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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.


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.)





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Greek Creation Myth Themes

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.

Greek Mythology Creation Myth Theme
Create your own at Storyboard That Ouranos feared that his children would overtake him. He tried to prevent that by forcing his children underground (inside of Gaea). Kronos defeated Ouranos with a sickle. Kronos castrated his father with a sickle. He feared one of his children would overtake him and he ate all of his offspring. His wife tricked him into eating a stone instead of his youngest son. Zeus overthrew Kronos with the help of Giants and other allies. OURANOS KRONOS ZEUS VIOLENT SUCCESSION OF POWER

Example

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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
  • Ouranos
  • Kronos
  • Rhea
  • Zeus

Greek Creation Myth Character Map
Create your own at Storyboard That Chaos (Chasm) Gaia Ouranos Kronos Rhea Zeus