Elements and Theme of Mythology in The Lightning Thief | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M1:U2

Elements and Theme of Mythology in The Lightning Thief

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In this second unit of module 1, students will delve deeply into mythology: its purpose, elements, and themes that align with themes in The Lightning Thief. While they continue to read The Lightning Thief independently, students will closely read multiple myths. In the first half of the unit, they will use the informational text "Key Elements of Mythology" to better understand the elements and themes of the myths they read. In their mid-unit assessment, students will read the myth of Prometheus and write an analytical mini-essay identifying the elements of mythology present in the myth, describing a theme of the myth, and explaining how key details contribute to the theme.

In the second half of the unit, students will read, think, talk, and write the myths alluded to in The Lightning Thief. They will determine the themes of myths and how the themes align with themes in the novel. As students build toward writing a literary analysis, the teacher will model writing skills using the myth of "Cronus." Students practice these skills using myths they are reading in small, expert groups. For their end of unit assessment, students will write a literary analysis summarizing the myth of "Cronus," identifying a common theme between the myth of "Cronus" and The Lightning Thief, and explaining why the author chose to include this myth in the novel.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • What makes a myth?
  • Why do myths matter? 
  • All stories have universal elements and themes.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards. However, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies content that many teachers may be teaching during other parts of the day. These intentional connections are described below.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
one per student
ISBN: 978-0786838653, 0786838655
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978- 0440406945, 0440406943


Optional: Community, Experts, Fieldwork, Service, and Extensions

If possible, invite an anthropologist in to share with the class the importance of mythology around the world or over time. 

Take the class to a local art museum to see the influence of Greek mythology and culture on works of art across the centuries. 



  • With a Social Studies teacher, coordinate to study in depth the ways in which myths both shaped and were shaped by wider Greek culture and beliefs. How did myths help to explain the way the world and humanity work? How did Greek mythology influence the beliefs of other cultures? 
  • With a Social Studies teacher, coordinate to expand this study of mythology to other world cultures. 
  • With a visual arts teacher, students can create their own visual representations of important moments in Greek mythology that they have read.

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