Students will love our Greek mythology activities such as: important symbols in Greek mythology, list of deities and their signs, hero’s journey, Greek God and Goddesses, and more! These myth projects and ideas are creative, engaging, and easy to customize. Check out the Greek mythology lesson plans below:
Student Activities for Greek Mythology
Essential Questions for a Mythology Unit
- What role can myths and beliefs from the past have in today’s world?
- How does the definition of a hero change? Why? What is the definition of a hero in Greek mythology? What is the definition of a hero today?
- How do we use stories to explain the world around us? How did the ancient Greeks use stories to explain things they didn't understand?
- What lessons can we learn from Greek mythology?
- Who are the 12 gods and goddesses of Olympus and what are their symbols?
- How are the personalities of the Olympians reflected in their powers, domain, and the Greek mythological symbols?
- What role do Greek myths, or myths from other civilizations, play in our lives today?
More About Our Pre-Made Activities
Greek mythology is a vast collection of stories, history, and individuals that can be overwhelming and difficult to keep track of. Storyboard That’s team of teachers have created several assignments to help you and your students gain a better understanding of Greek mythology, and have come up with some really cool activities for students to show what they know in engaging and creative ways. Read more below!
- Olympian Symbols: Greek god symbols are extremely important in Greek mythology. All gods, minor and major, had symbols and physical features that set them apart and identified them. For this activity, students will create a storyboard of the symbols of Greek gods. This is an excellent way to keep track of what represents whom!
- Myth Plot Diagram: Each story within Greek mythology is filled with twists and turns. For this activity, students can create a plot diagram of the myth of their choice, or one that is assigned to them by their teacher.
- Themes: If you take a good look at Olympus Greek mythology, you will surely notice that there are recurring themes surrounding the stories and history.
- Greek Gods and Goddesses: Have students keep track of the gods and goddesses by making a list of deities and their signs, domains, symbols, and more! Our Storyboard That artists have created characters for the main gods, can you find them in our art library?
- Olympian Poster: Having students research and spotlight an Olympian god or goddess is one of our most popular myth projects. Using the poster layout or a biography poster template as a starting off point, students can create a biography poster for the god or goddess of their choice.
- Symbols, Themes, and Motifs: Themes, symbols, and motifs add color and richness to stories. In chart format, students can identify and compare the different themes, symbols, and motifs in two or more stories. Some of the recurring ideas throughout several myths include: human flaws, war, temptation, payback and reward, love, fate, and beauty. Students will be engaged as they explore these areas in a colorful storyboard!
- Vocabulary: The vocabulary in Greek mythology can be very difficult to keep track of. Not only the terms, but also the Greek names versus the Roman names of the gods and goddesses. There are so many ways to use storyboards to explore Greek vocabulary. For this activity, we have given the example of how some Greek names have been transformed into English words such as martial (Mars, god of war), volcano (Vulcan, god of fire and forge), and cereal (Ceres, goddess of harvest).
- Create Your Own Greek God: A really fun way to engage students is to have them create their own Greek god. After learning about the elements of Greek gods and goddesses (domain, power, weakness, symbol, connection with the real world, etc.), they can create a spider map that includes the name, attributes, and back story, or a poster of their own individual!
- Hero’s Journey: The hero’s journey is a recurring pattern of stages that many heroes go through over the course of their journey. Some of the most popular hero journeys include Hercules, Theseus, and Odysseus, but our outline can really be used with a number of Greek gods and goddesses.
- TP-CASTT Analysis: The TP-CASTT method of poetry analysis is a very useful way to dissect a poem. Much like the order of operations in mathematics, TP-CASTT asks students to uncover deeper meanings of the poem in a sequential way in order to understand its parts. Students can dissect poems that are related to Greek myths in order to help them understand the larger scale stories!
- Social Media: Social media is a very popular form of connection and communication for middle and high school students. An exciting and engaging way to incorporate student interest into education is by having kids create a social media page for one or more Greek gods or goddesses. What would Medusa post about on Instagram? Would Loki post his tricks on Twitter? Check out our social media poster templates or our social media page worksheet templates for inspiration!
- Modern God Poster: An alternative to the spider map activity above is to create your own Greek god poster! Be sure to include all of the same attributes (domain, power, weakness, symbol, etc.), but expand your creativity by using a colorful biography poster template to get your creative juices flowing!
What is Mythology?
Mythology is, first and foremost, a collection of stories that describe the lives and exploits of the gods and preternatural forces before the time of recorded history. As a genre, mythology typically explains unknown origins, the reason for natural occurrences, or human nature. The stories reflect the values and issues of communities and to some extent, of society as a whole. Greek mythology is not the only type in the genre; many cultures from around the world have exquisite mythologies.
Greek mythology consists of the ancient Greeks' polytheistic beliefs. It begins with a creation myth, explaining how the earth was formed. Other myths deal with the origins and life of Greek heroes, and explanations of the natural world. Many are familiar with the particular Greek gods as they pertain to domains such as love, war, and trade, but may not know the origins of these gods. Together, these gods make up the Greek Pantheon.
Why Do We Study Greek Myths?
Greek myths have endured for thousands of years. Many of the Greek gods, heroes, and monsters represent ideals or certain traits. Mythical characters were the subjects of various art: sculpture adorning architecture, wall paintings, mosaics, free-standing sculpture, pottery, and so much more. The stories persisted partly because there were physical reminders of the stories in stone everywhere. Beyond the various physical remnants, Greek myths are old tales rich in plot, character, theme, and symbolism.
Romans appropriated many Greek myths as their own, but made significant alterations to them. The Roman Empire was a dominant force for hundreds of years and brought Roman culture to conquered lands throughout Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. The Renaissance and the Neoclassical eras in history saw a resurgence of Greco-Roman influences in art, literature, and science. As Western Civilization expanded across the world, the Greek stories remained! For an interesting take on this idea, be sure to check out The Lightning Thief and the rest of the Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan.
Greek mythology has a great deal of variation, because the stories were traditionally told and retold orally. Even ancient sources differ on the order of events and characters! When stories are passed down through the generations and translated into other languages, some of the details do not always stay the same. "Pandora's Box" is an excellent example of how details can morph from one thing to another. Pandora actually had a jar and not a box, but the popular use of Pandora's Box has remained.
Greek myths have pervaded our culture and literature. Many English words come from Greek roots, but there are also words that evolved directly from Greek mythology, such as narcissist, herculean, echo, and nemesis. Authors and artists have referred to Greek mythology for hundreds of years, either as direct subject matter or to represent something symbolically. In order to understand these various allusions, students need exposure to important characters and important symbols in Greek mythology. Check out our Greek mythology activities above!
12 Gods of Olympus
Greek mythology is centered around the powerful group of gods who lived on Mount Olympus, the tallest mountain in Greece. It is believed that these gods and goddesses ruled all aspects of life, and met as a council to discuss important things such as punishments, war, and the way of life in general. The twelve gods and goddesses are: Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hermes, and Poseidon. Other gods and goddesses who were sometimes included as Olympians are Hades (god of the Underworld), Hestia (goddess of home and family), and Eros (god of love and also known as Cupid).
These important gods and goddesses looked like average men and women, but they could change their forms to look like animals and other things. For the most part, they remained on Mount Olympus, but Posiedon preferred to live in his palace under the sea.
The Olympians are 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. Students will love analyzing the various Greek mythological symbols and how the Greek gods' and goddesses' powers were said to be related to events and natural disasters.
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.
Who Are the 12 Olympian Gods?
- Zeus, also known as “The King of all Gods”, or “Father of Gods and men”, Zeus was the most powerful god who controlled the sky, storms, thunder, and lightning. He was also known as the god of justice. He is represented by a lightning bolt and eagles. Zeus was the youngest son of Cronos and Rhea, and when he was old enough, he and his siblings and uncles overthrew his father and gained control of the different realms. Zeus married Hera and together they had three children: Ares, Eris, and Hephaestus.
- Hera is the queen of the gods, and the goddess of marriage and childbirth. She is often represented by peacocks and wedding rings. Daughter of Cronos and Rhea, Hera is also known for her hatred of Troy, and tries to help the Greeks win against the Trojans whenever she can. Hera had three children with Zeus: Ares, Eris, and Hephaestus.
- Aphrodite is the goddess of love and beauty. She is often represented by a mirror, rose, or a dove. Aphrodite was the daughter of Uranus and Dione, but sometimes she was also said to be the daughter of Zeus and Thalassa or Dione. Aphrodite’s beauty was so stunning that men who catch a glimpse of her fall into a puddle of incoherent mutterings.
- Apollo, the god of sun and music, is represented by a golden lyre and a golden bow and arrow. He is the twin brother of Artemis, and the son of Zeus and the nymph Leto. The Greeks prayed to Apollo for good health, and feared him when a plague or other illness hit.
- Ares is the god of war, and he is represented by a spear and a shield which were often used in violent conflicts. Son of Zeus and Hera and brother of Athena, Ares is often defeated in stories that involve war. Ares is also known for being Aphrodite’s lover.
- Artemis is the goddess of the moon and the hunt, and carries a silver bow with arrows. Apollo and Artemis were the twin children of Zeus and the nymph Leto, but Artemis was the apple of Zeus’ eye. For Artemis’ third birthday, Zeus gave her a silver bow and arrows, wood nymphs, and hounds to hunt with. He also gave her the gift of chastity, which was part of her wish. She became known as a fierce huntress, and she was also very protective of her nymphs.
- Athena, known as the goddess of strategy and wisdom, is represented by a helmet and scroll, to be used for strategy in times of war. Daughter of Zeus and Metis, Athena used her skill and intuition to outwit others in battle.
- Demeter is the goddess of harvest and is represented by sheaves of wheat. During times of famine or poor crop yields, the Greek people came to Demeter for help. She had two children with Poseidon, Arion and Despoena, and one child with Zeus, Persephone.
- Dionysus, the god of wine, pleasure, and festivity, was typically represented by a cup and grapevines or vineyards. He was also a demigod, which means he was the son of a god and a mortal; his father was Zeus, and his mother’s name was Semele. Dionysus is perhaps most well-known for granting King Midas the power to turn everything he touched into gold.
- Hephaestus is the blacksmith god, as well as the god of fire and the forge. He is represented by a hammer and anvil. Son of Zeus and Hera, Hephaestus was flung off of Olympus by his mother when he was born: she thought he was so ugly that he would not win his father’s affection.
- Hermes, who is known as the messenger god, was the son of Zeus and Maia, is represented by winged sandals and his Caduceus staff. Hermes had many responsibilities including being the god of trade and thieves. He often was the messenger for his father, going back and forth from Olympus to Earth to the Underworld.
- Poseidon, also known as the god of the sea, earthquakes, and horses, is represented by his three-pronged trident and horses. Son of Rhea and Cronos, and brother of Zeus, Hades, Hera, Hestia, and Demeter, Poseidon and other family members worked together to overthrow his father. After the battle ended, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon chose which realm each god would rule; Poseidon chose the sea.
There are so many interesting and entertaining stories about these gods and goddesses, and it is truly incredible how they are all intertwined. Storyboard That makes it simple to keep track of the myths and adventures that these gods and goddesses are a part of!
Other Greek Mythology Project Ideas
- Storyboard the life of your favorite Greek god or goddess.
- Create a family tree and list the Greek gods and goddesses along with their signs and symbols!
- Complete a storyboard showing Zeus being overthrown like Cronus or Uranus before him! Choose a god who will defeat Zeus, and tell how it happens.
- Research Greek gods and their symbols, and create a biography for your favorite!
- Make a presentation of all of the different Greek mythology symbols.
- Teachers can take their Greek mythology lesson plans offline by printing out colorful Greek mythology worksheets and graphic organizers related to the activities above such as social media page worksheets, character map worksheets, biography worksheets, vocabulary worksheets, plot diagram worksheets, and more!
For more information about Greek mythology and its influences, be sure to check out the following Teacher Resources.
Purchase The Complete World of Greek Mythology by Richard Buxton or D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire on Amazon to use as resources for Greek myths!
Why Use Storyboard That?
Storyboard That is the perfect tool for novel lesson plans and activities because it's so easy to use and extremely versatile. With Storyboard That, you can create a wide variety of storyboards such as the story from the main character's perspective, or any other character's point of view.
You can also use Storyboard That to create a summary of the book, a movie poster, or analyze themes and events. Plus, our printable worksheets make it easy to take the fun offline.
Why is Storyboarding a Great Method of Teaching?
Storyboarding is an incredibly powerful tool for educators because it helps students process and understand the information in a deep, meaningful way. When students storyboard, they are actively engaged in the learning process and can make connections between the text and their own lives.
Storyboards also promote higher-level thinking by encouraging students to synthesize information and think critically about what they have read. Finally, storyboards are a great way to assess student understanding because they provide a visual representation of student learning.
Frequently Asked Questions about Greek Mythology & the 12 Olympians
Who is the most powerful god in Greek mythology?
Zeus, who is known as “The King of all Gods” is the most powerful of all the gods and goddesses. He controlled the sky, storms, thunder, and lightning. Zeus married Hera and they had three children together.
What are the different types of mythology?
The most well known types of mythology are Norse, Egyptian, and Greek. However, there are many other types of mythology from different countries and religions around the world.
What is a myth?
A myth is a story that is about how the world came to be, and why certain events happened. While some may think that myths are not accurate, they were, at one point, believed to be real.