Myth Madness: The Trojan Horse & Achilles' Heel

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SWBAT recount myths and determine the central message of the myth.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will read the Greek myth of The Trojan Horse and complete a story map on the myth. They will also read the short allusion, Achilles’ Heel.

Enroll Students Into Learning

5 minutes

Today, I meet my students on the rug and we start out be reviewing what we know so far about Greek mythology.  We have already learned that there are three major reasons Ancient Greeks wrote myths: to explain something in nature, to teach a lesson, or to celebrate hero stories.  We also quickly review our Greek Mythology Family Tree Anchor Chart, which we just added to yesterday when we read the story of Persephone and Demeter.   

Experience Learning

5 minutes

Today, we’ll get started on reading our seventh and final myth together.  Before we begin reading though, I remind the students that there are many versions of the stories we’re going to be reading together over the next week or so.  We take a second to review how Greek myths belong to the genre of traditional literature, and as we know from studying this genre earlier in the year, traditional literature often started through oral story telling.  Since so many people told the stories, and then those stories were passed on by other people, the stories get changed and there become many different versions of the same story.  I explain to the kids that throughout the week or so that we’re reading Greek myths, I’ll bring in additional texts to read (which they can read during centers, when finished with work, etc.), but it’s important that they know they may come across another story that is similar, but not exactly the same as what we’ve read together.

With that, we had back to our seats and begin to read our last myth together.  Today, we read through the story of The Trojan Horse.  When students hear that we’re reading about The Trojan Horse, they’re very interested to hear this story because many of them think it’s going to be about a real horse.  As we read, the students find out that it’s not really a real horse, but nevertheless, they are captivated yet again-Greek myths are clearly one of their favorite texts we’ve read so far!

Label New Learning

5 minutes

We take a look at our Family Tree Anchor Chart.  I ask the students if we were introduced to any of the Olympians today in our text.  The students say no, that we really didn’t meet any gods or goddesses, so we do not need to add any god or goddesses clip art today.

After discussing any gods or goddesses met or not met, I ask if we’ve met any other characters in this myth.  The kids say yes, that we met warriors and of course the Trojan Horse.  We take a second to describe the warriors based on what we learned about them today: What character traits do they have?  Do you think their strategy was a good one?  I explain to the students that the warriors and the Trojan Horse aren’t exactly one of the Olympians, or the Titans.  Just like Medusa or Arachne, we can’t put them in the family tree with the gods and goddesses, but we can place them at the bottom of our chart, and we call this section “Allusions”.  I re-explain that “allusions” are stories (or parts of stories) that are often referred to in other stories, books, etc.  In fact, many of the allusions that we’ll come across over the next week or so as we read together are still relevant today!  I add our clip art picture of Pandora to our chart!  (Clipart created by The LibraryFox and is available for purchase within her TeachersPayTeachers store.)  

Demonstrate Skills

10 minutes

Now that we’ve read and discussed the text quite a bit, we’re going to work on completing a short story map for the myth.  The story map requires the students to identify the following:

-The myth’s characters

-The myth’s setting

-A summary of the myth

-The central message of the myth

Today, since this is our last story map, the students get busy right away on filling this out on their own.  In order to support them today, I simply walk around and check on their work, answering questions and providing guidance as needed, but the students make their own notes.  This way we’re taking one more step toward independence.


5 minutes

When we are all finished, I ask the students to take out their Greek Mythology booklet covers (which we created earlier and have stored in our red reading folders), open them up, and tuck their recently completed Trojan Horse story map inside.  Then I ask the students to put their Greek mythology booklets back into their red reading folders. 

Typically, in the past few days that we’ve read myths together, this would have been the end of our lesson today.  However, since we’re on our last myth today, and the kids have enjoyed them so much, I have one last, short little myth that goes along with the Trojan Horse to share with them today!  Before we wrap up today, we read the short myth Achilles’ Heel.   Again, the students thoroughly enjoy reading yet another myth!

Now we’re ready to conclude our learning today so we make sure everything is packed up and put away!  Tomorrow, we’ll work on reviewing the myths we’ve read and selecting our absolute favorites!