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Anybody want to help me craft a study of dragonlore for my dragon-obsessed 8th grader??

I'm envisioning a survey of world cultures, history, and art/literature using dragons as the focus. I'm not finding anything like this anywhere! I do have a few options for spines that cover dragon mythology around the world (Far East, Middle East, Europe, Native American cultures, etc.) and I think it should be easy to dig up myths and artwork to go along with each of those regions/time periods, though I'd love suggestions if you have a favorite. I'm less sure of what to have her do with the information -- projects? writing assignments? notebooking?

Any dragon lovers out there want to help me brainstorm??

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Check out this Wikipedia article on dragons as a possible starting point. The article is an overview of Western and Eastern dragons (which could spark some ideas for cultural studies, esp. religious themes that influence the different views of dragons in the West and the East). The article also includes ideas for classic literature that could be a part of your study. And the bibliography has some good ideas for some non-fiction research and a possible research paper.

Other literature ideas, besides myths:
- Ancient Greek myth of the hydra (multi-headed water type of dragon); Heracles (Hercules) slays the Hydra
- Norse epic: Beowulf -- the last 1/4-1/3 of the story follows Beowulf and his sword thane slaying the dragon (which is also the cause of death for Beowulf -- this was a big influence on JRR Tolkien and Smaug in The Hobbit)
- Norse mythology -- Fafnir the dragon
     Volsunga Saga summary = see part 18 for "Sigurd & Fafnir", about the dragon Fafnir and how he is overcome
     "Siegfried" (dramatic poem by Wagner (the opera composer)
     "The Story of Siegfried" (and Fafnir the Dragon) = James Baldwin translation/adaptation
- modern story (Western/Christian influence and Norse influence) = Children of Turin (Tolkien) -- like a cross between an Ancient Greek tragedy and a medieval Norse epic, with a dragon playing a role in
- modern story (Eastern/Tao influence) = A Wizard of Earthsea (LeGuin) = 1 chapter focuses on dragons; other mentions of dragons in other chapters

Art
- short web article "The History of Dragons in Art" -- could be a springboard suggesting ideas for deeper study
- Dragons of China (Huo) -- a grade 4-6 level, but a great intro into Eastern dragons and artwork for then going deeper

Cultural/Religious ideas:
- European Dragon (Western) -- Wikipedia article to point you toward some sources
- Christianity (Western)
     Bible verses on the dragon, Satan (also connected to the serpent)
          Genesis 3:1-24
          Revelation 12:1-17; 13:1-18; 20:1-15
          Isaiah 27:1; 51:9
- Chinese Dragon (Eastern) -- Wikipedia article to point you toward some sources
- Taoism (Eastern)
     Dragon stands for "yang" (the Phoenix stands for "yin") 
     Flaming pearl between 2 dragons
     Architecture: Taoist tempes in Southern China/Taiwan often identified by their roofs, which feature dragons and phoenixes made of multi-colored ceramic tiles

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Wow, this sounds neat! Maybe for output you can do a compare/contrast essay over two culture’s dragons?

A synthesis project at the end where she creates her own dragon? You could have Intermediate assignments like create a field book entry for your dragon (description, characteristics, habitat, range, natural history, etc), draw your dragon, write a folktale with your dragon as a character, etc and all pieces are synthesized together into a display and oral presentation (or YouTube video or other format) at the end. 

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46 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

That sounds like a fun study! My 7th grade DD has been obsessed with dragons since she was little.

I'm happy to share once I get it pulled together if you'd like!

 

17 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Check out this Wikipedia article on dragons as a possible starting point. The article is an overview of Western and Eastern dragons (which could spark some ideas for cultural studies, esp. religious themes that influence the different views of dragons in the West and the East). The article also includes ideas for classic literature that could be a part of your study. And the bibliography has some good ideas for some non-fiction research and a possible research paper.

Other literature ideas, besides myths:
- Norse mythology -- Fafnir the dragon
     Volsunga Saga summary = see part 18 for "Sigurd & Fafnir", about the dragon Fafnir and how he is overcome
     "Siegfried" (dramatic poem by Wagner (the opera composer)
     "The Story of Siegfried" (and Fafnir the Dragon) = James Baldwin translation/adaptation
- modern story (Western/Christian influence and Norse influence) = Children of Turin (Tolkien) -- like a cross between an Ancient Greek tragedy and a medieval Norse epic, with a dragon playing a role in
- modern story (Eastern/Tao influence) = A Wizard of Earthsea (LeGuin) = 1 chapter focuses on dragons; other mentions of dragons in other chapters

Cultural/Religious ideas:
- European Dragon (Western) -- Wikipedia article to point you toward some sources
- Christianity (Western)
     Bible verses on the dragon, Satan (also connected to the serpent)
          Genesis 3:1-24
          Revelation 12:1-17; 13:1-18; 20:1-15
          Isaiah 27:1; 51:9
- Chinese Dragon (Eastern) -- Wikipedia article to point you toward some sources
- Taoism (Eastern)
     Dragon stands for "yang" (the Phoenix stands for "yin") 
     Flaming pearl between 2 dragons
     Architecture: Taoist tempes in Southern China/Taiwan often identified by their roofs, which feature dragons and phoenixes made of multi-colored ceramic tiles

Thank you!!

 

12 minutes ago, Targhee said:

Wow, this sounds neat! Maybe for output you can do a compare/contrast essay over two culture’s dragons?

A synthesis project at the end where she creates her own dragon? You could have Intermediate assignments like create a field book entry for your dragon (description, characteristics, habitat, range, natural history, etc), draw your dragon, write a folktale with your dragon as a character, etc and all pieces are synthesized together into a display and oral presentation (or YouTube video or other format) at the end. 

Great ideas! Overall she has a good foundation in world history, so I am thinking in terms of helping her to draw some conclusions about the various mythologies and what they tell us about their particular culture and its experiences. This could make a good lead-in to a broader study of mythology next year when we study ancient history and literature. I was considering some type of dragon field guide where she catalogs each type and its characteristics; she LOVES to draw dragons so I know she would get kick out of that. And I love the idea of creating her own dragon, folktale, etc. to give her a chance to pull all of this together and examine how her own attitudes are tied to her experiences in the modern world. Lori's ideas for modern stories would go well with that also!

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11 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

I'm happy to share once I get it pulled together if you'd like!


That would be *awesome*! You could just list it as a new post at the end of this thread to make it easy for others to find, along with any ideas that get suggested in this thread that don't work for you, but might work for someone else.

Have a super fun Dragon study! (:D

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The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons has a Dragonborn race for character creation. She could synthesize information from all her research to create a world and Dragonborn characters for role or story playing, if she's at all interested in that kind of thing.

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In a different angle, there are several versions of the “How to Breed a Dragon” genetics simulation. You can also go into real dragons-there  are multiple animals with “dragon” in their name, including lizards, snakes, fish, insects, and even a sea slug :). 

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