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World Myth Speed Dating: Exploring 32 Myths from Around the World in a Single Class Period

Mythology Teaching Ideas World Literature

What can a myth tell you about a culture? Maybe a better question would be, what can't it tell you? Social customs, traditions, beliefs, and values–they're all embedded there within the story. Myths are windows into cultures, but with such a wide variety of cultures in the world, how, within the time constraints of a high-school course, do you achieve a panoramic look at myths from all corners of the globe? 

That question led me to the idea of World Myth Speed Dating. Based on information I've gleaned from sitcoms, Speed Dating is a social gathering where singles pair up time and time again, spending just a few minutes talking to a prospective match before moving on to the next. At the end of the night, participants mark which fellow singles they are interested in meeting with again. That's Speed Dating in a nutshell. What if, instead of telling each other the details of their lives, these pairs shared a short world myth?

In World Myth Speed Dating, Each student receives a different myth, which they do their best to memorize. Then they pair up with another person. Each person shares their myth for one minute. “What's your story?” (I put a big timer on my Smart Board to facilitate this.) After sharing, they both rate the other person's story with a number of hearts on their dating worksheet. Hearts are awarded for similarities in themes, events, beliefs, characters, etc. Then the students switch partners and repeat the process again and again again. As they work through all the other myths, they are looking for their story’s “best match.” The students quickly learn in order to spot similarities, they will have to look deeper than surface level. (That’s good dating advice, too!) After they have "dated" all the other myths, they see which story earned the most hearts. This is their "best match."

As a follow-up activity, I sometimes have students decorate a rose (a la The Bachelor) to present to their story’s “best match” during our own version of a rose ceremony. It's cheesy fun, but in the end, my students have heard a wide variety of myths from around the world, analyzed them for common themes and elements, and taken ownership of their own particular myth. Mission accomplished! 

This activity could be modified to fit any other information you would like to jigsaw. Overall, my students found it to be a good time. Let's just say it was love at first sight!

To facilitate this activity, I curated a collection of 32 short myths from every corner of the globe. The result is 32 Myths from Around the World, a download available on our website. The World Myth Speed Dating activity is included, as well as two variants that group students up to share in different ways. It also includes a link to a Google Slides presentation to walk students through the World Myth Speed Dating activity–and, of course, the rose coloring page. If you have previously purchased the World Myth Bundle, this was automatically emailed to you as an update to your original purchase.

Stay creative!

32 Myths from Around the World

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