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Activity Overview


Hercules is as "epic" as heroes can get. Hercules is thought of by some as one of the greatest heroes of all time, and may have been one of the original archetypal epic heroes as defined by the ancient Greeks. He had extraordinary strength, completed impossible tasks, was beset by many obstacles, and had the ultimate reward of eternal life on Olympus.

Have students identify and depict the elements of an epic hero as they relate to Hercules.


Hercules Epic Hero

ATTRIBUTEDESCRIPTIONExample from Hercules Myths
Noble BirthUsually a king, prince, demi-god, or nobleman of some capacity. Hercules' father is none other than Zeus, king of the gods and lord of the sky.
Superhuman CapabilitiesThe warrior has the potential for greatness based on their attributes. Hercules has superhuman strength that he uses regularly. For example, he defeated the invulnerable Nemean Lion with his bare hands.
Vast TravelerAn epic hero is known for making travels to exotic locations by choice or chance, usually to battle against evil. Hercules literally travels to the ends of the earth to accomplish his tasks. He also journeys to the Underworld and back again.
Unmatched WarriorThis hero typically has a reputation for being a great warrior, even prior to the beginning of the story. Hercules is skilled with club, bow, sword, and unarmed combat.
Cultural Legend Before an Epic Hero can be universally known, he must first be a legend in his culture. Hercules is easy to recognize with his armor made from the Nemean Lion's invulnerable pelt.
HumilityThe hero performs great deeds for their own sake rather than glory. To atone for the death of his family, Hercules completes the Labors given him by a lesser man.
Battles Supernatural FoesThe opponents and obstacles the hero faces are usually supernatural beings. Hercules defeats many monsters before, during, and after his Twelve Labors, and he is often overcoming the obstacles sent by Hera. Monsters include the Lernaean Hydra, Kerberos, Geryon, and Nessos the centaur.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Type of Activity: Epic Hero

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/1] Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/3] Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how Hercules can be considered an epic hero.


  1. Identify events of the story or characteristics of Hercules that fit into attributes of an epic hero.
  2. Illustrate examples for Noble Birth, Superhuman Capabilities, Vast Traveler, Unmatched Warrior, Cultural Legend, Humility, and Battles Supernatural Foes.
  3. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Hercules as an epic hero.
  4. Save and submit the assignment.

Characteristics of an Epic Hero Template Worksheet


Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



Characteristics of an Epic Hero
Create a storyboard that traces the development of the epic hero in the text by highlighting the seven common characteristics of an epic hero. Create a scene for each characteristic that highlights how it is utilized throughout the work. Add a brief quote or explanation under each scene that highlights an important piece of the element being depicted. Make sure the art in your scenes is historically and factually accurate to the story.
Proficient
33 Points
Emerging
27 Points
Beginning
22 Points
Try Again
17 Points
Characteristics of an Epic Hero
The seven common characteristics of an epic hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, and are accurate and appropriate to the characteristics being depicted.
5-6 common characteristics of an epic hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, and are mostly accurate for the characteristics being depicted.
3-4 common characteristics of an epic hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations may be minimal or inaccurate for the characteristics being depicted.
1-2 common characteristics of an epic hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes/and or explanations may be inaccurate, missing, or too limited to score.
Artistic Depictions
The art chosen to depict the scenes are historically appropriate to the work of literature. It is evident that the student spent a lot of time, creativity, and effort into carefully crafting each artistic depiction.
The art chosen to depict the scenes should be historically appropriate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. It is evident that the student stayed on task and put time and effort into crafting each artistic depiction.
Most of the art chosen to depict the scenes are historically appropriate, but there are serious deviations that cause confusion or inaccuracies. The student may not have paid much attention to detail in crafting each depiction, and there may be evidence of rushing or limited effort.
Most of the art chosen to depict the scenes are historically inappropriate, missing, or too limited to score. It is evident that the student did not put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into crafting each artistic depiction.
English Conventions
Ideas and quotes are organized. Displays control of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Shows careful proofreading.
Ideas and quotes are organized. Contains few errors in grammar, usage and mechanics. Shows some proofreading.
Ideas and quotes are organized. Contains errors in grammar, usage and mechanics which interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.
Contains too many errors in grammar, usage and mechanics; (and/or) errors seriously interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.




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Greek Mythology: The 12 Labors of Hercules





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