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Greek Myth Lesson Plans


Mythologies of many different cultures all seek to explain various natural phenomena with a story. Greek myths often attempt to explain the reason for hard to understand concepts like what happens after death, why it rains, or why people with extraordinary talents exist. They are often tools to teach moral or social lessons, explaining what might happen should you deviate from the right path.

Student Activities for Greek Mythology - Explanation Stories Include:




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Myths for Explanation

An important part of the genre of mythology is the stories that explain occurrences in the natural world and in human nature. Most mythologies predate scientific discoveries and modern understanding. It may seem unrealistic to us now to ascribe a great thunderstorm to the anger of a god. However, it was far easier to explain thunder and lightning as divine punishment from a sky god rather than understanding the changes in temperature, pressure, static electricity and the water cycle.

In Greek mythology, the gods and goddesses are essentially humans (anthropomorphized beings) with varied and amazing supernatural powers. All the gods have personalities like humans, get angry like humans, show kindness like humans, and act spitefully like humans. The big difference is the gods and goddesses have power so great, that their personalities, anger, kindness, and actions all have an effect on people and nature. Natural occurrences are more relatable and easily understood when the causes are driven by the emotions by powerful gods.


Examples of Greek Myths That Attempt to Explain Something

  • The Creation Story: How the World Began
  • Hades and Persephone: The Reason for the Seasons
  • Prometheus: Fire and Why Greeks Sacrificed to the Gods
  • Pandora's Jar (Box): Evil in the World
  • Deukalion and Pyrrha: Human Race
  • Athena and Arachne: Spiders and Their Webs
  • Apollo and Daphne: Laurel Tree
  • Narcissus and Echo: Narcissus Flower and Sounds of an Echo
  • Hermes and Apollo: The Invention of the Lyre
  • Poseidon's Rage: Storms and Earthquakes
  • Poseidon and Athena's Contest for Athens: Olive Tree

Essential Questions for Greek Explanation Myths

  1. Why do we want to understand the unknown with a story?
  2. What other stories try to explain natural phenomena?
  3. What can Greek myths teach us today?

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