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The Odyssey Lesson Plans

The Odyssey by Homer is an epic poem that has survived thousands of years! It is the story of Odysseus, the crafty king of Ithaca, whose idea for the Trojan Horse helped win the war with Troy. Following his victory in Troy, he encounters many trials that delay him from reaching his home, Ithaca, and his queen, Penelope. Odysseus' Hero's Journey is a long and arduous adventure filled with peril, temptation, and wits.

Student Activities for The Odyssey

Essential Questions for The Odyssey

  1. What makes a hero?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of immortality?
  3. How has the concept of a hero changed over decades? Over centuries?
  4. How does an epic differ from other works of literature?

The Odyssey Summary

Homer's Odyssey is one of the oldest and best-known works of literature. Taking place after the fall of Troy, the hero, Odysseus, is shipwrecked at sea with the gods against him. As he struggles to return home to Ithaca, he makes his journeys through many lands and overcomes many obstacles. Aided by Athena, Odysseus is guided through the lotus eaters, and Circe’s island, past Polyphemus the Cyclops, through the land of the dead, off the Sun god's island, and back to Ithaca.

His homecoming is not easy. In his absence, his home was overtaken by suitors who ravage his home, land, and compete for his wife’s hand in marriage. Believing that Odysseus is dead, the suitors force his wife, Penelope, to choose one of them to marry. She devises a plan to stall them while her son is out in search of her husband. She promises to choose a suitor once she finishes weaving a tapestry in her husband's honor, but, unbeknownst to the suitors, she pulls the weaving apart each night so she never makes progress.

When Odysseus arrives home, Athena disguises him as an old beggar so he may enter his home undetected. With the help of his son, Telemachus, and a faithful swineherd, they devise a plan to take his home back. Through a series of tests, Odysseus proves his strength and defeats the suitors.

Where would heroic tales be if it weren't for the Greeks' epic poetry? The word epic, is even derived from the Greek word for poetry: epikos. Homer, the author of The Odyssey, pioneered Greek epics. The poem itself, a story of love, adventure, war, and gods, is a classic that paved the way for all adventure writing to come.

Other Activity Ideas for The Odyssey

  1. Tell the story from Telemachus or Penelope's point of view.
  2. Create an alternate ending to the epic with a storyboard.
  3. Show steps or mistakes that led our hero further from home.
  4. Make a storyboard depicting some crazy and epic epithets!

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How To Facilitate a Discussion on The Odyssey Using Storyboard That


Introduce Storyboard That

Teachers can first introduce students to Storyboard That and how they can use it to understand many different works of literature. Briefly introduce the concept of templates and using activities for better understanding.


Carry Out Activities

Storyboard That gives multiple options of activities that students can carry out with the help of teachers to understand the concept. Activities such as making character maps, using visual vocabulary, identifying themes, etc are the most informative and helpful.


Compare and Contrast

Students can compare similar works of literature on Storyboard That and use the findings according to their understanding. They can find a diverse range of novels, poems, and activities on Storyboard That to help them with the comparison.


Initiate Class Discussions

After going through different activities related to The Odyssey, teachers can encourage the students to carry out a class discussion where they can discuss the new things they learned and how they gained insights and perspectives through these activities.


Reflect on Discussions

Teachers and students can reflect on these discussions to find out how they can use these activities in a better way. They can also focus on the actual content of the discussion about The Odyssey and what they have learned from this epic poem.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Odyssey

What is “The Odyssey” about?

Following the Trojan War, "The Odyssey" follows the hero Odysseus on his journey to return home. The narrative describes his journey to find his wife Penelope and son Telemachus, as well as his adventures, struggles, and contacts with mythological beings and gods. Throughout his journey, Odysseus went through many obstacles and hardships which are portrayed in the poem using descriptive language.

Who is the writer of the epic poem “The Odyssey”?

The epic poem "The Odyssey" is assigned to the Greek poet Homer. However, the true authorship is disputed, and some experts believe it was written by many poets over time.

When and where was "The Odyssey" written?

During the ancient Greek period, "The Odyssey" is thought to have been written about the 8th century BCE.

Who are the main characters of the poem “The Odyssey”?

The major protagonists in the story are Odysseus, his wife Penelope, his son Telemachus, the goddess Athena (she helped Odysseus through his struggles), the god Poseidon ( he proved to be one of the obstacles through the journey), and many mythical monsters including the Cyclops and the Sirens.

Find more lesson plans and activities like these in our English Language Arts Category!
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