The Odyssey, Greek Mythology, and Epic Heroism

WISELearn Grant Lesson Plan
Title: The Odyssey, Greek Mythology, and Epic Heroism Author: Whitney Ness
Subject(s):  English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9Total Time: 5 weeks (45-minute periods)

Overview / Description:

Using The Odyssey by Homer as its anchor text, this unit touches on Greek mythology and explores the concept of epic heroism to answer the question, "What is a Hero?" in an attempt to connect epic heroism to modern day equivalents. In this unit, students will read excerpts from The Odyssey, learn related vocabulary, punctuation usage, literary devices, write a myth using an epic hero as as its protagonist, and research and write about a modern-day hero that will have a conversation with the great Odysseus. 

Learning goals/objectives: After completing this activity, students should be able to . . .

  • understand basics of Greek mythology, including gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus and basic myths
  • use commas efficiently and purposefully
  • identify and apply various related vocabulary 
  • interpret and familiarize themselves with language different from their own
  • identify and apply literary devices such as personification, simile, metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia, dramatic irony, and hyperbole 
  • identify and apply the characteristics of an epic and epic hero
  • research using credible sources
  • cite sources using MLA citation
  • create original stories that include a setting, rising action, conflict, climax, falling action, resolution, and characters
  • understand and apply elements of characterization in original writing 

Workplace Readiness Skill: 

 X   Social Skills X   Communication 
   Teamwork     X    Critical Thinking
   Attitude and Initiative  X  Planning and Organization
   Professionalism    Media Etiquette

Content Standards:

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).


By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.

Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. 

Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Write and edit work so that it conforms to the guidelines in a style manual (e.g., MLA Handbook, Turabian's Manual for Writers) appropriate for the discipline and writing type.

Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word's position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

Interpret figures of speech (e.g., euphemism, oxymoron) in context and analyze their role in the text.


Lesson plan outline attached below:

Download: Odyssey_Lesson_Plan_Outline

Greek mythology materials:

Download: Basic_Myth_Prompts.pdf

Pre-reading materials: 

Download: 12_gods_and_goddesses.pdf

Download: OdysseyResources.pdf

During-reading materials:

Download: Sentence_Types.pdf

Download: OdysseyVocab.pdf

Download: FilmStrip_Graphic_Organizer.pdf

Download: Odyssey_PostCards.pdf

Download: Odyssey_Main_Events_organizer.pdf

Download: Odysseus_Cause_Effect_Organizer.pdf

Download: Heros_Journey_Handout_Slips.pdf

Download: Extension_Projects_Odyssey.pdf

Download: Literary_Devices_in_the_Odyssey.pdf

Download: DearDiary_Odyssey.pdf

Download: Odysseus_Epic_Hero_Organizer.pdf

Download: Odyssey Quiz

Myth writing materials:

Download: Myth_assessment_handout.pdf

Download: Write_Myth_Planning_Chart.pdf

Download: Myth_grading_sheet.pdf

Hero conversation materials:

Download: Chain_of_Events_Organizer.pdf

Download: Hero_Conversation_Paper Assignment

Download: Famous_International_Figures_Chart.pdf

Download: Hero_Convo_Peer_Edit.pdf

Learning Activities:

Lesson plan outline provided in "materials" section in the link above

Learning Activity Task                                                Approximate time
for task
Greek mythology: Basic myths, gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, and the Trojan War1 week
Pre-reading and during-reading activities: The Odyssey 2 weeks
The Odyssey: Reading quiz1 day
Myth writing assignment 1 week
Hero conversation paper1 week

Assessment: See lesson plan outline and handouts attached in "materials" section to find the following summative assessments: 

  • The Odyssey reading quiz
  • Myth writing assignment 
  • Hero conversation paper
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