Ancient Greece: Ships, Minotaurs, and Labyrinths {Tapestry of Grace}

The Ancient Greeks believed in polytheism meaning they believed in many gods and goddesses.  Zeus was at the top of the god chain and there were various levels of other gods and goddesses below him.  These man-created mythologies make for some fascinating stories that have really stood the test of time.

As a child, I recall going to the library many times and checking out D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.

I loved the stories and colorful illustrations.  I can't tell you how excited I was to see this book on our reading list for this week.  I took the kids to Pizza Hut for lunch to use their free pizza coupons from the Pizza Hut Book It! reading program.  I read the Greek myths to them while we ate.

In about 800 B.C. the Greek poet Homer wrote, The Iliad and The Odyssey, two classic epics that turned Greek myths into full stories.  I was excited to introduce Nicholas to these stories.  Tapestry of Grace recommended the following book for the Dialectic level of study so Nicholas has been reading this....

A few of the other books we've read this week include:

For our co-op time, we discussed the many Greek islands and the importance of ships used for travel, trade, and warfare.  We followed these directions on making a popsicle stick paddle boat.  This project is simple and just uses popsicle sticks, glue, and rubber bands.

Rachel made her boat all by herself completely according to the directions.  She wound up the paddle on the rubber band, and placed the boat in the water.  The stored energy in the rubber band was released and the boat propelled forward!

Nicholas saw the project directions but decided to amp his creation up a bit with two paddles! (Please excuse the scraps of paper glued to his boat. I had them work on paper to keep the glue off the table but didn't think about all of the paper that would then stick to their boats.)

His boat moved across the water but he decided that it was being slowed down by its size and weight.  Back to the drawing board he went!

Here is boat design number 2.  Small, light weight...and very fast!  I'm so proud of how he always takes an idea and expands upon it, adding his own twist and ingenuity.

Next he tried an altered version of his original two paddle boat.  This time the paddles were in line with each other instead of side by side.

What a fun project this has been!  I love that my kids are able to take their time and go deep into fun projects like this.  Who knew that this simple history activity would turn into Nicholas testing out his theories on propulsion, energy, buoyancy, friction, etc.

Next we reviewed the myth of the Minotaur of Crete. The story goes that King Minos was given a beautiful white bull by Poseidon, god of the sea. The King was expected to sacrifice the bull in honor of Poseidon but instead he hid the bull and sacrificed a less perfect bull. Poseidon was so angry that he punished King Minos by causing the creation of the Minotaur, a half bull, half man. The Minotaur ate humans so King Minos has an intricate labyrinth created to contain the beast.

We learned that a labyrinth and a maze are not exactly the same thing. Unlike a maze that has an entrance and an exit, a labyrinth has only an entrance and ends at the center point. A labyrinth also does not have dead ends and tricky turns like a maze.

The kids made their own labyrinths out of cardboard box tops by gluing strips of cardboard as walls.

Nicholas even used a little battery operated mouse toy to run through his labyrinth!

Note: This post contains affiliate links to the books on Amazon.  If you purchase one of these books through these links then I will receive a small percentage that goes back into paying for this blog.  It does not affect the price you pay for the book in any way.

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