Alternate Unit 3: Discovering Mythology: Roman Myths
Students read, discuss and analyze a collection of Roman myths as they learn about the values and beliefs of the ancient Roman Empire and consider the role that myths, gods, and storytelling held.
Alternate Unit 3
This unit connects with the 3rd Grade Exploring Ancient Civilizations: Rome unit in which students study and learn about the values and beliefs of the ancient Roman Empire. In this unit, students begin to see the role that myths, gods, and storytelling had in ancient Rome by reading a collection of Roman myths. While reading the myths, students will be challenged to think about how the myths illustrate and show the beliefs and customs of the Roman Empire. Students will also be challenged to think about what the myths teach about retaliation and generosity.
This unit builds on work done in previous units and continues to focus on helping students solidify their understanding of the connection between recounting stories, determining a central message, and using details to explain how the central message is conveyed. Through multiple readings of the same myth, students will be able to analyze and discover how messages are developed, particularly how characters’ actions and feelings directly contribute to the sequence of events and messages.
In previous units, students focused on sharing and elaborating on their own ideas when discussing the text. In this unit students begin to build on their classmates' ideas, seeking to genuinely understand what their peers are saying by asking questions, adding on, or engaging in multiple exchanges. Throughout the unit students also have multiple opportunities to deepen their understanding of the myths and narrative writing by writing continuations of the myths, focusing on using powerful descriptions and language to develop characters and experiences.
Please Note: Updated enhanced lesson plans for this unit, including answers to key questions and related student supports will be released in early 2024.
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Book: Classic Starts: Roman Myths by Diane Namm (Sterling Children’s Books, 2014)
Rubric: Grade 3 Narrative Writing Rubric
These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills.
Download Content Assessment
Download Content Assessment Answer Key
Download Cold Read Assessment
Download Cold Read Assessment Answer Key
Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit. Essential Tasks can be found in the following lessons:
Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
Characters’ actions and feelings directly contribute to the sequence of events.
Authors reveal the central message of a story by using predictable patterns and pathways.
Use relevant text details or background knowledge from the text to develop characters, ideas, or situations.
Use dialogue and description to show character responses.
Use temporal words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.
Use powerful vocabulary and precise words to create a picture.
Provide a sense of closure.
Elaborate to support ideas. Provide evidence or examples to justify and defend a point clearly.
Use specific vocabulary. Use vocabulary that is specific to the subject and task to clarify and share thoughts.
Build on a partner's ideas. Seek to genuinely understand what their peers are saying, and then build on.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 8, view our 3rd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.
Describe the twelve major gods and goddesses who were honored and worshiped in ancient Rome.
Describe the central message of “The Oak and the Linden Tree” and how it is conveyed through key details.
Describe what happened to Io.
Explain how Jupiter’s actions contributed to the sequence of events.
Describe how Hercules’s actions contribute to the sequence of events.
Describe the central message of “Atlas and the Eleventh Labor of Hercules” and how it is conveyed through key details.
Narrative Writing – 2 days
Write a story about what happens when Hercules tries to return the golden apples by retelling key details from the text using descriptive details and clear sequence of events.
Analyze and debate unit essential questions using details and understandings from the different myths.
Explain why Psyche is unable to find true love and what impact it has on everyone.
Describe how Psyche’s sisters influence her and the sequence of events in the story.
Describe the central message of “Cupid and Psyche” and how it is conveyed through key details.
Write a story about how Psyche responds to the fact that Cupid is gone when she wakes up by retelling key details from the text using descriptive details and clear sequence of events.
Describe Otus and Ephialtes and how they influence the sequence of events.
Describe the central message of “Otus and Ephialtes, Twin Giants” and how it is conveyed through key details.
Write a story describing what happens after the gods got their revenge by retelling key details from the text using descriptive details and clear sequence of events.
Defend if Romulus and Remus’s desire for power had a positive or negative impact on their lives.
Describe the central message of “Romulus and Remus” and how it is conveyed through key details.
Write a story about what happens after Romulus welcomed everyone to his new city, Rome, by retelling key details from the text using descriptive details and clear sequence of events.
Analyze and debate unit essential questions using details and understandings from the different myths.
Write a continuation of one of the stories from the unit by using relevant details from the text to write a story with a clear sequence of events and descriptive details.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
— Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
— Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series).
— Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
— Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
— Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.
— Provide reasons that support the opinion.
— Provide a concluding statement or section.
— Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
— Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.
— Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.
— Provide a sense of closure.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.
— Form and use regular and irregular verbs.
— Form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses.
— Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
— Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
— Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
— Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.
— Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
— Choose words and phrases for effect.
— Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
— Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).
— Distinguish shades of meaning among related words that describe states of mind or degrees of certainty (e.g., knew, believed, suspected, heard, wondered).
— Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).
— Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
— Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
— Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
— Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).
— By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2—3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
— Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
— Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
— Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.
— Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
— Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
— With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
(Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1—3 above.)
— With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
— With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
— Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
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