Michael Conte, Jr.
How often does a child wander away and dream about adventure and excitement? How often does he want to escape his environment to be and do something he feels he could never do in real life? Where does the Poseidon in the
come from? In the
Clash of the Titans
, who were all of those gods and heroes?
These moments in a child’s life and more can occur through the study of Greek and Roman mythology. Through myths, we can help children escape reality for a short time, leave New Haven, and live through adventures with the heroes. We can take the children back to an era when men worshiped gods, superstitions ran rampant and heroes lived a glorious yet all-too-short life. We can also introduce the children to a new type of literature that will enable them to pursue their academic training while also contributing to their overall growth.
The unit that I have written will be used to introduce children to Greek and Roman mythology, and to excite their interest so that eventually they will study this subject further on their own. The unit is intended for middle school children and will last approximately six weeks.
What is a myth? Certainly Homer did not think he was writing mythology in the
but actual historical fact, The definition that I will use for myth and mythology is taken from Huck and Kuhn “a single myth is a narrative that tells of origins, explains natural or social phenomena or suggests the destiny of man through the interactions of man and supernatural beings. A mythology is a group of myths of a particular culture.”
Greek and Roman mythology, in my unit, will be studied by the children through modern retellings of the ancient myths, the children;will also be able to acquire a sense of how myths have influenced art and literature in the contemporary world, The children will also get a sense of how the Greeks and Romans, without the techniques and instruments of modern science, tried to explain events in their lives through mythology, and they will be able to compare this kith the knowledge we have today.
The children will enjoy reading the myths as pure entertainment because they are action-packed, suspenseful and deal with problems and conflicts that the children will readily relate to their own lives. At this level of study, in order to help the children keep totally involved, it is not important for them to be required to know all the names of the gods and goddesses or their family histories. However, provision should be made by the teacher for those children who would like to do an in-depth study. Children who want to continue their studies in Greek and Roman mythology should be encouraged and the suggested book list provided in this unit will serve as a good starting point.
This unit is also designed to help stimulate the children in the classroom who are having difficulty with the basal series by providing an alternative unit to assist the teacher in teaching Language Arts and Beading skills, However, an indirect result of a unit of Greek and Roman mythology will be an introduction into a new area of literature and oral history, It will provide an exposure that.will enhance the child’s educational program by permitting the teacher to investigate other areas stemming from the basic unit. The other areas can include Science, Geography, and Art to name a few.