I love the quote from Rick Riordan, the author of The Mark of Athena. He says, “Being a hero doesn’t mean you’re invincible. It just means that you’re brave enough to stand up and do what’s needed.” When I think of Greek mythology, I think of heroes. Below you will find 10 mentor texts and myth activities to use in class! Do you want myth passages with questions to print and use in the classroom? Go HERE!
What is Greek Mythology?
Greek Mythology is a series of stories about gods, heroes, and rituals of ancient Greeks. Myths began as traditional stories from our ancient history, but since word-of-mouth was really the only way of recording these stories, they often became extremely exaggerated. Therefore, these traditional stories eventually morphed into myths!
Why teach Greek Mythology?
There are many lessons to be learned from Greek Mythology. First and foremost, it identifies GOOD versus EVIL. There are morals and lessons related to WISDOM (Athena), COURAGE (Ares), and SELF CONTROL (Odysseus) throughout Greek Mythology. Plus, much of our world comes from Greek Mythology. Think of the names of planets and constellations. There are also many advertisements around Greek Mythology! You will learn more about that in the Advertising Detective Game.
How can you introduce a Greek Mythology Unit?
We learned what Greek Mythology is and why it’s important to teach. So…how do we get started?
- TELEPHONE GAME: I like to start by using the old-fashioned TELEPHONE GAME! It’s interactive and honestly, it’s fun! The first person in the circle whispers a word or phrase into the ear of the person sitting or standing to their right. The game continues as players whisper the word or phrase to the next person until it reaches the last person playing. The last person announces what he/she heard. More than likely, the word or phrase changed along the way. Discuss how it changed. EXPLAIN that this game is related to the meaning of MYTHS. Myths BEGAN as traditional stories from our ancient history. Since there wasn’t technology back then to record the stories, they often got jumbled and exaggerated. That’s how myths are formed!
- ADVERTISING DETECTIVE: Find Greek mythology in today’s world or popular clothes brands, everyday household items, and so much more! Make a list of what you find in advertising. Here are some examples!
- Nike: Your shoes! In ancient Greek religion, Nike was the goddess of VICTORY!
- Ajax: Your dish detergent! Ajax was one of the heroes in the Trojan war, known for his STRENGTH and BRAVERY!
- Trident: Your chewing gum! Trident gum takes its name from the three-pronged spear that belonged to Poseidon, god of the sea.
Myth Mentor Text
Now let’s jump to the most overwhelming part…WHICH BOOKS do we use to teach Greek Mythology? Well, that’s totally up to you, but to save you some time, I gathered a few good books for you to check out. For a full list, go to my Amazon list.
Middle school is tough for everyone, EVEN Greek gods and goddesses. This series shows the trials and tribulations of your average middle schooler, with a not-so-average school setting. The series focuses on a group of diverse friends at Mount Olympus Academy where they learn how to develop their divine skills.
While Odysseus is on a journey, his loyal dog protects his family. Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, and their son, Telemachos, are repeatedly saved by Argos throughout the story. Greedy men in the village want to marry Penelope since Odysseus is believed to be dead, and kill Telemachos because they see him as a threat. Argos the dog protects Penelope and Telemachos for twenty years, which is when Odysseus returns.
Already facing his own battles as a teenager, Percy Jackson discovers he is the descendant of a Greek god. He then learns how to use his powers and embarks on a new adventure. He must use his powers to settle an ongoing battle amongst the gods.
Circe, a very powerful sorceress, got her hands on an ancient, magical statue that had a mythical monster inside. Circe released the monster and it overpowered her mind—taking her powers! Wonder Woman is the only one able to fight the monster’s and Circe’s combined strength. It’s up to Wonder Woman to battle the beast in order to save her enemy and the world from destruction!
On his tenth birthday, Pandemonius (also known as Demon) is called upon to look after the mythical creatures in Olympus (Ancient Greece) where strange beasts still walk the earth. Demon has several comical moments and adventures during his time as the Official Beast Keeper!
At just 10-years-old, Zeus sets off on a journey and fulfills his destiny as King of the Gods. Unfortunately, earth has been taken over by dangerous, giant Titans who snack on humans. Zeus must use his powers and his trusty thunderbolt to rescue his fellow Olympians and the world.
With a complete 180-degree spin on Greek mythology, Hades is portrayed in a positive light, while Zeus is seen as a liar. In this series, Zeus made up the original myths to make himself look better. Hades is now ready to set the record straight on who is good and who is evil in Greek Mythology.
With the same comedic elements and wit as Percy Jackson and the Olympian Series, this book is about a different side of Mount Olympus. Percy Jackson explores 12 demigods and obstacles they face during their lifetime. Through this book we get an inside scoop on the Greek Heroes from a demigod himself (Percy Jackson).
Young teen, Pandora, is faced with a dilemma many middle-schoolers can relate to when she can’t figure out what to bring for her school project. Her decision is made when she finds a box said to contain something horrific inside that could inflict all of mankind with the wrath of gods and goddesses. The box ends up getting opened, unleashing evil and misery into the world. Pandora must now collect all of the evils within a year’s time.
Mordicai Gerstein does an amazing job telling the story about Hermes, the son of Zeus and the Nymph Maia in this humorous graphic novel. You will love how this story plot unfolds, beginning with Hermes’ first word, “Gimme!” Hermes manages to trick a turtle and steal his brother Apollo’s cows. Find out how he later redeems himself when Mars is kidnapped!
I hope you enjoyed this post and are ready to ROCK a myth study in your classroom!