What Is Mythology?

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SWBAT develop a working definition of ‘mythology’ and build background for a study of this literary genre and readiness to explore the characteristics of myths.

Big Idea

Mythology is part of the oral tradition and there are different types of myths and purposes for each story.


15 minutes

The appeal of Greek mythology to today’s youth is evident in the books, television series and movies featuring the twelve Olympians and the host of characters that inhabit this genre. Heroes, villains, otherworldly creatures, magic…what’s not to love? Most, if not all, sixth graders have some familiarity with mythology. To get the unit off to a grand start, I tap into that fountain of knowledge by having students respond to the prompt: What is mythology? Then I have students share what they wrote with the class.

See here for a couple of journal responses and watch the video:


Time to Read

20 minutes

In a continued effort to build background knowledge, we read the three-page packet “What is Mythology?” together. It will become a handy resource as we make our way through this unit of study.

I particularly like this document because the chart on the first page is arranged in a way that information is easily accessible and the article helps students make a variety of connections. The content references historical events students are familiar with from social studies class and modern American literary figures such as Paul Bunyan and John Henry. Reading these points, students are reminded of other, and sometimes more personal, connections.

Quiz Time

15 minutes

I have students take a quick quiz to assess their comprehension of the article.  You can access the ten-question quiz for the article we just read by logging into your teacher account on Socrative.com and entering this code: SOC-3691368.

A slightly different print copy of the quiz is available here. Its purpose is to highlight the main points of the text. As you will notice, it is not particularly challenging and does not ask in-depth questions---those will come later!