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Lesson Plan by Lauren Martin M.Ed.

Elements of an Epic

Pixton Lesson Plan on Elements of an Epic

Make the elements of a story come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map
  • Graphic Novel

Your students will create amazing images like these in no time!

Pixton Lesson Plan on Elements of an Epic
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings the elements of a story to life with comics and storyboards.
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings the elements of a story to life with comics and storyboards.

Featured Props

Elements of an Epic

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Angel
    Angel
  • City
    City
  • Demon
    Demon
  • Dragon
    Dragon
  • Ghost
    Ghost
  • Lightning
    Lightning
  • Mountain
    Mountain
  • Planet
    Planet
  • Shuttle
    Shuttle
  • Sword
    Sword
Print this Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide

Elements of an Epic

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

Originally, an epic was part of an ancient oral tradition - meaning it was passed down by word of mouth for generations before being written down. For this reason, an epic was told in poetry form, with a rhythm that made it easier to memorize and recite. Epic poems were extremely long, as they recited the adventures of mythic heroes, legends, or historical figures. Many combined factual historical events with mythological figures. One famous example is The Odyssey, which combines the history of the Trojan War with imaginary gods and goddesses. Other epics include The Iliad, The Aeneid, Metamorphoses, Beowulf, The Divine Comedy, and Paradise Lost.

Today, an epic does not have to be spoken or written in the form of a poem. A modern-day epic is any long film or book that tells the story of a hero who has superhuman qualities and experiences supernatural adventures over a long period of time and space. Examples of modern-day epics include: Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

Opening Discussion

How do you decide if a book or movie is an epic story?

There are six elements of every epic:

  1. Legendary Hero

    • The protagonist is very famous during his lifetime. In ancient epics, the hero is usually partially-divine or protected by the gods.
  2. Superhuman Strength, Bravery, and Adventure

    • The hero is capable of unbelievable physical and mental feats that no real human could accomplish.
  3. Expansive Settings

    • The hero's adventure spans across time and space, even to other worlds and dimensions.
  4. Supernatural Elements

    • The plot and characters are shaped by supernatural and other-worldly elements, such as time travel, space travel, immortality, gods, demons, angels, mythical creatures, and superpowers.
  5. Omniscient Narrator

    • The narrator is all-seeing and all-knowing, and shares every character's perspective with the audience.
  6. Exaggerated Writing Style
    • Usually, the writing style is overly formal or exaggerated, using many decorative literary devices.
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Storyboard or Mind Map
    Define Elements of an Epic

    Complete after opening discussion.

    View Activity
  • Make a Storyboard or Mind Map
    Identify Elements of an Epic

    Complete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Make a Graphic Novel or Mind Map
    Create your own Epic

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Discuss (Extension / Modification)

    Students will choose a popular animated film and discuss how the film has all six elements of an epic story.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Discuss the following:

  • Brainstorm a list of modern-day epic novels and films.
  • Are epics more or less popular than traditional stories? Why or why not?
  • What makes an epic timeless?
Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Elements of an Epic 1 Define Elements of an Epic

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Intro

Three effective memory tools include rewriting important concepts in your own words, creating mental images of those concepts, and relating concepts to real-world examples. Commit the six elements of an epic to memory by writing and drawing the meaning of each element, and giving examples of each element from a book or movie.

There are six elements of every epic:

  1. Legendary Hero

    • The protagonist is very famous during his lifetime. In ancient epics, the hero is usually partially-divine or protected by the gods.
  2. Superhuman Strength, Bravery and Adventure

    • The hero is capable of unbelievable physical and mental feats that no real human could accomplish.
  3. Expansive Settings

    • The hero's adventure spans across time and space, even to other worlds and dimensions.
  4. Supernatural Elements

    • The plot and characters are shaped by supernatural and other-worldly elements, such as, time travel, space travel, immortality, gods, demons, angels, mythical creatures and superpowers.
  5. Omniscient Narrator

    • The narrator is all-seeing and all-knowing, and shares every character's perspective with the audience.
  6. Exaggerated Writing Style
    • Usually, the writing style is overly formal or exaggerated, using many decorative literary devices.

Instructions

Create a 6 panel Mind Map or Storyboard that summarizes the six elements of an epic: Legendary Hero; Superhuman Traits; Expansive Settings; Supernatural Elements; Omniscient Narrator; and Exaggerated Writing Style

  • Identify the element in the panel title.
  • Write a detailed description of the element using an example of the element from a story.
  • Include an appropriate illustration for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Define Elements of an Epic

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The dramatic structure is focused, with advanced use of language/ideas. The dramatic structure is well developed with full and accurate descriptions. The plot diagram is accurate and logical; descriptions may be brief. The dramatic structure is basic, has several errors, and lacks detail. The dramatic structure is inaccurate, and is difficult to follow.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• summary is clear and highly detailed
• descriptions are thoughtful and highly developed
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• summary is clear and accurate
• logical descriptions that clarify and develop the idea
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• summary is short, but accurate
• descriptions are simple and consistent
• some relevant ideas
• summary has several errors
• descriptions are brief and lack detail
• often very brief
• summary is has significant errors
• descriptions are difficult to follow
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • varies language to develop meaning
• varies sentence structure for effect
• images and characters have impact on the meaning of the panel
• language is clear with some variety
• varies sentence structure
• makes attempts to use descriptive language
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structure with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• some variety in sentence length and type
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (5 Act Play design) • proper organization
• sequence is highly effective and has purpose
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• logical sequence
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• consistent attention to sequence
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• some attention to sequence
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• no attention to sequence
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total
Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Elements of an Epic 2 Identify Elements of an Epic

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Intro

Students will create a six panel Mind Map or Storyboard depicting the six elements of an epic for a novel or film discussed in class.

  1. Legendary Hero

    • The protagonist is very famous during his lifetime. In ancient epics, the hero is usually partially-divine or protected by the gods.
  2. Superhuman Strength, Bravery, and Adventure

    • The hero is capable of unbelievable physical and mental feats that no real human could accomplish.
  3. Expansive Settings

    • The hero's adventure spans across time and space, even to other worlds and dimensions.
  4. Supernatural Elements

    • The plot and characters are shaped by supernatural and other-worldly elements, such as, time travel, space travel, immortality, gods, demons, angels, mythical creatures and superpowers.
  5. Omniscient Narrator

    • The narrator is all-seeing and all-knowing, and shares every character's perspective with the audience.
  6. Exaggerated Writing Style
    • Usually, the writing style is overly formal or exaggerated, using many decorative literary devices.

Instructions

Create a 6 panel Mind Map or Storyboard that summarizes the six elements of an epic for a novel or film discussed in class:

  • Identify the element in the panel title.
  • Write a detailed description of the element from a story.
  • Include an appropriate illustration for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: Elements of an Epic 3 Create your own Epic

Featured Layouts

  • Graphic Novel
  • Mind Map

Intro

Students will create their own epic, outlining the six elements of their epic:

  1. Legendary Hero

    • The protagonist is very famous during his lifetime. In ancient epics, the hero is usually partially-divine or protected by the gods.
  2. Superhuman Strength, Bravery, and Adventure

    • The hero is capable of unbelievable physical and mental feats that no real human could accomplish.
  3. Expansive Settings

    • The hero's adventure spans across time and space, even to other worlds and dimensions.
  4. Supernatural Elements

    • The plot and characters are shaped by supernatural and other-worldly elements, such as, time travel, space travel, immortality, gods, demons, angels, mythical creatures and superpowers.
  5. Omniscient Narrator

    • The narrator is all-seeing and all-knowing, and shares every character's perspective with the audience.
  6. Exaggerated Writing Style
    • Usually, the writing style is overly formal or exaggerated, using many decorative literary devices.

Instructions

Create your own epic story using a Mind Map or Graphic Novel

  • Include the six elements of an epic.
  • Identify the element in the panel title.
  • Write a detailed description of each element of your creative story.
  • Include an appropriate illustration for each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

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