Mythology & Hands-on History
With their fantastic plots and extraordinary characters, myths are some of the most fun stories to read. We'll explore classic Greek and Roman myths as well as mythology from Egypt, the Vikings, East Asia and an assortment of other cultures. We'll read a range of myths and discuss similarities and differences: how do history, geography, and culture affect a civilization's myths? Students will also try their hands at writing myths, which will help them develop both their fiction and expository writing skills. A great myth not only entertains, but teaches a lesson or tells and origin story, and well-crafted myths lead a reader through a story clearly enough that, for at least a moment, the reader forgets science and believes that a natural phenomenon results from the whims of the gods.
In the afternoons, we'll get our hands a bit more dirty as we do some hands-on history. All of the students will participate in an "archealogy" dig, digging for artifacts and then studying those artifacts to learn clues about the people that might have left them behind. We'll study generally (e.g., shark teeth would come from a fishing culture, coins would indicate trade) and more specifically (tracking down the lettering and images on coins to identify languages, regions, and a culture's values). Students will then craft jewelry or other artifacts of their own from their favorite finds.
Other hands-on history activities will include making paper (and learning the history of paper), learning and making board games from other cultures, and learning and using writing systems/craft projects from other cultures and historical time periods.