Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Myth Madness: Persephone & Demeter - Section 2: Experience Learning


Today, after reading the myth of Persephone and Demeter, a student rose their hand and said: "Mrs. Hesemann, I understand that the central message of this myth is to explain why the seasons change, but that's not really true.  The seasons don't change because Demeter is sad or happy.  The seasons change because our planet is either closer or further from the sun.  Why did the Ancient Greeks think the seasons changed because of Demeter's feelings?"  I am SO happy that the student brought this up and is truly thinking about the messages behind the myths!  I redirect our students' attention to our anchor chart that reminds us of the three reasons the Ancient Greeks primarily told myths:

-to explain something in nature

-to teach a lesson

-to celebrate hero stories

Now, I explain that the last two don't really apply here, but the first one, trying to explain something in nature, is exactly what was happening here.  I ask the kids to think back to earlier this year when we studied the planet Earth and space.  We learned about the seasons, and why they change, and we know that our seasons change because of the way the Earth rotates and orbits the sun.  However, I ask the kids to think about what we have learned about the Ancient Greeks as a civilization: Did they have the science tools we do today?  Did they know what we know now?  Since we can understand that they did not necessarily know what we know today, the kids were then able to understand why they'd create a story like this, trying to explain something that happened in nature.  If they didn't, they may not have another explanation, and so they were trying to make sense of their world.  

I think my favorite part of this conversation though was at the very end, when the student who had initially asked the question commented with, "Well, even though it's not accurate, it's still a very interesting and entertaining story!"  Indeed!  Even though we may see that these are obviously not factual accounts, the students can still appreciate their quality as a story!  The appreciation of literature-in Grade 3!  AWESOME!

  Reflection: Why did they think that?
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Reflection: Why did they think that?
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Myth Madness: Persephone & Demeter

Unit 3: Greek Mythology Unit
Lesson 7 of 14

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

Big Idea: In this lesson, students will read the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter and complete a story map on the myth.

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