And it worked out perfectly.
To spark their interest and to prompt their thinking, I created a powerpoint with various images, depicting primary representations of the Olympians of Greek mythology and contemporary interpretations. Our focus was to explore how the myths and legends of ancient Greece have translated across time and continue to be important stories in present time. Along with recognizing present interpretations, we discussed the elements of these myths and legends that remained the same, through "symbols". These symbols, the trident for Psoseidon, the lightening bolt for Zeus...became the recognizable link between past and present. Their first assignment was to research all 12 Olympians, focusing on their symbols, characteristics, their powers, their realm and their purpose.
(Special Note: Because of the nature and the various components to this unit, I searched for some help, specifically for charts, lists, and lots, and lots of text. I printed copies of charts, brought in library books, referenced movies and research appropriate websites. The students also were encouraged to continue to research at home and finish anything and everything for homework. http://www.mensaforkids.org/lessons/greekmythology/mfklessons-mythology-all.pdf, http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/~/media/ArtsEdge/LessonPrintables/grade-5/greek_myth_character_chart.ashx, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0814255/)
The flow of the instructional sequence was slightly loose. The students independently monitored their progress and used my guidelines to set goals towards completing each component.
To really understand the essence of an Olympian, we really had to embody the full spirit and character of a great god. *insert climactic music*
Of course, the mighty Zeus called down from Mt. Olympus in search of another god or goddess.
Reflecting on the characteristics and attributes of the original 12 Olympians, each student interpreted their own strengths and metaphorically became an Olympian.