Greek Mythology Reunion at Middle School
Sayville Middle School Students Role-Play in My Big Greek Mythological Family Reunion
For most of us, family reunions present some challenges. They might be fun, embarrassing, even conflicted, but very few would be described as mythical. However, if you were an Eighth-grader in Lauren Cierski's and Janine Vogel’s English and Social Studies classes, you were given the rare opportunity to attend a Greek Mythological Characters Family Reunion.
After the students studied the culture and read the myths for their classes, teachers Cierski and Vogel had their students participate in an imaginative, role-playing activity. Each student selected one of the mythical characters to research in preparation for the Reunion. The students were asked to answer a set of questions about the characters—their mythical relationships, long-held grudges, jealous rages, and love interests—to help them better understand the parts they would be playing.
“On the day of the Reunion,” Cierski and Vogel explained, “our students got decked out in their best togas and accessories, props, and headgear that suited their characters. They mingled to Greek traditional music and learned more about each other in the process.”
Role Playing Greek Mythology at Reunion
About twenty-six characters were represented and about one hundred students participated in the creative role play. Below are some of the students’ glowing comments about the activity.
“My experience with The Greek Mythology Family Reunion was amazing. I really enjoyed it, and it made me feel like I actually lived like my goddess, Pandora. I really enjoyed it especially having to dress up as my character. Wearing a bed sheet as a toga and wearing a leaf crown made me feel like I was actually becoming Pandora. My favorite part was socially distancing conversations with other gods and goddesses. As Pandora, many people hated me, and it was just really funny having to fight with other gods like Zeus, Cerberus, Hades, Athena, and more. There were fights, marriages, and discussions just like how if the Greek gods all met up and talked about their family and its problems. I also loved how everyone had their own item. I brought in Pandora's box which still had hope inside. This experience made me feel way more confident about my knowledge and helped me get a 100 on the Greek mythology test. I have never really been that interested in mythology until now. I think that this was an excellent activity for all of the students to get a better knowledge of Greek gods, and also have fun.
“I was Demeter in the Family Reunion. I had a conflict with Zeus and Hades for trading of my daughter for themselves. I worked it out with Zeus during this and it felt very good to let out my anger and feelings. I have yet to make up with Zeus but he is not making an effort to. Other than that I loved meeting new people and seeing my daughter again.”
“My name is Hades; the god of the underworld. I was reluctant to go to the reunion because I have conflict with Persephone; for kidnapping her. I also have conflict with her mother, Demeter who still holds a grudge against me. The reunion was difficult because I was confronted by my enemy; Demeter for what I have done. Other than that; my experience was interesting, amusing, and excellent. Maybe at my next family reunion I will resolve my grudge with Demeter; but you never know!”
“I am Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of vegetation, wife of Hades, and Queen of the Underworld. A little while ago, I was able to reunite with some of my fellow Gods and Goddesses, as well as a few other people who know them well. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Not only did it give me an opportunity to confront Zeus and Hades, I was able to meet new people and form bonds over our shared hatred for them. Hades, who had kidnapped me, and Zeus, who had sold me to Hades, seemed to be relatively disliked among people I met. It was also interesting to hear other people's stories, those who had experienced amazing and often tragic adventures. From these stories, I learned new lessons that have helped me become a wiser version of myself. This reunion was an enjoyable experience, and I hope to do it again soon.”
“The Greek Mythology Family Reunion was really fun! We dressed up like Greek gods/goddesses and went into the hallway and talked about our experiences as ancient Greeks. I was Pandora, so I talked about how I received a box as a wedding gift and was told not to open it but I did anyway. We used white sheets and wrapped them around ourselves to make them look like togas. We also brought props in to represent our characters. I brought a box to represent how I disobeyed Zeus and opened the box that caused all of the world's problems.”