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The Twelve Labors of Hercules

Teacher Guide by Anna Warfield

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Student Activities for Greek Mythology: The 12 Labors of Hercules Include:

Herakles, known more commonly by the Latinized name Hercules, is one of the greatest heroes - ever! We get the word "Herculean" in English, meaning "requiring enormous effort", from the story of Hercules, who had superhuman strength and accomplished twelve seemingly impossible tasks.

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




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"Hercules" is the hero's name that most people are familiar with. The name "Herakles" actually means "Hera's Glory". This name is ironic as Hera hates Hercules, and certainly would not consider him a gift of hers. Hera's husband, Zeus, had an affair with Alcmene, and Hercules is a constant reminder of her husband's infidelity. Sadly for Hera, Hercules would not be the last by far.


Hercules was very popular in Greek mythology, and continues to be popular in the modern age. Many surviving artwork from ancient Greece have Hercules as the subject, and there have been several films and television shows modeled after him. He is one of the mightiest heroes in mythology, and his character reflects many of the attributes that the Greeks admired, such as great strength, skills in combat, and guile.


Essential Questions for Hercules Myths

  1. What is atonement?
  2. What is the significance of completing the Twelve Labors?
  3. What made Hercules a hero?

Greek Mythology: The 12 Labors of Hercules Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Hercules Myth Summary


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 helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work 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.



Example Plot Diagram for the Myth of Hercules

*Note that this is a very general summary of his mythical story, and does not include his upbringing, the voyage of the Argo, the circumstances of his death, etc. An alternative to a plot diagram would be to make a Hero's Journey storyboard.


Exposition

Zeus had an affair with Alcmene and Hercules was born. Hera was jealous and tried to kill Hercules with two serpents. Hercules strangled the snakes in his crib.


Conflict

Hera hated Hercules. Later in life, she made Hercules go mad and he killed his family.


Rising Action

In order to atone for this sin, Hercules had to complete tasks for Eurystheus. Eurystheus assigned him impossible tasks to try and get Hercules killed.


Climax

Hercules completed the 12 Labors with strength, guile, and help from the gods. The Labors brought him all over the world and he defeated many foes.


Falling Action

Hercules was cleansed of the murder of his family. He won the hand of Deianeira after wrestling with a river god.


Resolution

When Hercules died, his immortal side went to live with the gods on Mount Olympus.



Story of Herakles
Create your own at Storyboard That EXPOSITION CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION Zeus had an affair with Alcmene and Herakles was born. Hera was jealous and tried to kill Herakles with two serpents. Herakles strangled the snakes in his crib. Hera hated Herakles. Later in life, she made Herakles go mad and he killed his family. In order to atone for this sin, Herakles had to complete tasks for Eurystheus. Eurystheus assigned him impossible tasks to try and get Herakles killed. Herakles completed the 12 Labors with strength, guile, and help from the gods. The Labors brought him all over the world and he defeated many foes. Herakles was cleansed of the murder of his family. He won the hand of Deianeira after wrestling with a river god. When Herakles died, he went to live with the gods on Mount Olympos.