Back in the Classroom
- Design a Mythic Creature (K-12): Have students develop a mythic creature of their own design. They should consider: What inspired its attributes? Does this creature have a message? How is it relevant to the students' world—or the world at large? Have students draw and label a picture of it. Older students may want to express their creature through a cartoon strip, book jacket, coat of arms, costume, or other media.
- Mythic "Telephone" (K-8): Mythic creatures can change as artists reinterpret them. They can also change by word of mouth. To explore those concepts, try this: Line up students and show the first an image of an unusual animal. He/she should describe (but not name) it in the next student's ear, and so on. The last student in line can draw it on the board. Compare the drawing to the original image.
English Language Arts
- Modern Mythic Creatures (3-8): Have students choose creatures visible in popular culture (e.g. movies, mascots, ads, video games, comics, anime) and research their mythic origins. What did they symbolize in the past? How and why are these symbols still used today?
- Interview an Adult (6-12): Students can interview an elder to explore what mythic creatures he or she was aware of as a child. What did this creature mean to him or her? Is it still "in circulation"? Do the mythic creatures lend any insight on the cultural background of this person?
Visual and Performing Arts
- Read a Story (K-12): Have students read stories, comics, or manga that feature mythic creatures. Explore the creature's attributes, symbolism, and role in the story. Is this creature based on ancient legend? Older kids may want to compare and contrast depictions of European and Asian dragons. Recommended books are available on our website.
- Create a Mythic Creature Mask or Puppet (K-12): Have students design a mask or puppet of a creature they saw at the exhibition.
- Fleeting Impressions (K-12): Students can experience how difficult it can be to describe an animal based on one fleeting observation. Walk around the class with a photo of an unusual animal so each student observes it for just a few seconds. Take the image away, and have students describe the animal in as much detail as possible. Compare student recollections to the picture.
DISCUSS THE EXHIBITION
Extend your visit to the Museum with a class discussion. Below are some conversation starters.
- What mythic creatures were new to you? Did any surprise you?
- How can learning about mythic creatures and their origins help us understand people and cultures around the world?
- How are mythic creatures depicted in our culture today? What do they tell you about the world we live in?
- Think of a favorite book or movie with a mythic creature. Compare how it was portrayed in the book or movie versus how it was portrayed in the exhibition.
Students can explore mermaid migration; research early explorers and the real animals they mistakenly identified as mythic creatures; investigate mysterious modern species; and interpret unfamiliar bones.
Students can investigate an interactive map; explore a mythic creatures photo gallery; design a creature mask or puppet; download stationery; and create OLogy projects.