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The Greek Gods and Goddesses of Olympus

Teacher Guide by Anna Warfield

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Student Activities for Greek Mythology-The Olympians Include:

The Greek pantheon encompasses many human characteristics and places. It is the twelve Olympians, however, that receive the most attention, as they are often embroiled in scandal, heroic adventures, and religious rites. In addition to having enormous cultural, artistic, and literary significance, Zeus and the other Olympians' stories are simply fascinating!

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




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Olympians

The influence of the ancient Greek myths remains after many centuries in art, architecture, language, literature, and modern television and film. The stories in Greek mythology have universal themes and archetypes that are applicable across cultures, but are also memorable narratives by themselves. The Olympians often take a center role in these Greek myths because they are the twelve major gods of the Greek pantheon.


The Olympians also important influences to various heroes on their quests. Some influences may be positive, like Athena guiding Hercules or Odysseus, but some can also be major obstacles for heroes. Poseidon inhibits Odysseus from making it home to Ithaca, Hera tries to foil Hercules' Labors whenever she can, and Zeus sends the Argo way off course on its way home. Learning more about the personalities, areas of influence, and symbols of the Greek gods and goddesses is beneficial for understanding various allusions in literature, music, art, architecture, astronomy, marketing, and more.


Essential Questions for The Greek Gods and Goddesses

  1. Why do you think there are twelve Olympians?
  2. How are the personalities of the Olympians reflected in their powers, domain, or symbols?
  3. What role do myths play in our lives today?

Greek Mythology-The Olympians Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Themes of the Olympians

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


Abnormal Births

As the gods are divine beings, it only makes sense that some of their births would be extraordinary! Aphrodite was born from the sea, Athena was born fully grown from the head of Zeus, and Dionysus was born from Zeus' thigh. These gods each entered the world in a unique way. Additionally, Zeus' siblings were all swallowed by Kronos after being born, so they underwent a sort of rebirth when Zeus freed them.

There are many recurring themes in the myths surrounding the Olympians. Some other themes to consider are the importance of beauty, infidelity, anger, involvement with mortals, and marriage.


Births of the Gods
Create your own at Storyboard That Aphrodite was born from the sea. Athena was born fully grown from the head of Zeus. Dionysos was born from Zeus' thigh. Aphrodite Athena Dionysos Abnormal Births

Example

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Symbols of the Gods of Olympus

Symbols are extremely important when discussing the Greek gods and goddesses. Both major and minor gods had symbols and physical attributes that identified them. Each god and goddess had their own domain of power and influence, which often pointed to items, plants, and animals. Some symbols only became associated with a god because of one of the myths and remained as an identifier in art and literature.

In this activity, students will create representations of various Greek gods, the number of which is at the teacher's discretion. Students will create a traditional storyboard with titles (names) and descriptions. In each cell, students need to depict the god with a scene and at least one item or animal. While there are characters who are intended to be the Greek gods and goddesses in the "Greek Mythology" tab on Storyboard That, students should feel open to choosing any character they like to represent the gods.


The example below includes the twelve Olympians and an additional four. Hades and Hestia are siblings of Zeus, Persephone is the daughter of Demeter and wife to Hades, and Hercules is a famous demi-god who ascended to Olympus at his death.


Greek Gods and Goddesses Symbols

NAMESYMBOL/ATTRIBUTE NAMESYMBOL/ATTRIBUTE
Zeus
  • Sky
  • Eagle
  • Lightning bolt
Hera
  • Peacock
  • Diadem
  • Cow
Poseidon
  • Sea
  • Trident
  • Horse
Demeter
  • Field
  • Cornucopia
  • Grain
Hephaestus
  • Volcano
  • Forge
  • Hammer
Aphrodite
  • Rose
  • Dove
  • Mirror
Apollo
  • Sun
  • Serpent
  • Lyre
Artemis
  • Moon
  • Deer/Stag
  • Bow
Athena
  • Architecture
  • Owl
  • Medusa's Head
Ares
  • Spear
  • Boar
  • Shield
Hermes
  • Winged Sandals
  • Winged Hat
  • Caduceus
Dionysus
  • Wine/grapes
  • Exotic animals
  • Thyrsus
Hades
  • Underworld
  • Cerberus
  • Helm of Invisibility
Hestia
  • Home
  • Hearth
  • Sacred Fire
Persephone
  • Spring
  • Pomegranate
Hercules
  • Nemean Lion Skin
  • Club

Olympians
Create your own at Storyboard That ZEUS HERA POSEIDON DEMETER HEPHAESTOS APHRODITE APOLLO ARTEMIS HERMES ARES ATHENA DIONYSOS HADES HESTIA PERSEPHONE HERAKLES KING OF THE GODS GODDESS OF WOMEN & MARRIAGE GOD OF THE SEA GODDESS OF AGRICULTURE GOD OF THE FORGE GODDESS OF LOVE & BEAUTY GOD OF THE SUN & MUSIC GODDESS OF THE MOON & THE HUNT GOD OF TRAVELLERS GOD OF WAR GODDESS OF WISDOM GOD OF WINE GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD GODDESS OF THE HOME & HEARTH GODDESS OF THE SPRING DEMIGOD