Who has hair of snakes and eyes that can turn you to stone? Medusa, of course! You can spice up your mythology unit or The Lightning Thief
novel study (Percy Jackson series) with these engaging literature activities.
Grab your students’ attention with two different views of this alluring mythological creature. “Medusa,” a humorous poem told in first person, characterizes the Gorgon as a frustrated woman who just can’t do a thing with her hair. Conversely, a brief narrative entitled “The Dreadful Gorgons” provides a third-person account of Perseus’s quest to slay the monstrous Medusa.
This set of five activities engages highly able (gifted and talented) fourth and fifth graders and all sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in these activities:
- Each student reads either the poem or narrative and writes a thorough character description.
Point of View
- Each student identifies the narrator’s point of view and describes how it influences events in a text.
- In pairs, students gather information from both texts to fill out an information sheet.
- Pairs share character descriptions point of view. Then they compare and contrast the two pieces, analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on character types from myths, and consider how original material is created.
Taking the Opposing Viewpoint
- Each student writes an original third-person narrative to parallel “The Dreadful Gorgons” but portrays Medusa in a favorable light.
• Activities – A set of directions guides the teacher in the five activities. Pick and choose or do all of them!
• Character Archetypes – A one-page list of archetypes helps students describe the characters in both pieces.
• Prometheus Character Description – This page can be used as an example. It lists steps in writing a thorough character description; presents a short myth, “The Story of Prometheus;” and provides a sample character description based on that story.
• “Medusa”* – This humorous poem, written by Oliver Herford, portrays Medusa as a girl who “couldn’t do a thing with [her hair].”
• “The Dreadful Gorgons”* – An adaptation of an excerpt from Old Greek Stories by James Baldwin, this piece tells the traditional tale of how Perseus slew Medusa.
• Character Description – This page prompts students to write a character description of Medusa based on either the poem or the myth.
• Character Description Rubric – Students are graded on their ability to write a topic sentence, support with evidence from the text, cite and quote, and wrap up with a conclusion.
Medusa Information Sheet – Students fill in the blanks (and color, if they want!) this information sheet. They list if she’s mortal or immortal, type of character, relatives, friends and enemies, powers and personality traits, home, myth, and any other information they’ve found. (This page came from a set of 38 Greek Mythology Research and Coloring Pages
• Comparing Two Texts – Students compare the two texts in a table. They tell the genre of each piece, point of view, whether the narrator was sympathetic or unsympathetic to Medusa, if the story is similar to or different from traditional mythology, and character archetype. (Answers are also included.)
• Themed Medusa Paper – Five different pieces of themed stationery make writing about Medusa fun! Kids can write their own version of Medusa, compare/contrast essays, etc.
Created by master teacher Brenda Kovich
, this activity is classroom tested and kid approved.
Click on PREVIEW to take a look at the entire product.
Are you looking for more mythology activities? Try these!
• Greek Mythology Research and Coloring Pages
• Words from Mythology
• Opinion and Persuasive Paragraphs Featuring Characters from Myths
• Mythology Greek Gods Poster Set
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For weekly ideas, activities, links, and freebies, check out my blog, Enjoy Teaching
I’m committed to continual improvement. This resource was updated and enhanced on July 7, 2017.
*Texts are in the public domain (USA).