The Odyssey lends itself to projects of epic proportions, and I knew my 9th graders were up to the task.
It was time for an epic final project. I had the 9th graders plan and design a board/table game based on The Odyssey. We had spent the partial reading Lombardo’s The Essential Odyssey, which was easy enough for the struggling students to understand but hard enough to stretch the early finishers.
The task was open-ended: create your own game, whatever kind of game you want, that teaches someone who has never read The Odyssey about the story. The students had to create a project proposal and plan the stages needed to complete the project. I gave them the deadlines – they filled in the stages. I then graded them on what they had completed according to their own plan.
It worked beautifully. Not only were they motivated to finish because of the open-ended nature of the project, they also completed things on time, their creativity blossomed and they produced high-quality work. Pokemon, Monopoly, Pictionary, Trivia, Guess Who, Memory, and even a video game appeared in the mix.
The greatest satisfaction was to play the games with the 5th graders at the end of the project, and show off their work. The 5th graders loved it and the 9th graders enjoyed seeing the fruits of their labor.
They also had the experience of creating a project on a university level of planning that they have perhaps never had the opportunity to do before. They know that they are capable of bringing really complex projects to completion, and that is a skill that will serve them in life.
See the project guidelines I made for the 9th graders here (FREE!).