I’m writing lesson plans and teacher resources for a curriculum for upper elementary grades on Greek myths. The core material in the curriculum was developed with Tessa Swartz, a middle school student who had taken classes with me where I piloted some of the preliminary material. Tessa proved to be a valuable collaborator, especially given her sensitivity to the essentially alien nature of Greek myths, and her willingness to go beyond the common trite interpretations of many of these myths. As we developed the core material of the curriculum, both of us got interested in the figure of Medusa. Here’s an excerpt from this new curriculum, a teacher resource on Medusa:

Medusa as imagined by the artist CarvaggioWhen we chose stories for this course, both of us placed the Medusa story at the top of our lists. What makes Medusa such a fascinating figure? The face of Medusa contains great power: the power to freeze others into stone. On the other hand, we considered Medusa’s killer, Perseus, to be little better than a bully, a strong-arm man who coerces others into doing what he wants through violence or the threat of violence. So the story of Medusa can lead to interesting explorations of power, and the use of power.

Let’s look at Medusa first: Continue reading “Medusa”