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Greek Mythology - The Creation of the World

Teacher Guide by Anna Warfield

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Student Activities for Greek Mythology: The Creation of the World Include:

Where do we come from? Cultures all over the world have tried to figure out this mystery. While different peoples have varying tales, some elements stay the same. Trying to understand the unfathomable is a common goal of all people. We create stories as an explanation to fill in the unknown. Over time, a set narrative is established to explain the times before history: mythologies.

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




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Anthropomorphism


Anthropomorphism is a kind of personification, in that human-like traits are ascribed to non-human objects, but personification is used for the purposes of imagery and giving an impression. Anthropomorphism is more concrete: the goal of anthropomorphism is to make an entity appear or actually behave like a human. When animal characters talk to one another and behave in a human way, they are no longer strictly animals or beasts, but "morphed".

Anthropomorphism Definition

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human emotions, traits, and/or intentions to entities that are not human. Such entities may be animals, objects, gods, or ideas.


Examples of Anthropomorphism in Literature



Anthropomorphism is an important concept when learning about Greek mythology. People explain the unexplainable with familiar concepts: earth, sky, mountains, air, light, darkness and plenty of others are made into sentient beings; simultaneously natural forces and thinking entities. By representing nature as people, the forces are more easily comprehended. In the case of Greek mythology, "characters" can represent natural forces and ideas. Many of the immortal gods are both individuals with thoughts and feelings and also greater concepts. For example, Ouranos has a personality and acts with intention, but he is also the incarnation of the sky.



Essential Questions for the Greek Creation Myth


  1. How does the theme of violent power struggles relate to Greeks in antiquity? To mankind?
  2. What can a story tell us about a group of people?
  3. What is anthropomorphism and how does it help us?


Because Greek Mythology has been translated from Greek to different languages and then retold again and again, many names have changed. For example, you might see "Ouranos" instead of "Uranus" in different texts. You may wish to teach the Latin or Anglicized names in conjunction with, or in place of, spellings related to the Greek. Feel free to copy any of our storyboards and adjust to suit your needs.


Greek Mythology: The Creation of the World Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Create a Plot Diagram of a Greek Myth


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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.


(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.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Greek Creation Myth Themes


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Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the story, and support their choices with details from the text.


Theme to Look For in the Creation Story

Establishing/Holding Power by Violence

The theme of dominance through violence occurs several times in the Greek creation myth.


Ouranos was the first paternal figure, and he became the first "in power". Ouranos feared that his children would overtake him. He tried to prevent that by forcing his children underground (inside of Gaia). Eventually, Kronos defeated Ouranos with a sickle. Kronos castrated his father with a sickle. He also feared one of his children would overtake him one day, so he ate all of his offspring. Kronos knew that he had to take preventive action in order to preserve his own power. His wife Rhea tricked Kronos into eating a stone instead of his youngest son. After he grew up, Zeus overthrew Kronos with the help of Giants and other allies. Zeus established dominance and became king of the gods in battle.

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


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in the Greek Creation Myth. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify the theme(s) from the Greek Creation Myth you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for examples that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Characters from the Greek Creation Myth

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a novel, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

In the character map storyboard, depict the characters as symbols and ideas, as human characters, or a combination of the two. In the example below, Chaos is the only "character" represented symbolically.


Characters of the Greek Myth Creation Story

  • Chaos/Chasm
  • Gaia/Gaea
  • Ouranos
  • Kronos
  • Rhea
  • Zeus

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Compare and Contrast the Creation Story

Most cultures have a creation story, and while they may differ in details, there are many themes and ideas that remain the same. Read another creation story from one of many mythologies in different cultures. Create a storyboard that compares the two stories, either as a standalone project or as preparation for a longer written assignment. Consider comparing similarities and differences between two myths' characters, plot progression, or themes.


Example Compare and Contrast T-Chart

Greek Creation StoryBothJudeo-Christian Tradition
Gaea, Eros, and Tartaros emerged from Chaos.

Chaos represents nothingness.
Both stories have an origin from a single being. God created the universe and separated the light from the darkness.

God is an active creator.
Ouranos was born from Gaea.

The sky is a being of his own.
The sky is one of the earliest parts of the world that was made. God created the sky and separated it from the water.

God is the only sentient being.
Ouranos and Gaea had many children. Ouranos imprisoned his children underground in Gaea's womb.

Ouranos creates life through reproduction, but does not want new life!
The earth began to take shape: bodies of water and landforms. God separated land from water and caused plants to grow.

God has the power to create life at will.
Kronos castrated Ouranos with a sickle and takes power from his father, the sky.

The sky remains, but Ouranos has lost his power to his son.
Both stories show a stark shift in the sky. There is the transfer of power from father to son in the Greek myth, and in the Judeo-Christian tradition, dark and light are regulated. God created the moon and the sun so there would be night and day.

The sky now has times for darkness and times for daylight.
Kronos fears losing power.

He eats his own children to prevent them from defeating him.
Both Kronos and God show they are preparing for the future; Kronos is trying to ensure his power remains, and God is providing food and living areas for animals. God created sea creatures and birds.

After God has prepared the world with habitats and food, he creates animal life.
Zeus triumphs over Kronos with the help of Giants and reigns as king of the gods.

The creation of animal and human life is not addressed in this story.
The world as humans know it was finally finished and fully formed. God created domesticated animals and humans.

Humans were granted control of the world in the Judeo-Christian tradition.


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•   (English) Greek Mythology: The Creation of the World   •   (Español) Mitología Griega: la Creación del Mundo   •   (Français) Mythologie Grecque: la Création du Monde   •   (Deutsch) Griechische Mythologie: Die Schöpfung der Welt   •   (Italiana) Mitologia Greca: La Creazione del Mondo   •   (Nederlands) Griekse Mythologie: The Creation of the World   •   (Português) Mitologia Grega: A Criação do Mundo   •   (עברית) מיתולוגיה יוונית: בריאת העולם   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) الأساطير اليونانية: إن خلق العالم   •   (हिन्दी) यूनानी पौराणिक कथाओं: द क्रिएशन ऑफ़ द वर्ल्ड   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Греческая Мифология: Сотворение Мира   •   (Dansk) Græsk Mytologi: Skabelsen af ​​World   •   (Svenska) Grekisk Mytologi: Skapandet av Världen   •   (Suomi) Kreikkalainen Mytologia: Tällä Maailman Luominen   •   (Norsk) Gresk Mytologi: The Creation of the World   •   (Türkçe) Yunan Mitolojisi: Dünyanın Yaratılışı   •   (Polski) Mitologia Grecka: Stworzenie Świata   •   (Româna) Mitologia Greacă: Crearea Lumii   •   (Ceština) Řecká Mytologie: Stvoření Světa   •   (Slovenský) Grécka Mytológia: Stvorenie Sveta   •   (Magyar) Görög Mitológia: A Teremtés a Világ   •   (Hrvatski) Grčka Mitologija: Stvaranje Svijeta   •   (български) Гръцката Митология: Създаването на Света   •   (Lietuvos) Graikų Mitologija: Iš Pasaulio Sukūrimo   •   (Slovenščina) Grška Mitologija: Oblikovanje of the World   •   (Latvijas) Grieķu Mitoloģija: No Pasaules Creation   •   (eesti) Kreeka Mütoloogia: Creation of the World