Mount Olympus Classroom Transformation 2017
In April, I transformed the campus library into Mount Olympus and has my students compete in the 12 Labors of Hercules in order to celebrate and review the Latin we've learned throughout the year. If you'd like to see the video I made for my school it is posted here. The Labors that I updated in 2019 are detailed here.
First, let's walk through the 12 Labors. This was my first trial of a classroom transformation, so they were not all perfect!
1. Slaying the Nemean Lion. Students unraveled the lion's curls and translated the sentences. This labor was very easy to change up for all of my 5 levels of Latin! (7th-12th grade)
2. Slaying the Hydra. For this labor, students were given 4 hydra pictures and had to fill in 3 hydra head with the English derivative. In the example in the picture, the hydra says "nascor" which means "to be born" so the students filled in the hydra head with English derivatives such as "native", "natural", and "innate".
3. Slaying the golden hind of Diana. Another teacher gave me this idea! We found an inflatable antler + ring set on Amazon for $3, and it made the perfect task!
4. Retrieving the Erymanthian Boar. This labor was simple-- define review words!
5. Hercules had to clean stables, so I filled a plastic stable set with chocolate pudding and frosting and the students had to frost a coin cookie depicting 2 aspects of Hercules!
6. To remove the pesky Stymphalian Birds, students used a plastic bow and arrow ($6 from Walmart!) to shoot down laminated birds grounded in green floral foam.
7. Disposing of the Cretan Bull. One of my favorite classroom activities is creating a word puzzle, so I made a 48-piece Latin word puzzle for each level and decorated the back of the cards with a Cretan Bull.
8. Horses of Diomedes. This was one of my last-minute games, so I had the students play a game of hangman on a whiteboard.
9. For Labor 9, Fetching the Belt of Hippolyte, the students had to fly a wooden Pegasus onto the belt of Hippolyte. I am so embarrassed because this is not mythologically accurate at ALL, but it was the night before and it was all I could find at Dollar Tree!
10. Fetching the Cattle of Geryon. This was a class favorite! I was inspired by Hope King's Hungry Human Hippos, and so I had the students lay on a scooter board with one hand reaching with a claw that had to grab all 12 cattle and bring them back behind the line.
11. Collecting the Apples of the Hesperides. This labor was my favorite because I had worked so hard on the paper mache tree! The students reached up into the tree and grabbed an apple, then completed the Etymology sentences inside.
12. For the final labor, Fetching Cerberus, the students had to match Latin constructions to their correct example. For my Level 1 class this meant identifying Genitive Possession and other case functions, but for my Latin III's and beyond it meant recognizing indirect statement, indirect question, various subjunctives, and more complicated constructions!
Classroom transformations are not complete without decorations! I knew I wanted a giant paper-mache tree in the center of the room that could hold apples with Latin inside. To create this, I paper mache-ed balloons surrounding a cardboard box that then had flaps so the students could reach inside and grab an apple. I had some help hanging it with fishing line, and then I added gold streamers from the Dollar Tree to create a cool trunk. Here is the transformation of the tree:
For the wall coverings, I bought blue tarps on Amazon and had our amazing maintenance team create a black curtain separating the library so the students could feel enclosed. Laminated clouds and lightning bolts really helped set the atmosphere too!
Deity pictures I had purchased from an artist the summer before and laminated
If you’d like a pre-made set of labors, I’ve bundled them here.
A lot of my supplies were purchased on Amazon as cheaply as possible. I have listed affiliate links if interested.