Student Activities for Beowulf
Essential Questions for Beowulf
- What makes a hero?
- What is a legend and why are they important?
- How has the concept of a hero changed over decades? Over centuries?
- How does an epic differ from other works of literature?
In the lands of the Danes (modern-day Denmark), a terrible beast, Grendel, plagued the kingdom of Hrothgar and his people. The Danes suffer for many years until a young, Geatish warrior named Beowulf takes on the challenge of defeating Grendel. He sails with his men to Heorot, and is thrown a great feast on his arrival.
Although many are joyous at his arrival, one jealous Dane denounces Beowulf and his reputation, at which point Beowulf boasts about his accomplishments, his victories, and gives descriptions of stories from the war.
After the celebration, Grendel arrives and Beowulf fights him barehanded. When others try to aid him, they find their swords cannot harm the creature. Beowulf defeats Grendel by tearing his arm off and hangs it as a trophy in the great hall of Heorot for all to see.
The mortally wounded Grendel has retreated to the marshes to die. His mother, a swamp hag, is now enraged. She kills Hrothgar’s most loyal warrior before returning to her lair.
Beowulf, Hrothgar, and their men, track Grendel’s mother, and Beowulf swims into the hag's underwater lair alone. Grendel’s mother appears to be winning against the Geat, but he stabs her with a sword found in the lair. Before leaving, he finds Grendel’s body at the bottom of the swamp and cuts off his head as a trophy for the king.
Years later, our hero ascends to the throne of his homeland where he rules wisely for over 50 years. When a would-be thief disturbs a dragon, it threatens his land. Knowing he has lived a full life and seeing his death before him, Beowulf charges into the action and defeats the dragon, but not before being bitten in the neck. The dragon’s venom kills him, and according to legend, his body is burned on a great funeral pyre, and a burial mound is built for him overlooking the sea.
Other Beowulf Activity Ideas
- Tell the story from another character's point of view.
- Create a modern adaptation of the story.
- Have students investigate the many allusions made to Beowulf in other works of literature they've read.
- Add a presentation to any storyboard project.
How To Encourage Poem Writing
Introduce Literary Works
Teachers can introduce poems as a form of literary work where writers can put their feelings into interesting verses and play around with words and sentence formation. If teachers can introduce the concept in an interesting way, it would get the students' attention.
Recommend Interesting Pieces
Teachers can recommend different poems to students according to their interests. Many students are interested in poems that can tell epic stories.
Organize weekly discussions on different poems. Since poems do not have much textual context, students can hold interesting discussions and add different perspectives according to their thought processes.
Organize a Poem Writing Competition
Ask the students to write a poem on any type of subject they want. They can take inspiration from the writing style of their favorite poets. In the end, the student with the best poem will win an incentive or a reward.
Invite Guest Poets
If possible, the teachers can arrange a visit from any guest poet. Students can get to know about their journey and get some inspiration.
© 2024 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.
StoryboardThat is a trademark of Clever Prototypes, LLC, and Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office