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Jason and the Golden Fleece

Teacher Guide by Anna Warfield

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

Student Activities for Jason and the Golden Fleece Include:

Jason and the Argonauts is a great adventure story with many trials, twists, and turns! Students will enjoy portraying this ancient story that has persisted for thousands of years in storyboards.

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




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King Pelias sends Jason away on what he believes is an impossible task, hoping that his quest will kill him. The voyage of the Argo is truly a unique journey. Rarely does such a number of great heroes show up at the same time! The ship itself is capable of prophecy due to the timber from one of Zeus' sacred trees, and offers advice to the Argonauts in their time of need. The Argo travels all over the known world, and even encounters some of the same dangers that Odysseus must face in the next generation of heroes. Just as with Odysseus' journey home from Troy, Jason and his crew get blown off course and take the long way home. The really long way.


Essential Questions for Jason and the Argonauts

  1. What is a hero? What kind of hero is Jason?
  2. Think about the saying, "People do crazy things when they're in love." What do you think of Medea's actions?
  3. How does the will of the gods come into play in this story?


Jason and the Golden Fleece Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Jason and the Golden Fleece Summary | Plot Diagram


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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 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.



Your plot diagram may look very different, depending on student level. The details of the story vary text by text, and you may wish to include Jason's betrayal of Medea after they reach Corinth.


Example Jason and the Argonauts Plot Diagram

Exposition

Pelias succeeded Kretheus in Iolkos, preventing Aison, Jason's father, from becoming king. Jason's mother saves him and sends him to grow up with Chiron, the centaur and trainer of heroes.


Conflict

Years later, Hera encourages Jason to journey to Iolkos. He helps an old woman and loses a sandal while crossing the river. Pelias had received a warning from an oracle about a stranger with only one sandal, and sent Jason on a perilous quest.


Rising Action

Jason sets sail with many mighty heroes in the Argo, a ship which shared the prophetic powers of a sacred oak of Zeus. Among the encounters of the Argonauts include the island of Lemnos, Phineus and the harpies, and the Clashing Rocks.


Climax

Aietes agrees to let Jason take the Golden Fleece if he can accomplish three tasks. With the help of Medea, Jason succeeds and claims his prize. The Argo heads home, but is chased by the king. To escape, Medea butchered her brother & scattered him in the ocean.


Falling Action

As punishment, Zeus sends storms to blow the Argo off course. The Argo itself speaks and suggests seeking Circe out for purification.


Resolution

The Argonauts successfully make it home, despite several obstacles.



Jason and the Argonauts Plot Diagram

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 Jason's myth.


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



Plot Diagram Template

Example

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





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Jason and the Golden Fleece Characters

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!

Jason and the Golden Fleece Characters

  • Jason
  • Medea
  • Hera
  • Athena
  • Hercules
  • Boreads
  • Phineus
  • Pelias
  • Aietes

Jason and the Argonauts Characters

Example

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Argonauts Character Analysis

Identifying and keeping track of characters is important, especially when the names are unfamiliar and hard to remember. But sometimes, someone comes along who is exceedingly interesting, someone like Medea, whose motives and actions are difficult to decipher.

Have your students create a three-cell storyboard that looks very carefully at one character. The example below shows Medea, but most characters benefit from closer examination. Focus on what drives the character to action, and why they may behave in the manner that they do.

Medea Character Analysis

Medea is a fascinating, yet terrifying, character. She is the granddaughter of the Titan, Helios, and a servant of Hecate, the goddess of sorcery. She is also a talented user of magic herself.

After being shot with Eros' arrow, she gives up her city's treasure, leaves home, murders her brother, stares down the bronze giant Talos, and convinces Pelias' daughters that cutting up and boiling one's father is a good idea.

Such is the power of love. Medea makes great sacrifices for Jason's sake, doing all of these amazing and horrifying things, and he ends up leaving her for a political marriage. Shouldn't Jason have known NOT to cross her?


Characterization of Medea

Example

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Jason's Hero's Journey


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Related to both plot diagram and types of literary conflict, the "Hero’s Journey" is a recurring pattern of stages many heroes undergo over the course of their stories. Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer, and lecturer, articulated this cycle after researching and reviewing numerous myths and stories from a variety of time periods and regions of the world. He found that they all share fundamental principles. This led to the Hero’s Journey, also known as the Monomyth.



STAGE SUMMARY
Ordinary World Jason journeys to Iolkos. He loses a sandal when helping an old woman cross the river.
Call to Adventure Because of an oracle's prophesy to beware a stranger with one sandal, Pelias sends Jason on a perilous quest to fetch the Golden Fleece from Colchis, at the edge of the world.
Refusal The journey would be long and arduous. Luckily, Jason was supported by the gods. He had the Argo built, which included a prophetic timber from Zeus' sacred tree.
Mentor / Helper In addition to Athena and Hera, Jason is supported by Chiron before his journey, and accompanied by many famous heroes during his quest, including Hercules and the Boread twins, Calais and Zetes.
Crossing the Threshold The Argo sets sail for Colchis.
Test / Allies / Enemies The Argo makes several stops, during which Hercules stays behind to find the missing Hylas. On one stop, the Boreads drive off the harpies that are plaguing the blind seer Phineus. Phineus helps the Argonauts make it past the deadly clashing rocks.
Approach The Argo arrives in Colchis and Jason must perform great tasks in order to win the Golden Fleece. At the prodding of Athena and Hera, Aphrodite sends Eros to shoot Medea. She falls in love with Jason.
Ordeal Medea provides Jason with the means to yoke the bulls and the secret to fighting the dragon tooth warriors. She also gives him a way to get the guardian serpent of the tree to fall asleep.
Reward Jason claims the Golden Fleece! He also claims Medea as his bride.
Road Back Aietes, angry that he lost both the Golden Fleece and his daughter, chased after them. To avoid pursuit, Medea chops her brother into pieces and drops them into the sea. Aietes stops the chase to gather his son's remains. Zeus sends storms to blow them off course.
Atonement The Argo travels far, including being carried through the desert! The Argo itself suggests they travel to seek purification from Circe. Once there, Circe cleanses them of the murder of Medea's brother. The Argo is able to return safely to Iolkos.
Return Through the wiles of Medea, Pelias is killed by his own daughters. Jason and Medea leave to start their life in Corinth.

Jason and the Argonauts Heros Journey

Example

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


Student Instructions

Use the story of Jason and the Argonauts and map it to the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Depict and describe how the chosen character's story fits (or does not fit ) into each of the stages of the Hero's Journey.
  3. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.
  4. Save and submit storyboard to assignment.



TEMPLATE - HERO'S JOURNEY

Example

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





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•   (English) Greek Mythology: Jason and the Argonauts   •   (Español) Mitología Griega: Jason y los Argonautas   •   (Français) Mythologie Grecque: Jason et les Argonautes   •   (Deutsch) Griechische Mythologie: Jason und die Argonauten   •   (Italiana) Mitologia Greca: Giasone e gli Argonauti   •   (Nederlands) Griekse Mythologie: Jason and the Argonauts   •   (Português) Mitologia Grega: Jason e os Argonautas   •   (עברית) המיתולוגיה היוונית: יאסון והארגונאוטים   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) الأساطير اليونانية: جيسون والمغامرون