Behaviorist Lesson Plan




Task Prompts

Goal: How did myths help to explain nature and science in ancient cultures?
1. Standards Alignment:

Grade 6 Standards:


RL.6.7: Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.


RI.6.2: Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

RI.6.3: Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).


W.6.9a. Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”)


Connecticut Arts Standards:

3.1: Students consider, select from and apply a variety of sources for art content in order to communicate intended meanings.

3.2: Students consider and compare the sources for subject matter, symbols, and ideas in their own and others work.

2. Lesson Objective:
  1. Students will identify creation and explanatory myths through discussion and oral readings.
  2. Students will define and use vocabulary concepts through their proper use in written work.
  3. Students will identify main idea and supporting details of myths through the completion of a Venn diagram and written work assessed by the assessment rubric.
3. Lesson Materials:
  1. “Why Rabbit Has a Short Tail” Story
  2. “How Elephant Got Its Trunk” Story
  3. “Pele” Story
  4. “Hephaestus” Story
  5. “Daughter of the Star” Story
  6. “Pandora’s Box” Story
  7. Venn Diagram
  8. Checklists of Writing Assignments
  9. Illustration Planning Worksheet
4. Lesson Initiation:
  1. Explain to students that myths are stories people told long ago in an attempt to answer serious questions about how important things began and occurred. What kind of myths do they already know?  
  2. Discuss the following vocabulary with your students. The vocabulary will be projected onto the board and students will take turns reading them.

Myth: A story of unknown authorship that people told long ago in an attempt to answer serious questions about how important things began and occurred; myths generally involve nature or the adventures of gods and heroes.

Pourquoi: a French word meaning “why”

Pourquoi tale: A fictional story that explains why something is the way it is.

Renditions/versions: A performance or interpretation of a piece of music, poetry, drama, story or character’s role 

Origin: the beginning; the source


  1. Students will practice their knowledge of these new vocabulary words by having them match the words with their meaning.
5. Lesson Activities:
  1. Together as a class, the students will read the stories “Why Rabbit Has a Short Tail” or “How Elephants Got its Trunk.” Students will discuss what question is being answered. What makes them myths or pourquoi tales?  Are they creation myths or explanatory myths? How are they different?
  2. Distribute copies of “Pele” and have it displayed on the SMARTBoard. Students will read the myth in partnerships to find out what serious question is being answered. When the reading is completed, the students will each share what they thought the question being answered was and support their answers with examples from the text. Explain to students the story of Pele, which exists in many forms throughout the South and north Pacific, where volcanoes are common and represent a destructive force, as well as a constructive one. (Volcanoes help to build up fertile land).
  3. Distribute copies of “Hephaestus.” Students will work in partnerships again to read the myth and find out how the Greeks sought to answer the question of the creation of volcanoes. Students will support answers with examples from the text.
  4. Discuss with students why it is possible for different cultures to interpret the same natural phenomena differently. With every culture that develops, totally different group of myths develop as well in order to explain the world around them.
  5. Students will then join one other partnership to compare and contrast the two creation myths using the ‘Venn Diagram’ handout, filling in what they had in common and what was different.
  6. After students finish the Venn Diagram, have them share with the rest of the class what they put in each section. A class Venn diagram will be created.
  7. The teacher will then model writing two paragraphs explaining the similarities and differences of the Hawaiian and Greek explanations using their Venn diagram as a guide. The teacher will write the similarities paragraph then the students will write the second paragraph on differences as a small group.
  8. Recall with students some of the types of myths the ancient cultures told: specifically, creation myths and explanatory myths. Both “Pele” and “Hephaestus” are creation myths. Tell them the two myths they are about to read are explanatory myths. As they read them, have the students think about why they are called explanatory myths.
  9. Distribute copies of (or project) the “Daughter of the Star” and “Pandora.” After reading, discuss the reasons these myths were told. Explain that myths have practical functions within a culture. One of these is to instill in people a respect for how order was established in their culture, as well as to reinforce rules and shared beliefs that maintain order.
  10. Working in cooperative groups, students will compare and contrast these two myths using a Venn Diagram. Following the writing process, the groups will then write two paragraphs. In the first paragraph, students write how myths are similar, and in the second, students write how they are different.
6. Differentiation: ELL students’ background can be easily incorporated by including myths from their native countries. 

Students who are above reading level will have higher level texts available to them.  Likewise, below reading level students will also have lower reading level texts available to them. The higher and lower reading level texts will be the same stories as mentioned in this lesson, but modified in vocabulary and structure for each students reading level.

In terms of partnering, reading partners will be at the same level but after reading has been completed student partnerships will be heterogeneously mixed to create their Venn diagrams.

7. Lesson Closure:
  1. Have the students work in groups on a collaborative painting or drawing that depicts one of the myths they read in class. Ask the following questions to help with the activity:
  • What elements of the myth are most important to show visually?
  • How will the telling of the myth be enhanced by the picture being drawn?
  • Are there any elements that are better left to the imagination of the reader?
  • Is there a way to symbolically represent the story without actually depicting the actions and events of the story?
  • Pretend you are a storyteller in an ancient village telling this myth to others. What other props or pictures could you use to convey the story so it would stick in the minds of the viewer?
  1. Distribute drawing materials to each group. Give students time to illustrate the myth of their choice.
  2. After the group has completed their illustrations, have them present their work to the rest of the class. During the presentation, students will explain which myth they chose, whether the myth is a  creation or explanatory myth, and which elements of the myth they decided to include, which ones they left off and why for each.
8. Assessment:
  1. Informal Formative: Discussion
  2. Formal Formative: The First Venn Diagram and Written Paragraphs assessed by Checklists of Writing Assignments
  3. Formal Summative: The Second Venn Diagram and Two Written Paragraphs  assessed by Checklists of Writing Assignments
  4. Formal Summative: Class Presentation of the illustration of the myth assessed by illustration Planning Worksheet





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