by Jaime Moulton

Greek Mythology and the English Language

Goals and Objectives

NC SCOS Objectives

COMPETENCY GOAL: The learner will understand important issues of a technology-based society and will exhibit ethical behavior in the use of computer and other technologies.
> Explore expressive materials that are read, heard, and viewed by:
...o generating a learning log or journal.
COMPETENCY GOAL: The learner will explore and analyze information from a variety of sources.
> Explore informational materials that are read, heard, and/or viewed by:
...o determining the importance of information.
...o making connections to related topics/information.
COMPETENCY GOAL: The learner will apply conventions of grammar and language usage.

Teacher-specified Objectives

  • Students will enhance and broaden their own use of the English vocabulary by defining each vocabulary term in their dictionaries.
  • Students will analyze the influence of Greek culture on the English language by identifying the relationship between the Greek myths and the English words within the dictionary.
  • Students will practice appropriate online research in their quest for finding connections between Greek mythology and English vocabulary.
  • Students will practice summarizing information and expressing it in their dictionary project.


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Materials and Equipment

  • Reserved computer lab, one computer per student, with internet and word processing access.
  • Assignment sheet for students including appropriate websites to help guide them in their projects.
  • Rubric for evaluating work.
  • Construction paper and art supplies (markers, pencils, glue, paper, etc.)

Safety Issues

  • It is very important for students to follow the school's Acceptable Use Policy when operating computer technology.  They should be respectful of the equipment and access websites for educational purposes ONLY.  The teacher will remind the students of the regulations prior to their visit to the lab.

Notes/Reminders to self

  • Make sure to review appropriate computer lab behaviors with the class before leaving for the lab.
  • Students will work in the same groups that they have for their culminating project.
  • Students will each be responsible for the same number of dictionary terms. 
  • Students will be given a copy of their rubric prior to the assignment.
  • Provide groups with some websites to guide their online research.

Key Vocabulary/Concepts

  • English vocabulary
  • Greek mythology
  • How to research using online resources
  • Following proper Fair Use policies by citing resources properly

Instructional Strategy

Focus and Review

Students will be introduced to the idea of lasting cultural influence on present day society.  Through discussion, we will review the themes that have traveled through literature descending from the ancient Greeks.  In introducing the activity for the day, the teacher will discuss how Greek mythology has played an important role in the English language. The teacher will give one example of a word derived from a Greek myth that was previously discussed.  Then the class will be asked, "Can anyone think of any other words that you think have been derived from Greek mythology?" A list will be compiled and then instructions for the activity will by given by the teacher and hand-outs distributed.

Statement of Objective

Today I want you to understand the relationship between Greek mythology and the English language.  During today's activity, you will create a dictionary of English words rooted in Greek mythology to expand your vocabulary knowledge, form connections between history and present-day, and refine your research and writing skills.

Sequence of Instruction

Teacher Input

The teacher will lead a discussion about Greek mythology and its influence on our world today, particularly in the English language.  An example will be given regarding one of the myths that the class has read.  Then the teacher will go over guidelines for behavior in the computer lab and the assignment for the day. The students will receive the following instructions:

Greek Mythology Dictionary

As we have learned, Greek mythology has held a strong influence on the world that has lasted throughout time.  One area where Greek influence is quite evident is within the English language.  Your task as a group is to create a dictionary of significant vocabulary words that have been derived from Greek mythology. 

Each dictionary entry should include the following:

  • The word and its definition typed
  • The mythological roots of the word by giving a summary of the myth it came from
  • An illustration, hand drawn or clip-art, to accompany the entry

The dictionary should be in alphabetical order, binded together, with a coverpage and bibliography of your sources.  Each group will be responsible for 20 words, that means 5 words per person.  The following websites will be helpful in guiding you in your research, please do not feel limited to these sources, but make sure you cite any additional ones you use:

 Guided Practice

While the students are working in the computer lab, the teacher will circulate the room to make sure that students are on task and monitor progress.  The teacher will also answer any questions and provide suggestions to the groups as they are working. The teacher will remind the students about the remaining time and make sure they are focused.  Students will also be able to collaborate their ideas with the members of their group

Independent Practice

Even though the students will be working in groups, they will each be responsible for 5 words independently.  This means that they must write their own definitions and summaries and proof-read their work as well.  This will be done independently with input from the group after completion.



The class will come together at the end of the period to discuss the activity and what they have learned.  Do they see a strong influence of Greek culture after this exploration? What have they learned about group work? What strategies did the students use to complete the assignment? How did the final product come out? What has everyone learned from this project? Students will be able to share their reflections and turn in their work at the end of class. 

The rubric that will be used for grading their work is attached below




Reflection on Lesson


Include here how lesson could be improved or changed and why. What was effective and what was not? What worked and did not work?