The Odyssey: Projects


The Task
The student will...

* read background information on the character of Odysseus.
* read summaries of each book completed.
* complete questions about the epic.
* compose a 3-5 page essay about Homer's Odyssey.
* play the Odyssey Game.
* place each completed activity in Odyssey folder to turn in for evaluation by teacher.

Homer was one of the greatest epic writers of all time. Use the information below to guide you on your journey from Troy to Ithaca.

1. Learn about the life of Odysseus before he goes off to the Trojan War. This link has much great information about the life of Odysseus before, during, and after the Trojan War and his journey home.

2. If you do not understand what is happening, read the summary of each book. This will help explain what is happening in the story. This link gives you a brief summary of each book. To advance you must click on the arrow at the bottom of the page.

3. These essay topics will help your understanding of the interpretation of Homer's Odyssey. This link provides several essay topics about the Odyssey. Some are general, but some are very comprehensive and require a deep understanding of the epic.

4. Who will you be as you experience the journey of Odysseus in the Odyssey Game? This site is great. This game is fun as you decide who you want to be and the journey you will take. You must make rational decisions and use your head as you journey to Ithaca.

The Process
1. Learn about the life of Odysseus before he goes off to the Trojan War. Before you begin reading the Odyssey, read about the life of Odysseus. Place a brief summary of his life in your folder.

2. If you do not understand what is happening, read the summary of each book. This will help explain what is happening in the story. After you complete each book of the Odyssey, read the summary to be sure that you completely understand what is happening in the epic. Use the provided checklist to check each book read and the date completed.

3. These essay topics will help your understanding of the interpretation of Homer's Odyssey. Choose an essay topic and complete a 3-5 page essay about Homer's Odyssey. Your completed essay should be placed in your folder for evaluation.

4. Who will you be as you experience the journey of Odysseus in the Odyssey Game? Choose a character (Odysseus, Penelope, or Telemachus) and play the game. If you have read the epic you should not have any trouble deciding which path to choose. This activity is for your enjoyment. You should have items 1-4 in your folder and your folder turned in to me before you begin playing the game.

Learning Advice
Make a timeline of Odysseus' adventures. This will help you keep on track. As you read, answer the questions provided. This will keep you on task and will also help your understanding of the epic. DO NOT GET BEHIND. Getting behind could be costly.

Remember that you must have each completed activity (1-4) placed in your folder to turn in to me. This folder will complete your grade and study of Homer's Odyssey. I hope you have enjoyed your journey to Ithaca. Keep up the good work.





Some possible projects would be as follows:

1. Research the costumes worn during Ancient Greece and create an illustrated catalog of these designs or actually create an imitation of one of these designs. The actual costume could be life-sized or doll-sized.
2. Research the types of food eaten in Ancient Greece or Modern Greece and create a cookbook or bring in samples of these dishes to share with the class.
3. Research the weapons at the time of the poem and create a book of weapons.
4. Using paint, clay or another art medium, create a depiction of a scene from the poem or demonstrate various Greek gods/goddesses.
5. Make a comic book based on some aspect of Ancient Greece or illustrating the story of The Odyssey.
6. Create a video, complete with costumes and sets appropriate to Ancient Greece, depicting a scene(s) from The Odyssey.

After a student chooses an area of interest, the classroom then becomes a research center for him/her to find ways of discovering information needed to complete his/her project. The student is then responsible for sharing the knowledge discovered with the class, as an oral presentation, a tangible demonstration and a written description of the project.

Writing Assignment:

Write one of the "Further Adventures of Odysseus"
o No length requirement as long as all questions are answered:
1. Where did Odysseus go?
2. Why did he go there?
3. What did he do there?
4. How did he get away?
o Story must be proof-read (by student, help from classmates allowed):
1. correct spelling
2. correct grammar
3. neatly printed ("publish-able")
o Must be accompanied by illustration:
1. Must fit details of story.
2. Must be in color.
Finished assignments will be bound

Designing A Mythology Game

Designing a mythology game provides students with an ideal opportunity
to put their creative imaginations to work. Allow them to use their
expertise and enthusiasm to create a board game based on the famous
adventures of the Greek heros and heroines. Stories rich in details and
adventures include: Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece, the Labors of
Hercules, the adventures of Theseus, or Odysseus and the Cyclops.
Students choose a favorite story and note the details they wish to include
in the game. They write a rule book and design and produce the
necessary accessories: board, cards, dice, spinners, etc. Invite your
students to exchange their games and provide feedback to each other on
the ease of use and playability of their creations.

Values Discussion On The Nature Of Heroism

Tales from the past generally equate heroism with physical strength and
raw courage in the face of danger (see the stories of Hercules, Theseus
and Bellerophon). Recently, however, new definitions of heroism and
new kinds of heroes have emerged. To many, research scientist Jonas
Salk, astronaut John Glenn and civil rights leader Martin Luther King are
contemporary heroic types on the American scene. They do not slay
monsters or engage in bloody battles, but they have captured the
imagination of many Americans. What qualities of heroism, redefined, do
they possess? It is possible that they will some day find their place in the
myths our generation leaves as a legacy to future ages?

In another sense, POWs, sports figures, actors and actresses and some
holders of high office are looked at as heroes. Write a paper based on the
question, "Who is your hero...and why?" These additional questions will
aid your students in developing their essay: What are some of the traits
that make this person a hero to you? Are these heroic traits parallel in
some way to the traits of the ancient heroes you have learned about from
the Greek myths?

Greek Mythology And The Arts

The Ancient Greeks used the myths in all varieties of their artwork.
Architecture, sculpture, painting, pottery, metalwork, jewelry, weaving
and embroidery showed how important the myths were in the lives of the
people. Listed below are a variety of activities that will allow your
students to expand their knowledge of Greek mythology and arts. Visits
to libraries and museums as well as access to reference books you may
already have in your classroom will aid your students in the following

- Visit an art museum. See the sculpture, pottery, jewelry and coins of
ancient Greece. Record the myths that inspired them. Draw sketches of
some of your favorite items.

- Find photographs of the famous buildings of ancient Greece
(Parthenon, Knossos, Delphi). Prepare a short report about one or two
of them.

- Find sketches of the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles used in classical
architecture. Write a short paper in which you identify the differences
between the styles.

- Find pictures of Greek vases. List the myths that were used in the
decoration of the vases.

- Model a figure out of clay of one of the heroes or gods from the myths.

- Make your own design on paper to be used for one of the following: a
vase, a shield for a hero or a robe for a goddess.

- Create a panel mural depicting one of your favorite myths.

Students Can Be Mythmakers

There are a variety of other ways that students can work creatively with myths. The activities described below can be adapted for use at any

- A valuable experience for students is writing, telling and illustrating their own myths. These can be recorded in little booklets and compiled in a class anthology. Your students can write a myth explaining a natural phenomenon or create a story with a moral lesson. Some students may want to think of an emotion (love, envy, fear or jealousy) and write an adventure using that emotion as the theme. After the myths have been written, invite your students to read their myths to the class.

- Assign each student or pair of students a character from the Greek
myths (Daedalus, Persephone, Athena, Pan, etc.). Ask them to find out
who their character is and what significance he or she plays in the myths.
Upon completion of their research, have each student or pair present a
short oral report to the class.

- Impromptu role playing offers students an opportunity to interpret
the Greek myths. Ask your class to brainstorm a list of characters and
their corresponding adventures. Begin with a dramatic incident such as
Odysseus being held captive by Polyphemus the Cyclops and let your
students build in as much action and dialogue as they wish. Medea
reacting to being abandoned by Jason after aiding him in his quest offers
the basis for an interesting monologue. Your students may want to refine
their role-playing by trying many versions, discussing them and taping the
best. They can combine their episodes into a dramatic collage or present
one-act plays complete with props and costumes based on specific

- Every day we come across references to myths, especially in
advertising. Encourage your students to watch for these and bring in
examples for discussion. Why do florists use Mercury (the Greek
Hermes) as a symbol for their delivery service? Why is a magazine of the
arts called Daedalus? And so on. Ask your students to create their own
ad campaign (using a real or imaginary product) that features one of the
gods or heroes from the Greek myths.

- Have your students pick a character from the Greek myths and create a
"family tree" based on the information they can find about the various
gods, goddesses and heroes who have passed through their character¹s
life. If your student picks Medea, he or she would probably want to
include Jason, Theseus and King Aeëtes in the family tree. Family trees
can be illustrated with pictures and accompanied by short descriptions of
each individual's respective importance in the character's life.


Another prewriting idea to help students invent stories for articles
requires a prompt for five minutes of writing. "You are a famous reporter
and have been given an exclusive interview with _________. What juicy
information would your readers want to know?" They can choose any
mythological character to fill in the blank, or the class can brainstorm a
list of names like Medusa, Orpheus, Daedalus, King Minos, etc.


Designed to inspire quotes in interviews, this activity can also generate
dialogue for stories. Put the names of mythological characters on strips of
paper and have students draw one out of a hat. Ask them to write as
many direct quotes as possible for that character. For example, the
Cyclops might be overhead saying, "I've had my eye on Odysseus for a
while." Five minutes of prewriting can generate a variety of quotes.


This fifteen-minute activity groups three students who collaborate on a
story. Given five minutes each, students take turns writing. The first
student might begin, "A king once turned his daughter into a golden
statue." Supplying details to develop the story, the second student uses
the five minutes to write the body, and the last person ends the story. If
each student begins a story during the first five minutes, all three have the
chance to write a beginning, middle and end.


Before having your students prewrite the advertisements, ask them to
bring an advertisement from any newspaper which satisfies this question:
"What product would a specific mythological character advertise?" The
following day, tape the ads on the chalkboard. Popular ads might include
beauty products, florists, automobiles, speedy services, clothes or bottled
water. Choosing one of the ads, students prewrite for ten minutes. Offer
them colored markers if they want to illustrate. Keep the advertisements
on the board to inspire further writing.

"Dear Aphrodite"

Once students develop a feeling for the style of writing used in tabloids,
give them the option of using that style to write pieces found in other
newspapers. "Dear Aphrodite" letters, complete with answers from the
love goddess, in the style of "Dear Abby," provide more prewriting
practice for their newspaper. Students write a "Dear Aphrodite" letter,
exchange it with another person, and then write a response.

Letters to the Editor

Because letters to the editor are based on current topics, ask your class
to help you list a few on the board. Once you have a list, students can
brainstorm specific myths that match the topics. Some examples of topics
and myths are theft (Jason and the Golden Fleece), drinking (Polyphemus
and Odysseus), marital problems (Zeus and Hera) and kidnapping
(Hades and Persephone). For the ten-minute prewriting, students choose
one and express their opinions in letters to the editor.

Classified Advertisements

The question, "What would a mythological character have to sell?"
provides a prompt for a five-minute prewriting. Students make their own
lists which might include thunderbolts, archery lessons, love potions,
dating services, marriage counseling or muscle fitness. With a combined
list of suggestions, each person chooses one from the list and writes for
five to ten minutes.


A newspaper isn¹t complete without an obituary column. For this activity,
the class brainstorms a list of heroes in mythology that might include
Odysseus, Hercules, Achilles or Jason. They write for five minutes about
one of the heroes. Creating the details of the hero¹s life can point a
student in the direction of a future piece for the newspaper.

Each prewriting activity can be followed by a voluntary sharing by
reading to the class. Once past the prewriting phase, students go on to
choose those pieces that they want to draft. From the drafting phase,
they move to shaping, revising and editing all articles. To facilitate the
composing process, group, peer and teacher conferences are used. If
there is time, conduct a mini-lesson on writing interesting leads and using
a journalist¹s questions. Class time can be used to assemble the paper. It
is amazing how someone in each group is an artist while another has a
computer to print the paper.

Students will take great pride in their creativity while you can take greater
pride in their application of writing skills to a new subject.


Help The Fight Against Spam!