Make myths fun in your classroom with your pupils’ favourite superheroes!
An easy way for children to understand the relation between myths and their role as a genre is by connecting popular film or comic book characters to those which originate from Greek, Norse Roman or Egyptian myths. For example, did you know that the film ‘The Mask’ is based on Greek mythology?
Create your own superhero story based on the properties of a myth
- To discuss the difference between a myth and a legend
- To learn the basic structure of a myth
- To create their own modern myth through creative writing
What is a myth?
A basic definition of a myth is it being a story which is told to describe the reason why or how the world came to be. This definition separates a myth from being a legend: a legend describes an event of cultural significance, which may or may not have happened, that has been passed down through the generations and has evolved to contain mythical elements.
What to do
Ask the children to think of an example of both a myth and a legend.
Compare the stories of two popular examples of a myth and legend, such as Theseus and the Minotaur and the legend of King Arthur, and ask the children to list out what they think it is that makes one a myth and the other a legend.
Discuss how popular characters in modern culture have used myths as their source. Some well-known film characters and their mythical counterparts include:
- Captain America versus Perseus
- Wonder Woman versus Hera
- Superman versus Zeus
- Batman versus Hades
What to do
Introduce the basic structure of a myth. There are four basic myths which can be classified as being:
- Creation Myths
- Myths of Gods and Goddesses
- Trickster Myths
- Myths of Death, Resurrection and the Underworld
To help pupils to imagine a modern myth of their own and produce a story, we have a few tips on how to create a superhero of their very own!
What to do
Ask the children to decide on what their myth will be about:
- A story containing elements of nature, such as animals, plants or the environment
Think of how Storm is able to control the elements in the X-Men
- A story featuring a superhero power which a God or Goddess might have
Think of what makes Thor a great character in The Avengers
- A story based on a character who delights in causing chaos by breaking the rule
Think of Loki and the tricks he plays for fun against his step-brother, Thor
- A story of a dark brooding character who rises from the depths to become a hero
Think of Batman and the way he wrestles with the darker side of his character
Discuss what elements are contained within a myth. These can include:
- A villain, or multiple villains, to rival your hero
- A journey for your hero to travel
- An obstacle for your hero to overcome
- How their superhero powers help them to achieve this
- Is it always a happy ending?
National Curriculum 2014 English
Year 5 and 6 – Reading comprehension – pupils should be taught to maintain positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by:
- Increasing their familarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage and books from other cultures and traditions
- identifying and discussing themes and conventions in and across a wide range of writing
- making comparisons within and across books
Years 5 and 6 – Writing Composition – pupils should be taught to plan their writing by:
- Identifying the audience and purpose for the writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own.
- Noting and developing initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary.
- In writing narratives, considering how authors have developed characters and settings in what pupils have read, listened to or seen performed.