Mythology Jigsaw: Compare & Contrast

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SWBAT demonstrate comprehension by comparing and contrasting myths. Students will contribute to a discussion by reviewing key ideas and present findings clearly to an audience.

Big Idea

A flying horse? Spiders? A duel? Which myth do you want to read?


10 minutes

Class begins with a quick quiz meant to activate prior knowledge. Previous lessons have focused on the 8 common characteristics of myths. Today we start by determining just how well we are learning them. Each students is given a blank chart and fills in the first column by listing the characteristics. Some thoughts on starting class in this way appear here:

Expert Groups

25 minutes

After our quick review of the common characteristics of myths, we are ready to put that knowledge to good use by analyzing myths.

Today students have the opportunity to choose among three myths. Their choice is based on interest. Athene's City tells the story of how Athena became the guardian of Athens. A second choice is “Bellerophone” the tale of a prince’s taming of the winged horse Pegasus and a third choice, “Arachne”, teaches a lesson about the dangers of arrogance and boasting.

Once they choose a myth, the students read independently and answer the comprehension questions. Then they work together in small groups to fill in the common characteristics of myths chart being sure to include quotes and explanations for each category. A sample of a completed chart appears here.  It is important that each person in the group fills in a chart for they will need it for the next part of this activity.

Mixed Groups: Compare & Contrast

20 minutes

Now, new groups of three are formed with one person that has read each of the myths. Each student brings along his copy of the myth and the completed common characteristics chart. One by one each person summarizes the myth he read and reviews the common characteristics for it.

Then I pass out piles of sticky notes to each group. Assigning a separate color for each myth works best (blue = Arachne; yellow = Bellerophone; pink = Athene’s City). On them student write the name of a myth and one of the common characteristics present in that myth. As a group students choose two myths to compare and contrast by arranging the sticky notes on a Venn diagram. For a real challenge, they can sort the sticky notes for all three myths on the triple Venn diagram. In this way, students get to see the similarities and differences in the myths and are reminded of the fact that not all of the characteristics are present in every myth. Some questions to get/keep the discussion going include:

  • What characteristics appear most/least often?
  • Which do you think are most/least important?
  • What can you learn about mythology from this activity?