Many diverse concepts can be taught through the topic of Myths and Legends. Different cultures and values can be explored, different writing styles and literary techniques can be investigated and an array of oral history can be experienced.
WHAT IS A MYTH?
A myth is a story with a purpose. lt tries to explain the way the world is – concentrating on natural phenomena. Myths also try to explain the relationship between gods and humans. Even though the events in a myth are usually impossible, they try to send a message that has an important social or religious meaning.
Mankind has always tried to find answers to questions such as who made the universe or what causes a storm. Religion, gods, and myths were created when people tried to make sense out of these questions. For early civilizations, myths were akin to modern-day scientific theories. We may think this is insane, with the raft of scientific knowledge at our disposal, but early peoples had to explain the world around them without the aid of science as we know it – and much of their world was thought to be controlled by ancient gods.
WHAT IS A LEGEND?
The word legend has several meanings. A legend today may be someone famous or well known. Another meaning of legend is a literary genre, usually used interchangeably with myths (albeit incorrectly). However, it makes more sense to use the term legend to name a type of literature that falls somewhere between myth, tall tales, and history.
Myths tend to be focused on explaining natural phenomena, answering questions about why things are the way they are in the natural world, while legends focus on individuals and their accomplishments. Legends can also be distinguished from myths by virtue of them being fictional – people may once have believed they were true, but legends are invariably clever works of fiction, such as the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Other famous legends include Robin Hood and his Merry Men and the legend of Atlantis – a city under the sea.
The Myths & Legends Project Plan is a cross curriculum series to support the creative teaching of the Myths and Legends project for Foundation Stage, KS1, KS2 and beyond.