Making Observations about

Creation Myths


YOUR TASK: Working in small groups (unless you really prefer to work alone or in pairs), create an illustrated educational poster that illustrates the common elements found in three (or more) myths. You will present your findings to the class. Review the creation stories you read: Babylonian, Egyptian, Ugandan, Chinese, Biblical versions, Incan, Mayan, Inuit, Yoruba, Norse, and/or Maori.


Consider how the stories:

·        Are Cosmological (explain the creation of the universe, the world, the elements)

·        Are Etiological (what phenomena or cultural behavior is explained)

·        Are Eschatological (explain death or the end of the world)

·        Illustrate the motifs we discussed in class (descent to the underworld, incest, usurpation of power, adultery, sibling rivalry, tricking, death as the life-giver, duality or opposing forces, hieros gamos or divine union or sky and earth, sexual transgression, immortality, god/goddess in disguise, etc.) [Please see your class notes!]

·        Differ (what should we know about their difference?)



            First, organize your ideas on paper. Really discuss what you see. One way of doing this is to start with one focal story and then compare each of the others to it.

            Once you have made some observations about the stories, use the large poster paper to illustrate your findings in an easy to follow way.  You might:

·        create a chart or Venn diagram

·        focus on motifs

·        create theory and prove it with the myths

·        illustrate parallel scenes with drawings or symbols

·        make an illustrated pie chart

·        find another creative approach


GRADING: You will be graded as a group for the final product, teamwork, process, and presentation. You will also receive an individual grade for preparedness and participation. Any member observed not pulling his or her weight will be asked to work alone. Please try to resolve the slacker issue within your group; if that doesn’t work, see me privately.


            The poster should reveal more than superficial observations (i.e., “They are all creation stories” or “They show how the earth and the sky was formed.”). Use deliberate specifics. Your final product should reveal a thorough analysis of the stories your group chose. Your method of structuring the poster should also be visually appealing, logical, neat, and informative. Oh, and check the spelling of the character names, please.


HOMEWORK! Assign each member of the group one or two motifs to research in the stories. Each member will reread/review the stories the group chose and find the specific evidence (quote or specific paraphrase) to bring back to class to add to the chart. Focus on what is missing from your group discussion from today.