people in history based on your perspective.

  • What criteria did you use to put those people on your list?

Now, here’s another question: In the case of each person on your list, what were the factors in society that enabled him or her to take a leadership role and to shape events?

  1. Read a short piece about the Great Man debate in the study of history. As you read the article, The Great Man Theory of Leadership by Kendra Cherry, courtesy of Very Well Mind, make notes about the two major views in the debate.
  2. Make your notes on the two sides in the debate, then share your findings with your parent or teacher and discuss these questions together:
  • Which side in the debate do you support more? What makes you think that way?
  • What are some examples from history that support your view?
  • Why does it make any difference which side is right in this debate?

Either way, it is undeniable that there were figures in history — women and men — who came to represent the best and worst in humanity and symbolized the most important events in the course of time.

In the Got It? section, examine the life of a figure considered so great that historians and others added “Great” to his name!

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