(Summer Camp) Ancient Greek Mythology and Archaeology (Age 9-11)

Spyridon (Spiros) Loumakis
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(737)
In this summer camp the students explore how the ancient Greeks systematically organized their stories about the creation of the world, the elements of the universe, the birth of humans and life on earth, and the role of their major gods

Class experience

US Grade 4 - 5
In this class students will understand that the magic of myths lies not only in the stories themselves, fascinating as they are, but in the logic behind them and in their deeper meaning. Myths will be appreciated as a system of beliefs and a way of thinking about the world, as it was created by the ancient Greeks.

The goal for the students is to learn at an introductory level how Greeks were structuring their myths and some of the narrative patterns that they were employing to tell meaningful stories about their gods. 

We will discuss together how were these stories played out in the sanctuaries of the gods, and in their worship. What did they mean to priests and to artists, as well as to the political and social elite of ancient Greece.

We will finally delve into an ancient religion with respect, so as to learn from this example two very important lessons: that there is no absolute truth, and that nothing unchangeable in time, when it comes to religious traditions, old and new. 
I have a B.A. and M.A. in ancient Greek history and archaeology, as well as an M.A. in history and phiosophy of religions. I have excavated in ancient Greek sites, I speak ancient and modern Greek and I am currently finishing my PhD. 
Homework Offered
Students will be assigned three short (optional) multiple-choice quizzes to be filled out in order to test their memory, attention and observation. This test may also include one or two questions requiring a very short answer, in order to assess the learners' comprehension.
1 - 2 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
I do not believe that a letter grade is meaningful for a summer camp on mythology. However, as I often do with my one-time classes, which are always small classes (up to 7 students), I communication with the parents and the children directly, providing my personal comments, private feedback and an informal assessment.
Grades Offered
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
(A) In the ancient Greek arts gods are depicted often (but not always) naked. The Greek word for a naked man is "gymnos" and that is why in English today we say "gymnastics" or "gym" although our children and athletes wear uniforms. This being said, any artistic reproduction in ancient art should be expected to show nude gods. I try to use as less as possible, but it is not always within my hands since this is the nature of the ancient Greek art itself. Since, it is an art that comes from an era where there were no photographs, or videos, the art is found only on painted vases, wall paintings and sculpture. Nudity was never meant to provoke, but to tell to the ancient viewer that gods are not mortal humans and, thus, they do not need clothes. As you may very well understand, I cannot change the history of art, nor my preference as teacher of mythology to show students the original art from ancient times.

(B) From my experience at Outschool the past couple of months and after having taught around 200 classes on mythology to many young students, I make sure the class material is age-appropriate. All ancient mythologies, without exception, contain important stories that are violent or sexual in nature, and often touch on sensitive social questions of their times, such as the place of women, slavery-based economy, immoral behavior and the ethics of war. I have never received a negative feedback because I touched upon any of the previous topics, despite the fact that there were times when the class dynamic and the maturity of students in fact allowed their discussion. Sometimes the students themselves started a discussion on one or more of these serious subjects. I never forced them into this discussion, but I also never stopped them. On the contrary, I guided them in order to balance their judgement between an ancient society and our own experience. If this happens during this summer camp, I will, once again, guide them on how to understand myths that concern sensitive aspects of the ancient Greek society. This is the whole point of mythology. As a specialist in the scientific understanding of mythology and a trained historian of ancient societies, I teach that the myths are not just to amuse, but also to explain the world. If there is something wrong in the ancient Greek world, the myths will reflect it.  

Meet the teacher

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(737)
As a father of two young kids, I put a lot of effort so as to entertain them in a productive, and educational way, making sure I feed their natural curiosity and encourage them to keep asking questions. Undoubtedly, television and video games are... 
Group Class


for 5 classes
5x per week, 1 week
60 min

Average rating:4.8Number of reviews:(36)
Completed by 141 learners
Live video meetings
Ages 9-11
3-7 learners per class

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