In this lesson unit on ancient Greece, students compare three myths and create their own original myth.
- Identify a "myth" as a story created to explain scientific phenomena
- Complete a graphic organizer to explore new vocabulary
- Apply learned information from one text to another
- Draw conclusions and make inferences
- Use graphic representations to organize information
- Review different types of literary genre
- Word Questioning Worksheet printable
- Whiteboard or chart paper and markers
- A picture-book version of a myth (I like to use Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears to introduce the concept of a myth)
- An example of an unfamiliar myth
- Writing paper
- Make copies of the Word Questioning Worksheet printable for each student.
- Clear an area on your whiteboard or prepare a sheet of chart paper for a brainstorming session of different myth stories.
Step 1: Introduce this lesson with a read aloud of Verna Aardema's Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears. This is a familiar African tale that brings a multicultural perspective to the study of mythology.
Step 2: Review the different types of literary genres and their characteristics. Ask students to classify Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears into a genre. Lead the students in a discussion of a myth. Assess their prior knowledge of the term.
Step 3: Have a volunteer define the word myth using a dictionary and discuss its meaning. Tell students that a myth is a kind of story which attempts to interpret some aspect of the world around us, often times expressing its culture's moral values in human terms.
Step 4: Help students identify characteristics in the story you read aloud that are unique to mythical literature. Ask students the following inferential questions about the book:
- What is being interpreted in this story?
- Is the interpretation real or scientifically based? Why or why not?
- What moral value is being addressed in this story?
Step 5: Brainstorm other well-known stories that can be classified as myths. Write student responses on the board or chart paper. Ask students why they chose these particular stories. What characteristics classify these stories as myths? Help students refer to any interpretations, explanations, and other moral lessons addressed in each myth.
Step 6: Distribute the Word Questioning Worksheet printable. In small groups, have students complete the worksheet using the word "myth" as the Word Worth Watching. This activity will help you determine the students' understanding of a myth.
Step 7: When the groups are finished, have each group share the information they recorded on their worksheet.
Step 8: To conclude, read aloud a myth that is unfamiliar to the students (a picture book or a myth from another source will do). Have students write a paragraph or two either defending the story as a myth or explaining why it is not.
Supporting All Learners
Using graphic organizers appeals to visual/spatial learners, allowing mathematically gifted students an equal chance for success. Using the Word Questioning Worksheet printable will greatly benefit these students by providing a strategy for studying vocabulary that will help them in any core subject area. Allow students to work independently or in small cooperative groups.
- Word Questioning Worksheet
- Reading Response: Myth or Not Paragraphs
- Are students isolating the characteristics of a myth in their explanations on the Word Questioning Worksheet and in their paragraphs?
- Do students understand that many different cultures have similar myths?
Evaluate the Word Questioning Worksheets and the paragraphs about the unknown myth. Look for rationales in the paragraphs that include characteristics of a myth: about nature, explains a phenomenon, etc.