Middle school students are often fascinated by Greek mythology. Tales of powerful gods and goddesses can spark the imagination of even the most reluctant student, and it is important for teachers to stimulate that interest with creative projects and lessons that incorporate language arts, drama, social studies and geography skills.
Create a Myth
Create your own myth. Mythology is an interpretation of the world, so encourage students to come up with their own interpretations of particular events. For example, students could write a story about how something was formed, such as an animal, plant or geographic feature from the natural world, or something prominent in their lives, like homework, recess or detention. The myth could include real gods and goddesses, or students could invent their own pantheon for the project.
Greek mythology is ripe with interesting characters and storylines, perfect for a skit or drama production. Ask groups of students to write and perform skits of well-known myths. The performances could be literal interpretations of the stories, or students could get creative and reinterpret the myths in a modern context; for example, students could explore how Aphrodite would handle a seventh grade dance or how Apollo would handle bullies on the school bus. If a skit is not possible, ask students to prepare a monologue in the character of a Greek god or goddess, covering their life story, powers and the myths where they appear.
Report the News
Middle school students can learn about journalism and Greek mythology by putting together a newspaper or website. Allow students to be creative, retelling myths as news stories or creating classified ads that would be placed by the gods. If your school has the resources, your class could produce an evening news broadcast or commercials incorporating Greek deities and mythology.
Create a Map
Greek myths took place in various locations in Greece. To relate your study of Greek mythology to geography, have students create maps detailing the locations of mythological events. For example, the Twelve Labors of Heracles took place in multiple locations, and students could create maps of Greece marking each of the Labors with a symbol of the task. Other locations that students could map include Mount Olympus, or the locations of the oracles and homes of the gods and goddesses.
Projects based on Greek mythology lend themselves perfectly to art projects. Show students images of Greek art, such as the etchings that appear on ancient pots and other artefacts, and ask them to create their own drawings or designs to illustrate myths. Alternatively, students could create their own illustrated story or comic books based on myths.
Another art option is to ask students to create a representation of a particular god or goddess, either a literal interpretation, such as a portrait or sculpture of the deity, or a more symbolic piece, such as a representation of items associated with that god.