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Mythology Research & Presentation 9th Grade Language Arts Assignment: Research a topic or character in Greek mythology, write

a short research paper, and teach the class about your topic in a five-minute presentation. Step 1: Research/Inquiry: October 14 & 15, 2008

You will be assigned a topic. You will have two days in the computer lab (with access to the library as well) to complete your research. You will access at least three different sources, ideally only one or two on the Internet. (Find the best ones! Don't just use the first ones you come to.) You will keep accurate and complete source information for all sources you use in your research. You should keep notes on what you learn. (This does not mean printing every web site you look at!) You will generate an essential question about your topic.

Step 2: Presentation: October 28-29, 2008

Your presentation will include a PowerPoint (October 21& 22: Computer Lab Work) o Title slide with a graphic o At least three content slides with no more than 20 words on each. o A works cited slide Your presentation will include an oral lesson about the myth or character: Present your information from memory; do not just read it. Your presentation will include an explanation of how this myth or character applies to modern life, business, literature, or circumstances in the news. (Where do we see this character or story in our own world today?) Your presentation should be no more than five minutes long. This is your chance to tell the story; you just have to report what you learn. (The research paper requires more.)

Step 3: Research Paper: November 20, 2008


Your research paper will have a clear thesis statement. (This means that it will not just be a report about your topic.) You will develop your thesis by synthesizing the information you find during your research. (The thesis itself is not something you find during research; it is the conclusion you draw after putting all the research together. It is the answer to your essential question.) Your research paper will be at least 500 words long. Your research paper will contain proper parenthetical documentation and a properly formatted works cited page, neither of which will count in the total word count.

Your research paper will be organized in the same format as a standard academic essay: o Introduction: Capture attention, mention main areas of focus, clearly state thesis o Body: Clear topic sentences in each paragraph, plenty of specific support (drawn from research) for topic sentences, transition/clincher statements o Conclusion: Restate thesis and main points, close with a powerful clincher

Essential Questions: Your essential question is the one that your research paper will answer and explain. Essential questions cannot be answered with just a yes or no, nor can they be answered merely by reporting facts you find in your sources. After considering your assigned myth and comparing it to others (from your classmates' presentations), you will be able to draw some conclusions about it. Your essential question will arise from these conclusions. If your topic is a hero, consider reading the stories of other heroes and comparing them. If your topic is a story or quest, look for other similar myths and compare them. (Find common plots and themes.) If your topic isn't a character with human qualities--e.g., oracles, rivers, monsters--think about what role it played for the ancient Greeks and determine what plays that role for us today; compare the cultures. Big Time Hint: Pay attention to your classmates' presentations! If you hear one that would make a good comparison or contrast to your own topic, you might fashion your essential question/thesis statement for your own research paper from it. Here are some essential questions that will lead to good thesis statetments: How is the story of _____________ similar to other myths or familiar stories? How does the story of ________________ illustrate some of the common themes in Greek mythology? How does the myth of _______________ illustrate the ancient Greek ideal of _____________ (a hero, war, pride, etc.)? How do we see the personality/influence of ___________ in modern culture/literature/entertainment? How does the story of ____________ illustrate similarities and/or differences between classical mythology and modern religion? How does the story of ____________ illustrate the similarities and/or differences of people in ancient Greece and in modern America? Your thesis statement is a complete sentence that answers your essential question. You then spend the rest of the paper providing organized and specific evidence to prove your thesis statement. The evidence comes from the facts you learned while researching your topic, and you organize it in the standard academic essay format. Here is an example of an essential question and one thesis statement that might result from it: Essential Question: How does the myth of Orpheus illustrate themes common to other heroic myths? Thesis Statement: The myth of Orpheus illustrates this theme common to other heroic myths: Love can make a man "soft" and cause him to bring destruction on himself. (The

writer of this paper would then organize it into sections that explain the similarities between the myth of Oprpheus and other heroes who suffered in a similar way because they fell in love. Each body paragraph in the essay might compare Orpheus to a different hero, so by the end of the story the reader not only knows the story of Orpheus, but can also clearly see how his story illustrates a theme that appears in the other myths as well.)

In order to learn about the mythology you will teach, you may need to research in books like Edith Hamiltons Mythology, as well as those in libraries. You will also find a lot of information about mythology on the Internet, but be sure you use information from reputable sites. Also, remember that many mythological characters didn't wear much clothing, so if you are looking for pictures to include in your presentations, be tasteful. Here are a few sites that might help get you started: Mythweb Encyclopedia Mythica Mythman Greek Mythology More Greek Mythology Bullfinch's Mythology Mythography Women in Greek Myths About Greek Mythology Wikipedia: Greek Mythology Infoplease: Greek and Roman Mythology Internet Public Library: Mythology

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