The Adventures of Odysseus

An important part of life is overcoming challenges. Today in class you will be reading about the challenges that the Greek hero, Odysseus, faced on his return journey home from the Trojan War.

Click the following link for the site you will be using: The Travels of Odysseus

Your task:

1.  Read the story of Odysseus’ journey and visit the Explore and Challenge section.

2. Select one challenge that Odysseus faced.

5. Using Comic Life, illustrate and describe the challenge that Odysseus faced. Be sure to include how he dealt with this challenge. Use captions under pictures to give setting. Use speech bubbles for dialogue, and thought balloons to show what characters are thinking. Have fun with it.



Rites of passage in Sparta

In Sparta, the agoge (a-go-jay) was a definite test that boys underwent before they could be considered men. Can you think of anything nowadays that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood? Describe your ideas in the comments section.

Explore the sites below and gain more knowledge about life in Sparta. Be familiar with these two sites for Thursday. You never know what might pop up in class…

Site #1


Today’s Sparta Powerpoint

A Fun Game – Are you strong enough to become a citizen?


Visit both websites, play the fun game and review the powerpoint.


Friday – 11/10/2013

Ancient Greece Unit Test

Click HERE for a copy of the Ancient Greece Unit Test Study Guide.

Map of ancient Greece

It’s time to finish up our study of anciet Greece, show what we have learned, and move on to Rome. Follow the study guide and review all of the classwork, homework, worksheets, blog entries, video questions, class discussions, flashcards, and books you’ve read.

The assessment will focus on knowing important aspects of ancient Greece, with a special emphasis on applying what you’ve learned to the world today. I want you to make connections between ancient Greece and the world today. You’ll need to be able to apply your knowlege and think broadly.

Map of ancient Greece

Test Dates:

Wednesday 05/12/12 – Day 2 social studies

Thursday 06/12/12 – Day 1 social studies

Greek Wars

BBC site for Greek Wars:

Key terms to know:

hoplites – Greek foot soldiers

siege – surrounding and attacking a fortified place

phalanx – Greek attack formation with spears

cavalry – soldiers on horseback

trireme – Greek war ship

Here are some scenes from the movie Troy, that show some of the battle tactics we discussed in class:



This is the History Channel scene of the battle of Thermopolae with the infamous 300 Spartan warriors who valiantly fought until the end.


Writing Your Personal Myth

A myth is a made-up story that often explains the existence of a natural phenomenon — such as where thunder comes from or why snow falls from the sky. Myths often include gods and goddesses and other supernatural characters who have the power to make extraordinary things happen.

Click HERE for a guide to writing your own personal myth. Read the myths of other students from all different ages and parts of the world.

YOUR TASK – Write a myth of your own. Be sure to include all of the Elements of a Myth.

How you’ll be assessed (100 point writing grade – 20 points for each category):

Ideas –

  • All elements of a myth are present. Ideas are clear, focussed and enriched with details. Dialogue is used between characters.

Organization –

  • An inviting lead is used. Transitions are used to connect ideas. There is build up to a conflict, a resolution, and a clear conclusion.

Word Choice

  • Vocabulary is powerful and engaging, creating mental imagery. Words and phrases are unique and effective. Lively verbs energize the writing.


  • Spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalization are correct and used effectively to enhance readability. This piece of writing is ready to be published.

Writing Process

  • All stages of the writing process are clearly documented. Elements of myth worksheet, hand written rough drafts, brainstorming sheets, all typed drafts, peer feedback rubrics, self assessment rubrics, teacher feedback, and of course your final published paper.

Click HERE for another myth, this one about Deadalus and Icarus. Does it have all the same elements of a myth as the Minotaur and Pandora?

Click HERE to go to Story Creator to create your digital myth.

Due Dates

Monday (day 2 students) – published myth and digital myth

Tuesday (day 1 students) – published myth and digital myth

Pandora's Box

Pandora’s Box is another famous Greek myth, and the second one we will study.  Watch the video , then read the two myths. Compare them and answer the questions that follow. Due next Social Studies class.

Watch the animated VIDEO of Pandora’s Box myth. Read the story below.

Pandora’s Box – Class work / Homework

Pandora’s Box

Has your curiosity ever got you into trouble? Have you ever been so desperate to know a secret that you took no notice of a warning? All through history there are stories of people being told not to open doors, caskets, cupboards, gates and all sorts of other things and, in so many of the stories, the people just did not listen. One person who did not listen was Pandora. Her story comes from Ancient Greece and her curiosity brought a whole heap of trouble!

In ancient Greece there were two brothers named Epimetheus and Prometheus. They upset the gods and annoyed the most powerful of all Gods, Zeus, in particular. This was not the first time humans had upset Zeus, and once before, as punishment, he had taken from humans the ability to make fire. This meant they could no longer cook their meat and could not keep themselves warm.

However, Prometheus was clever and he knew that, on the Isle of Lemnos, lived Hephaestos, the blacksmith. He had a fire burning to keep his forge hot. Prometheus travelled to Lemnos and stole fire from the blacksmith. Zeus was furious and decided that humans had to be punished once and for all for their lack of respect.

Zeus came up with a very cunning plan to punish the two brothers. With the help of Hephaestos, he created a woman from clay. The goddess Athene then breathed life into the clay, Aphrodite made her very beautiful and Hermes taught her how to be both charming and deceitful. Zeus called her Pandora and sent her as a gift to Epimetheus.

His brother Prometheus had warned him not to accept any gifts from the gods but Epimetheus was completely charmed by the woman and thought Pandora was so beautiful that she could never cause any harm, so he agreed to marry her.

Zeus, pleased that his trap was working, gave Pandora a wedding gift of a beautiful box. There was one very, very important condition however, that she must never opened the box. Pandora was very curious about the contents of the box but she had promised that she would never open it.

All she could think about was; what could be in the box? She could not understand why someone would send her a box if she could not see what was in it. It seemed to make no sense at all to her and she could think of nothing else but of opening the box and unlocking its secrets. This was just what Zeus had planned.

Finally, Pandora could stand it no longer. When she knew Epimetheus was out of sight, she crept up to the box, took the huge key off the high shelf, fitted it carefully into the lock and turned it. But, at the last moment, she felt a pang of guilt, imagined how angry her husband would be and quickly locked the box again without opening the lid and put the key back where she had found it. Three more times she did this until, at last, she knew she had to look inside or she would go completely mad!

She took the key, slid it into the lock and turned it. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and slowly lifted the lid of the box. She opened her eyes and looked into the box, expecting to see fine silks, gowns or gold bracelets and necklaces or even piles of gold coins.

But there was no gleam of gold or treasure. There were no shining bracelets and not one beautiful dress! The look of excitement on her face quickly turned to one of disappointment and then horror. For Zeus had packed the box full of all the terrible evils he could think of. Out of the box poured disease and poverty. Out came misery, out came death, out came sadness – all shaped like tiny buzzing moths.

The creatures stung Pandora over and over again and she slammed the lid shut. Epimetheus ran into the room to see why she was crying in pain. Pandora could still hear a voice calling to her from the box, pleading with her to be let out. Epimetheus agreed that nothing inside the box could be worse than the horrors that had already been released, so they opened the lid once more.

All that remained in the box was Hope. It fluttered from the box like a beautiful dragonfly, touching the wounds created by the evil creatures, and healing them. Even though Pandora had released pain and suffering upon the world, she had also allowed Hope to follow them.


Theseus and the Minotaur

The Minotaur is one of the most famouse Greek myths. Watch the video , then read the two myths. Compare them and answer the questions that follow. Due next Social Studies class.

Theseus and the Minotaur Myth comparison

Watch the animated VIDEO of the Minotaur myth. Read the story below.

King Minos of Crete was a powerful man, feared by the rulers of the lands around him. When he demanded goods or men for his great armies, they felt they had to agree. When he demanded they send tributes to honour him, they sent them without question. It was the only way they could stop him going to war with them. But his demands on Athens became too much for them to bear.

King Minos had a great palace built for himself. Inside this palace, Minos had built a giant maze, a Labyrinth, and, at the centre of the maze, he kept a terrifying creature, – the Minotaur. Now this was no ordinary animal; it was a monster, half man and half bull.

It was powerful, and savage and it loved to eat the flesh of the humans who had been shut into the labyrinth by King Minos. They would wander through the maze, completely lost, until at last they came face to face with the Minotaur. Not a great way to die really.

As for Athens, Minos demanded that every year the King send him seven young men and seven young women.

“Why do we send these young people to Crete every year?” Theseus asked his father, the King of Athens. “And why is it that none of them ever return?”

“Because if we did not send them, Minos would wage war on us and it is a war that we would not win,” said King Aegeus. “And they do not return because they do not go to Crete as slaves. They go as food for the Minotaur.”

“Father, this is terrible,” shouted Theseus, “we cannot let this go on. We cannot sacrifice any more of our young citizens to this tyrant. When it is time to send the next tribute, I will go as one of them and I vow that it is the last time the Minotaur will be fed with the flesh of any of our people.”

Try as he might, his father could not persuade him to change his mind. Aegeus reminded him that every year, other young men had sworn to slay this terrible beast and they had never been seen again.

Theseus insisted that he understood the dangers but would succeed. “I will return to you, father,” cried Theseus, as the ship left the harbour wall, “and you will be proud of your son.”

“Then I wish you good luck, my son,” cried his father, “I shall keep watch for you every day. If you are successful, take down these black sails and replace them with white ones. That way I will know you are coming home safe to me.”

As the ship docked in Crete, King Minos himself came down to inspect the prisoners from Athens. He enjoyed the chance to taunt the Athenians and to humiliate them even further.

“Is this all your king has to offer this year?” he jeered. “Such puny creatures. Hardly even a snack for the mighty creature within the labyrinth. Anyway, let’s get on with it. I am not a hard-hearted man, so I will let you choose which one goes first into the Minotaur’s den. Who is it to be?”

Theseus stepped forward.
“I will go first. I am Theseus, Prince of Athens and I do not fear what is within the walls of your maze.”

“Those are brave words for one so young and so feeble. But the Minotaur will soon have you between its horns. Guards, open the labyrinth and send him in.”

Standing behind the king, listening, was his daughter, Ariadne. From the moment she set eyes on Theseus, Ariadne fell in love with him. As she listened to her father goading and taunting the young prince, she decided that she would help him. As he entered the labyrinth and the guards walked away, she called softly to him.
“Theseus, take this,” she whispered. “Even if you kill the Minotaur, you will never find your way out again.”

She threw him a great ball of string and he tied one end of it to the entrance. He smiled at her, turned and began to make his way into the maze, the string playing out behind him as he went.

Theseus walked carefully through the dark, foul-smelling passages of the labyrinth, expecting at any moment to come face-to-face with the creature. He did not have long to wait. Turning a corner, with his hands held out in front of him feeling his way, he suddenly touched what felt like a huge bony horn.

In an instant his world turned upside-down, quite literally. He was picked up between the Minotaur’s horns and tossed high into the air. When he landed on the hard cold stone, he felt the animal’s huge hooves come down on his chest. Every last breath seemed to be knocked out of him and he struggled to stay alive in the darkness.

But Theseus was no ordinary man. He was the son of the King, he was brave and he was stubborn. As the Minotaur bellowed in his ear and grabbed at him with its hairy arms, Theseus found a strength which he did not know he possessed.

He grabbed the animal’s huge horns, and kept on twisting the great head from side to side. As the animal grew weak, Theseus gave one almighty tug on the head, turning it almost right around. The creature’s neck snapped, it gurgled its last breath and fell to the floor with an enormous thud.

It was over, he had done it. The Minotaur was dead. All he had to do was make his way out of…and then he realised the awful truth. In the struggle, he had let go of the string, his lifeline. Theseus felt all over the floor in the pitch darkness and kept thinking he had found it, only to realise that he all he had was a long wiry hair from the Minotaur.

Despair set in and Theseus wondered if this was where his life would end, down in the dark, all alone, next to the stinking body. Then, his hand brushed a piece of string and, with a whoop of delight, he knew he had found the thread which would lead him back out. As he neared the entrance of the labyrinth, the darkness began to fade and he made out the figure of Ariadne, waiting for his return.

“You must take me back to Athens with you,” she cried, “My father will kill me when he finds out that I have helped you.”

“But of course you must come with us,” said Theseus, “it would be cruel to leave you here.” Quickly and quietly, they unfurled the great black sails of their ship and headed for home.

“I cannot believe how my life as changed,” said Ariadne, as they sailed across the calm seas towards Athens. “To think that I am free of my cruel father and that I will soon be married to a great prince.”

“Married?” said Theseus, “Oh, yes, that will be…er… wonderful.” But in truth, Theseus did not really find her attractive.

So, when their ship docked at an island on their way home, to collect fresh water, Theseus sent Ariadne off to find bread and fruit. The moment she was gone, he set sail and left her on the island. Now, you might think that this was a bad way to reward someone who had helped him and had saved him from certain death.

The Gods clearly thought the same thing, for they had a further horror in store for him, as a punishment for his ungrateful treatment of the young girl.

In his haste to get away, Theseus forgot to change his sails to white. King Aegeus, waiting on the headland, saw the ship approaching with its black sails flying in the wind.

“My son has failed and he is dead,” he cried. And in despair, he flung himself from the cliff into the raging waters below. From that day on, the sea was named in memory of Theseus’ father, and to this day, it is known as the Aegean Sea.

The Minotaur Myth is still very popular today. Check out this movie trailer for a recent Hollywood film based on the myth. Even though the Minotaur isn’t correct as half man and half bull. It’s Hollywood afterall.


Ancient Sparta – Challenge: Can you survive the Spartan education program?

Spartan boys had to complete a very tough program of education which molded them into good soldiers.

Challenge Task:

  • Click this link to see if you would make a good Spartan soldier. Your aim is to score as many points as you can, and so be elected into a mess and made a member of the Spartan army.

Was Sparta always so warlike?

‘Archaeological evidence now suggests that in the centuries before 500 BC, Sparta had been quite different. Like other Greek cities, Sparta had traded widely to get luxury items and had been home to poets and craftsmen producing beautiful objects.  So why had Sparta become so austere by the 5th century?’

  • Click here to read a story that gives one possible reason for this change.