Mythology and folk tradition are directly linked to each other. Usually, with a constant exchange of themes, narrative motifs and heroes shaping the basis of culture. In this relationship, the supernatural strives to be part of our collective memory. It is mainly through the oral tradition that it constantly transforms, enriches and incorporates elements that correspond to its histogram.
The implementation context
The Argonaut campaign is a mythological narrative motif which is then subdivided into smaller independent traditional stories and fairy tales. The dragon of Colchis, like any other supernatural being in the ancient Greek mythology, is “exterminated” by the heroes and takes refuge in fairy tales. However, in children’s imagination, they always hold an important place in shaping their own narrative patterns.
The educational scenario was adapted for 9 – 11 years old students. The Dragon of the Argonautic Campaign was selected based on references in the elementary school history book and numerous literary references in children’s literature books. The school I teach is located at the start of the Argonauts’ trip to Pelion, very close to Volos or Mycenaean Iolkos.
Initially, we focused on researching mythological beings doing bibliographic research and observing various recordings in children’s literature books found in the school library. Then the students analysed their findings and came up with the main topic that we would deal with – the dragon in the Argonaut campaign. This was followed by detailed observation of the depictions and artistic performance.
Then, in the library and computer lab, the students in groups searched for additional information from the Europeana Collections. They collected the material and information which was relevant to the topic. Students also focused on the illustrations and how it connects the creator and the period he/she lived in. Based on the material collected, they associated the dragon with other “related” mythological beings such as the “Lernaean Hydra”. In the discussion that followed, they expressed their ideas on how the mythological beings and the corresponding stories are connected with real historical data.
Then, in groups, using recyclable materials, they produced the artistic creation of the tree with the golden fleece and the dragon. They also made a digital representation on Prezi and showed it to the students from other classes.
Finally, students painted their own dragon. The activities were concluded with a discussion about the subject and the historical period that is integrated in the mythological narrative of the Argonaut campaign.
The implementation of the LS by utilizing the resources of Europeana and the use of ICT attracted the interest of the students. In practice, students were motivated to research, discuss, design, and evaluate the process.
They also developed their collaboration, communication and digital skills. Finally, the active participation of students was achieved through this different approach to learning.
Initially, the choice of using Europeana resources enables us to put our students in the role of researchers, discoverers and critics. It also enables different approaches to the topics. Utilization of digital data, recognition of copyrights, comparison of sources highly enriches the learning process. The teacher encourages and guides students to take on roles that differentiate learning.
In distance implementation students follow the process of open lessons. The learning environment is first created in the e-class where students receive their tasks: to look for material from Europeana Collections and compose their findings; to create their own works (paintings or sketches). Then, at a joint video conference, students present their work and share with their experiences.
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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been created by students during the implementation of the learning scenario and provided by the teacher, Karagiannis Iraklis.