Greek World View Paper Plate Painting Craft

We learned about Greek mythology earlier this year.  Okay, it was months ago actually and I’m just now getting this posted.  That either says something about my laziness or the hectic-ness of my life.  I’ll leave you to guess which.  Anyway, the point is we made these painted paper plate crafts about the Greek world view.

Greek World View Paper Plate Craft

If you know me at all, you will realize that crafts and I are not friends.  This one wasn’t terribly bad.  It only involved paint.  There was no intricate gluing, cutting, or multi-day processes.  So both I and the kids came though unscathed.

The Greek World View

This craft is based on the earliest Greek maps of the world.

This map is based on one created by Anaximander, an ancient Greek philosopher who was born in about 610 BC.

And on Greek mythological beliefs. Specifically these:

  • Greece is in the center of the world map.
  • In the exact center should be Mount Olympus, the home of the gods.
  • The world is flat. (Yes, the Greeks did eventually come up with a round earth, but this is the earliest world and connected to their mythological beliefs.)
  • The land is all surrounded by an ocean that flows in a circle, clockwise, like a river around the earth.
  • To the west is Asia, to the north Europe, and to the south Libya.
  • In the west are the Elysian fields, something close-ish to the Christian idea of heaven.
  • Hyperboreans, exceptionally long-lived happy people, lived in the north.
  • Ethiopia was south and was always spoken of as being an impossibly long distance away.

Paint Your Plate

So after explaining the Greek World View and showing the kids a picture of it, they painted the world on a paper plate using regular old poster paints.

Greek World View on a paper plate

Once the first layer of paint was dry we added mountains.  We did this project in one day.  We started it early in our school day, then worked on other subjects while the paint was drying.  If you teach your children to paint with thin layers then the paint will dry quickly.  Obviously Van Gogh’s mother failed to do this.  She probably wasn’t as impatient as I am with crafts.

Greek World View

Once that paint was dry they labeled their Greek world.

Greek World View
This was the minimum labeling I would allow. And so this is exactly what all of them ended up with on their maps. My kids will probably never be accused of being over achievers, at least not when it comes to the onerous task of writing.

Read the Myths

The next step in our learning was to read some of the Greek myths from D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths. (That’s an affiliate link)

Many of the myths take place in specific cities or locations.  These could be added to your map later with a fine point Sharpie.

Writing

(Nearly) every thing you learn about should include or be followed up by a writing assignment. For this activity have your kids write a paragraph about how the Greeks saw their world.  Older kids can include both physical geography and the mythological implications.  Then write a paragraph about how the Greek world is the same and different from the world as they imagine it.

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