Greek Mythological Influence

47 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT identify both major characters from Greek Mythology and its influence on our language and stories.

Big Idea

The culture that "launched a thousand" others.

Warm Up

5 minutes

To get things going today, students will view the trailer to Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.  This movie just came to theaters a week ago and is a hot topic with students.

After viewing the movie trailer, I will ask students to discuss at their table the source of the Percy Jackson series and why it seems to popular with students today.  Inevitably they say mythology is cool, but they do not know that much about the actual characters and stories of Greek Mythology. This leads us into the lesson.


*An alternative to this opening - which I have used in the past when I do not have a current tie in like Percy Jackson - is to display the graphic at the top of this lesson instead of the movie trailer and discuss.  The graphic comes from the MythMan site.


15 minutes

This lesson is very conversational.  I basically walk through the attached Powerpoint with students.  Students are given a handout style copy of the powerpoint and are encouraged to add any extra notes that come out of our discussion to the slides as we go.

*The powerpoint must be downloaded to be viewed correctly and fully.

Additionally, students are encourage to check out Rick Riordan's "Meet the Greek Gods" page.  Rick Riordan adds a unique flair to the typical information by included what the Gods would be like today. For extended activities Rick Riordan's site has several great pages for students to Explore Greek Mythology.

Independent Work

25 minutes

During independent work time I want students to work in groups to discover new language and the Greek Mythological roots of that language.  I think this opens the door to true Common Core thinking about language in a friendly, fun way.  My students are seeing the relationships between words and meaning at a higher level which -like a bridge -leads to an understanding of "nuances in word meaning" and figurative language. This will also allow students to see the "bridge" when I (or they) bring up mythological connections between words, phrases, etc. as we go through the year.

To begin, I will ask students to access the Mythweb.

This site gives an explanation of several terms we use today and the Greek Mythology back story behind each.  My students have laptops in the classroom; however, this is not necessary.  The information could certainly be printed and prepared ahead of time for group use.

I review the first one "Herculean" and demonstrate how to use the page on the SMART board.  Then, I will assign each table a different word/phrase.  Students are able to scroll forward to their page and read the explanation and accompanying story from Greek Mythology.

The task is for students to use small pieces of posterboard and markers to create posters demonstrating the use of Greek references today to display around the classroom.  Each poster must include -

1. The term

2. Meaning of the term with mention of the Greek Mythological story where it originated.

3. An illustration

4.  A sentence written by the group using the term (term underlined).

The sentence should be the focal point of the poster. As students work, I will circulate around the room for assistance as needed.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

To close this lesson, I display the hair salon picture (attached in the resources here) on the SMART board and ask students if they would want to get their hair done here.

I then tell them to imagine that they did not have any understanding of who Medusa is and how that would take away meaning. We briefly discuss the importance of this type of knowledge in all parts of life.  

Finally,  challenge students to notice references to Greek Mythology in the books, magazines and newspapers they read, but also in everyday life in our community.  If/when they notice these they can send them to the class on Edmodo for extra credit.  The example text or photograph and an explanation must be included.