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If done right, mythology can be exciting for students to study. At this point, students will want to research mythological characters on their own. This lesson provides that opportunity. Explain that students will research these myths only to present them to the class. They will be graded on presentation quality, accuracy to myth studied, and display of some sort with the character in the center. Because middle school students really enjoy heroes and tales of love, I chose the following mythological figures (these studies will also provide background for them as they watch the film and study western literature:
In groups of no more than four, have students choose which myths they want to research. Remind them that the information they find needs to be presented well because the whole class will be evaluated on it.
Once students have chosen their myth of study, they will do the following assignment:
Students will be placed in groups of three to do research on a Greek god or goddess of their choice. They will present their research to the class. The following web sites and literature material will aid in the exploration of your desired myth:
GENERAL GREEK MYTHOLOGY
JASON OF THE ARGONAUTS
Mythology (Hamilton 1942)
PERSEUS and ANDROMEDA
Bullfinch's Mythology(Bullfinch 1979)
APOLLO and DAPHNE
Mythology (Hamilton 1942)
Bullfinch's Mythology (Bullfinch 1979)
CUPID and PSYCHE
To present the information regarding the god or goddess, students may do one of the following projects:
a. Create a drawing of a god or goddess as he or she behaves in a popular myth. This includes writing a summary to include all of the research done on the subject.
b. Create a script and act out the myth researched dealing with the god or goddess. The scene should also compare the myth taken from the other culture to the Greek god or goddess researched.
All students will be asked to participate in the presentation while classmates take notes on the subjects. The information presented will be on the mythology test.
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Just one day of research does not give students enough time to finish collaborating on their projects. Hopefully, they have finished gathering all the information they needed in the computer lab the previous day. If not, students would always be allowed to use my computer in my room (not all teachers have that ability). For those students who are behind, it may be beneficial to check out the mythology books for students to use in the classroom (Bulfinch and Hamilton). This will allow students time to gather information needed.
While I wait for students to finish their projects, I will refer them to a few myths researched at the beginning of the unit. Two myths in particular will help illustrate the effects of change throughout literature. Students will have already gathered that a myth is defined as a story meant to explain natural phenomena that has been passed down from generation to generation. The passing down will be the focus of this lesson. We may explore the concept of change. I would use generalizations such as Change is inevitable, Change leads to Change, etc. Then I would have students explore the myths to see what other generalizations they can develop from the reading. Another important part of this unit is for students to see that literature changes over time based on author's interpretation just like movies change stories based on director's interpretation (something explored later).
The first myth students will need to remember is "Phaethon, Son of Apollo," found in the Prentice Hall book. Students will need a copy of the previous story, or at least their notes on it. I would then read the Adventures for Readers version of the same story, "Phaethon." After the latter version is read aloud, students may stay in their research groups to create a double bubble comparing the two myths. One difference, I will point out is that in the Prentice Hall version, Phaethon is the son of Apollo, whereas, in the Adventures for Readers version, Phaethon is the son of Helios, the Sun. These little differences can be used to prove the previous generalizations concerning change. This will also help students identify what happens when another author writes on the same story. I will have them do the same activity without my help by comparing "Demeter and Persephone," found in the Prentice Hall text, to "Origin of the Seasons," found in the Adventures for Readers text. Students will need to produce a double bubble mind map OR a venn diagram comparing the two stories.
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Names ________________________________ Period: ________ Of ________________________________ Students: ________________________________ Mythological figure: ____________
These pages were developed through GirlTECH, a teacher training program sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center. Pages copyright July 1999 by Sarah Fattore-Castro.
Thanks to the RGK Foundation and EOT-PACI for its generous support of GirlTECH.