Thursday, February 05, 2009

Teaching the Odyssey to Children: Trench Surprise

When the Greeks went to the Underworld, they had specific instructions from Circe for how to give the ghosts life and health. If they prepared this special concoction, and allowed the ghosts to drink it, the ghosts could gain human form and speech. They were to dig a trench and fill it up with the stuff ghosts just loooove to eat. So, here's the recipe:

Blood (21st century Greeks may substitute ketchup)
Wine (Again, grape juice is an acceptable substitute for Greeks under 21)
Grain (We used corn meal for allergy reasons)

The exact ratio of ingredients is unspecified in the text but we just used a lot of everything.

For this activity you will need the following:

One trench. We used a long kind of tupperware-ish thing.
The four trench ingredients
Enough little glass bottles to hold some trench mix for each kid. With CORKS!
A ladle
A turkey baster
Creepy face paint.
Index cards

Before you start, have the children use the index cards, markers and tape to create the labels for their bottles. They should use a name like "Trench Surprise!" or "Trench Soup!" or something like that. Then set the bottles aside.

Divide your class up into ghosts and Greeks. On the ghost side you will need: Tiresias, Odysseus' mother, and Achilles. Paint up your ghosts' faces with creepy paint. On the Greek side you'll need Odysseus and enough Greeks to hold all the ingredients. So, here's how it goes.

1. Establish your trench -- put the ghosts on one side of it and the Greeks on the other.

2. Odysseus orders his Greeks to put their ingredients into the trench. As they come up one by one, you sit next to the trench and mix it together. Encourage everyone to be completely grossed out by the smell, the sight, and everything. Loudly yell "EWWWW!"

3. Have the ghosts come around sniffing hungrily and drooling and begging for a drink of what's in the trench. Odysseus must refuse all but Tiresias.

4. Let Tiresias get a big "drink" of trench and then say his bit about not eating up the sun god's cows.

5. Let the other ghosts come up and have a go at the jug.

6. When it's all over, use the turkey baster to put a little bit of "trench soup" into everyone's bottle. Cork FIRMLY. Tell the children NOT to let the bottles tip over, seriously. You do not want that stuff loose in a book bag. Of course if they want to uncork it once they get home, that's the parents' problem. *cackle*

The children enjoyed this activity very very much. As with everything else that's valuable and fun, it was a pain in the bottom to set up and clean up, but it was so totally worth it.

This activity was planned and executed at our homeschool co-op, Homeschool Out of the Box, for my elementary literature class on The Odyssey. For more of my Odyssey ideas and plans, click on the Odyssey tag at the bottom of the post.

No comments:

Post a Comment