http://www.storyboardthat.com/teacher-guide/greek-mythology

Greek Mythology

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Elementary School, Middle School ELA, and High School ELA Categories!

Student Activities for Greek Mythology Include:

Have you ever wondered where some of these sayings came from: "he has the Midas touch", "you have to find their Achilles heel", or "don't be fooled by a Trojan horse!" Well, all these sayings, and many more, come from ancient Greek myths. Ancient Greek is the root of many English words and phrases, and their culture has famous portrayals of themes and stories that are still relevant today. No matter how much time has passed, the lessons of these literary works remain important in today's age.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




Start My Free Trial

What is Mythology?

Mythology is, first and foremost, a collection of stories - stories that describe the lives and exploits of the gods and preternatural forces before the time of recorded history. As a genre, mythology typically explain unknown origins, the reason for natural occurrences, or human nature. The stories reflect the values and issues of communities and to some extant, of society as a whole. Greek mythology is not the only type in the genre; many cultures from around the world have exquisite mythologies.

Greek Mythology consists of the ancient Greeks' polytheistic beliefs. It begins with a creation myth, explaining how the earth was formed. Later Greek mythology deal with the origins and life of Greek heroes, and explanations of the natural world. Many are familiar with the particular Greek gods as they pertain to domains such as love, war, and trade, but may not know the origins of these gods.


Why Do We Study Greek Myths?

Greek myths have endured for thousands of years. Many of the Greek gods, heroes, and monsters represent ideals or certain traits. Mythical characters were the subjects of various art: sculpture adorning architecture, wall paintings, mosaics, free-standing sculpture, pottery, and so much more. The stories persisted partly because there were physical reminders of the stories in stone everywhere. Beyond the various physical remnants, Greek myths are old tales rich in plot, character, theme, and symbolism.

Romans appropriated many Greek myths as their own, but made significant alterations to them. The Roman Empire was a dominant force for hundreds of years and brought Roman culture to conquered lands throughout Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. The Renaissance and the Neoclassical eras in history saw a resurgence of Greco-Roman influences in art, literature, and science. As Western Civilization expanded across the world, the Greek stories remained! (For an interesting take on this idea, be sure to check out The Lightning Thief and the rest of the Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan.)

Greek mythology has a great deal of variation, because the stories were traditionally told and retold orally. Even ancient sources differ on the order of events and characters! When stories are passed down through the generations and translated into other languages, some of the details do not always stay the same. "Pandora's Box" is an excellent example of how details can morph from one thing to another. Pandora actually had a jar and not a box, but the popular use of Pandora's Box has remained.

Greek myths have pervaded our culture and literature. Many English words come from Greek roots, but there are also words that evolved directly from Greek mythology, such as narcissist, herculean, echo, and nemesis. Authors and artists have referred to Greek mythology for hundreds of years, either as direct subject matter or to represent something symbolically. In order to understand these various allusions, students need exposure to Greek mythology.



Essential Questions for a Mythology Unit

  1. What role can myths and beliefs from the past have in today’s world?
  2. How does the definition of a hero change? Why?
  3. How do we use stories to explain the world around us?
  4. What lessons can we learn from mythology?

Greek Mythology Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Create a Plot Diagram of a Greek Myth


Copy Assignment



A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a story with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. This activity is great for use with the creation myth, nature myths, and biography stories of the Greek gods and goddesses.



Example Plot Diagram of the Greek Creation Myth

Exposition

In the beginning, there was only Chaos. Then, out of Chaos appeared Erebus (the unknowable darkness, where death dwells), Nyx (Night), and Eros (Love) were born, bringing a start of order. From Eros came Aether (Light), and Hemera (Day). Once there was Aether and Hemera, Gaea (the earth) appeared. Gaea alone gave birth to Uranus (the heavens), who became Gaea's husband. Together they produced the three Cyclopes, the three Hecatoncheires, and twelve Titans.


Conflict

Uranus was not a good father, or husband. He hated the Hecatoncheires and imprisoned them in Gaea's womb. This angered Gaea, and she plotted against Uranus by getting the youngest Titan, Cronus to overthrow him.


Rising Action

Cronus became the next ruler, and he too imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. He then married his sister Rhea. He ruled for many ages, and the Titans had many offspring. However, he became paranoid that one of his children would overthrow him, like his father before him, so he ate them. Rhea, angry with him, concealed a baby (Zeus) by switching him with a stone in a swaddling cloth. She was able to pass off the rock as the baby; Cronus was fooled and swallowed it.


Climax

Zeus overthrew Cronus with the help of all his imprisoned brothers and sisters. After defeating Cronus and his siblings, they became rulers of the gods.


Falling Action

Zeus exiled the Titans who had fought against them, except for Atlas, who was forced to hold the world on his shoulders for eternity.


Resolution

Zeus now rules as king of the gods, who reside on Mount Olympus.


Greek Mythology - Creation Myth Plot Diagram
Create your own at Storyboard That EXPOSITION CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION In the beginning, there was only Chaos. Then, out of Chaos, Erebus, Nyx, and Eros were born, bringing the start of order. From Eros came Aether, and Hemera. Once there was Aether and Hemera, Gaea appeared. Gaea alone gave birth to Uranus, who became Gaea's husband. Together they produced the three Cyclopes, the three Hecatoncheires, and twelve Titans. Uranus was not a good father, or husband. He hated the Hecatoncheires and imprisoned them in Gaea's womb. This angered Gaea, and she plotted against Uranus by getting the youngest Titan, Cronus, to overthrow him. Cronus became the next ruler, but became paranoid that one of his children would overthrow him, like his father before him, so he ate them. His wife, Rhea, concealed a baby (Zeus) by switching him with a stone in a swaddling cloth. She was able to pass off the rock as the baby. Cronus was fooled and swallowed it. Zeus overthrew Cronus with the help of all his imprisoned brothers and sisters. After defeating Cronus and his siblings, they became rulers of the gods. Zeus exiled the Titans who had fought against him, except for Atlas, who was forced to hold the world on his shoulders for eternity. Zeus now rules as king of the gods, who reside on Mt. Olympus.

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of a Greek myth.


  1. Choose one of the Greek myths you have read.
  2. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  4. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.



Story Outline Storyboard Template
Create your own at Storyboard That EXPOSITION CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION

Example

(Use this rubric or create your own on Quick Rubric.)





Copy Assignment

Start My Free Trial

Key Symbols Themes Motifs in Greek Mythology


Copy Assignment



Valuable aspects of any literary work are its themes, symbols, and motifs. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to anatomize without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.

In the classroom, students can track the rich symbolism that occurs in the stories of the gods.


Themes, Motifs, and Symbols in Greek Mythology

Human Flaws

A fascinating theme throughout Greek mythology is the manifestation of vices, or flaws, in the Greek gods and goddesses. This may startle many people, because when they think of a 'god', the term is synonymous with ideal perfection. However, the gods of old were tempted by pity, jealousy, and adultery, like their human counterparts.


Temptation

Temptation is a related theme with deep roots in Greek myths. Many stories hinge on a temptation that a god or goddess must overcome. An archetypal example is Pandora's Box. In the story, Pandora is given a special box, with instructions not to open it. She is overtaken by the temptation, and unleashes evil into the world!


Payback and Reward

The gods believed that every action had a consequence. Good actions were always rewarded, whereas evil actions required punishment. The gods loved to banish, or eternally punish humans who disobeyed them!


Brains over Brawn

Although, many of the gods were powerful and mighty, possessing powers beyond human ability, they cherished a stable mind more than their strength. Many Greek myths incorporate the theme of brains over brawn, with protagonists outsmarting their opponents to achieve their objectives.


War

The gods love war! In the eyes of the Greeks, war was a part of their existence. They thought it was an honor to die in battle, and that cowards and deserters were not to be given a proper burial. They believed in an eye for an eye, and that bloodshed deserved bloodshed. Many of the gods involved themselves in mortal affairs, and would often choose sides. Battles were won by larger than life warriors like Odysseus or Achilles.


Love

Love in Greek Mythology is often one-sided and not returned, usually leading to tragedy and abandonment for one of the parties involved. Love between gods and humans seldom works out well. Selfish love often ends in suffering for one or both of the people involved.


Fate

The Greeks firmly believed that a person's life is predetermined, at least to some extent. They relied heavily on the gods' ability to change a mortal's fate, although it might not always be for the better!


Beauty

The Greeks valued beauty very much, in both women and men.


Greek Mythology - Pandora's Box Themes
Create your own at Storyboard That Pandora is given a box from the gods, but she is told she cannot open it.​ The presence of the box is overwhelming, and Pandora hides the box, leaves it, and tries to distance herself from it. It returns to her, and she is tempted once again. Unable to resist any longer, Pandora gives into temptation​, and looks inside the box. Opening the box releases evil and chaos into the world. King Midas had an obsessive love for gold. He was given the golden touch so that anything he came into contact with would turn to the thing he loved - pure, solid, gold. However, King Midas did not realize the consequences of his choice. He could not eat or drink. And when he hugged his beautiful daughter, he turned her into a golden statue. Midas begged that the power be taken away. As a ​punishment for his foolish greed,​ he was given a set of donkey ears in its place. FIRST INSTANCE SECOND INSTANCE RESULT Just Rewards Temptation