Are you teaching Oedipus Rex? Looking for fun and engaging activities to do with your students?
In this post, we’re going to show you 14 fun and engaging pre-reading, while reading, and post-reading activities and resources for Oedipus Rex.
We’ll even throw in a few whole-unit bundles at the end of the post if you are super tight on planning time and just need it all done for you.
Teaching Oedipus Rex: pre-reading activities
1. Crash Course Literature Oedipus Rex Worksheet
The first resource I’m going to show you today is mine. I know, shameless promotion. But, you know, I gotta make some dollar dollar bills.
I love using the Crash Course videos as pre-reading activities because they are fast-paced, funny, and engaging. Generally, the videos discuss themes, characterization, and the context of the text.
BUT, they do often have spoilers, so I am mindful of when I want to keep the ending of a text secret and will stop the video before the spoilers.
2. Introduction Stations by Room 213
Another way to introduce the play is to help students better understand the context of the text.
This introduction stations activity by Room 213 is an engaging way to help your students better understand the context of the text. The activity covers
- The background story of Oedipus
- The gods mentioned in the play
- The ancient Greeks
- Ancient Greek tragedy
- Ancient Greek theater
- A bonus station on the mystery of the Oracle at Delphi
Each station has an information sheet and a task card with instructions. Students will use these to create their own notes using a blank worksheet/graphic organizer.
3. Oedipus Prologue
Another task that helps students better understand the text is to learn more about the prologue.
This PowerPoint explains the prologue so that students can better understand the play. Included in the activity are
- explanation of current and ancient prophecy
- explanation of hubris, including examples from texts and a movie
- prologue broken down into smaller sections in PowerPoint
- graphic organizer/plot map for students to take notes about the prologue
- copy of the notes page after each section of the prologue to show students what to write on their note-taking page (if needed)
- analysis worksheet for students to reflect why Socrates started the play in the middle and why he wanted the audience to know more than Oedipus
4. Agree or disagree pre-reading activity
Getting students familiar with the major themes of the play is another great way to introduce the text.
This agree or disagree pre-reading activity by The Lit Guy is a fun way to introduce major themes from the play. The slideshow has 10 statements students need to either agree or disagree with.
Students then need to move to the agree or disagree side. Students must also be prepared to defend their choice.
Like the introduction stations mentioned earlier, this is a great activity for students who need to move. And an easy way to broach ideas in the text.
5. Using Star Wars to teach epic mythology
As always, pop culture references are a good way to help students understand older, culturally unfamiliar texts.
This activity has a PowerPoint and essay that analyzes the structure of Star Wars and compares it to other epic mythology, including Oedipus Rex.
This is a fun way to use students’ pop culture knowledge to teach them about the structure of epic mythology. The activity covers
- The hero and his quest
- Exploration of the heroic journey
- The theme of good vs. evil
- Reliance on spiritual forces
- The heroic companion/sidekick
- The difference between standard epic mythology and Greek tragedy.
Teaching Oedipus Rex: while reading activities
Once you have set the scene and are ready to begin teaching Oedipus Rex, activities such as the ones below are good to do while reading the text.
1. Family tree
This family tree activity and questions by Lovin’ Language Arts is a great way to help students understand who’s who in the play.
Included in the activity is
- a slideshow that explains the story of Oedipus in comic strip format
- family tree worksheet
2. Twitter-style activity: bell ringers or task cards
These bell ringer/task card activities by The Green Light are a great way to use your students’ obsession with social media to help them learn.
The bell ringers/task cards cover the play’s major and minor characters, as well as the author.
The cards include a prompt for students to write a tweet from a character, along with two hashtags and sketching space for an emoji.
You can choose to print the whole set or just specific sheets for each character. Students are also encouraged to think about the author’s message/purpose by completing the task card for the author.
The activity also has a Trending Now page to compile students’ hashtags. This is a great way to show you what ideas your students are remembering. And if you laminate this sheet you can re-use it each time you use a task card/bell ringer.
3. Oedipus Rex Study Guide
Another great tool to teach Oedipus Rex to high school students is a study guide.
This Oedipus Rex study guide by Raymond Moore is an easy way to help your students get a strong understanding of the play. The study guide is specifically for the Bernard Knox translation of the play and includes
- an annotated list of characters
- a clear, original account of the back-story The Myth of Oedipus
- a detailed introduction to Greek tragedy
- 58 in-depth questions on the play covering the background, themes, and characters of the text. (No answers are provided).
- Ideas for grouping students for discussion, feedback, and presentations
- Literary terms activity with student sheets
- Literary terms glossary
Teaching Oedipus Rex: after reading activities
Once you have read Oedipus Rex, you will like want some revision and assessment tasks. Below are some fun puzzles, a digital escape room, quizzes, and a test with an answer key.
1. Quotefall puzzles
These quotefall puzzles by Word-Wise Language Arts Resources are a fun way to review the play. Students transfer letters into a puzzle grid creating a quote from the play.
2. Digital escape room review
This Oedipus Rex digital escape room review by English Bulldog is a fun way to review the play. In the activity, students work in small groups to escape the room. And all you have to do is share the link. No prep!
Once students finish the game (which includes self-checking Google forms), they get a congratulations message that they can show you to let you know they’ve finished.
The teacher guide has visuals and hints so that you can help struggling students.
The escape room reviews the following
- the Oedipus myth
- the killer’s identity
- Spinx’s riddle
- characters and settings/places
- a quote from the play
- Sophocles’ life
3. Google forms quizzes
Once you’ve finished reading, you can use these Google forms quizzes by Teacher’s Pet Publications to either review or assess your students’ understanding.
The quizzes are arranged in six sets of ten questions. Each question has one point and the quizzes are self-grading.
You are also able to edit the form – you can add or delete questions and change the quiz settings.
So if you’re short on time and looking for an easy way to test your students on Oedipus Rex, these quizzes are an excellent solution.
4. Unit test with answer key
If you’re after a paper-based assessment after reading Oedipus Rex, this unit test with an answer key by Juggling ELA might be better for you than the quizzes above.
The product has 31 multiple choice questions, 9 match-up questions, and a choice of two essay questions.
This unit test will also suit those who are wanting students to write an extended essay response for assessment.
Teaching Oedipus Rex: whole unit bundles
1. Two-week fun bundle by English Bulldog
If you’re short on time to cover the play, but it’s a required text, this two-week bundle of fun activities for Oedipus Rex may be exactly what you need. Included in the product are
- Fishbowl debate
- Football discussion protocol
- Pre-reading carousel discussion
- Review task cards
- Myth plot race
- QR codes background worksheet
- Silent tea part: pre-reading and textual analysis activity
- Themes textual analysis activity
- Fate vs Free Will puzzle race
- Collaborative ABC book citing activity
- Links to review games
- Prolgoue objective summary assignment and rubric
- Teaching notes
2. Five-week full unit by S J Brull
If you have a little more time to cover the play, you might want to take a look at this 5-week unit by S J Brull. This unit was developed using the Francis Storr translation of the play, which is available for free on Project Gutenberg.
The resource includes
- a pacing guide
- pre-reading activities with a two-page handout of quotes relating to themes in the text. Students need to explain whether they agree or disagree and be prepared to explain their opinions.
- essay planning sheet
- reading quizzes and quote analysis
- research theme and tracking notes
- posters with important themes and quotes
- author information worksheet where students create a social media profile for the author
- character analysis guided instructions for students to track character development through the text, character graffiti table to track minor characters and how they contribute to the theme in the text, and character review project that gives students a chance to be creative and write in an evidence-based way
- Socratic method discussion PowerPoint that explains to students how to engage in a semi-structured class discussion about the text
Do you know other great activities?
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