Now that you have read some legends and seen some mythical and fantastic beasts, it’s time to complete your project. One choice is to create a mythical animal. based on a real animal of your choice, and write about it. A second choice is to choose a mythical creature and then create a poster as if the creature were really found in nature.
Write a Story About a Mythical Beast
What if you were one of the first people ever to document a glimpse of an elephant, a great white shark, an orangutan, or any other of the thousands of amazing animals in the world? What story would you tell to explain what you saw? What facts would you get right? What might you get wrong? Write a story that blends truth and fiction into legend. You may want to include:
- where you saw the creature, including the continent, country, and the specifics of the environment
- what you were doing when you saw it
- what it looked like
- how it behaved
- what it eats
- what strengths and/or powers you imagine it to have based on what you saw
- whether people native to the area have ever seen it, and what they say about it
- whether you will try to see it again
Add any details you like to make the story adventurous. You may even want to draw an illustration or illustrations for your story to show what this mythical beast looked like!
Resources for a story:
- a computer with a word processing program, or pens and paper
- websites and books about mythical creatures (See Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3)
- writing advice and tutorials:
- T.A. Barron: Advice for Aspiring Writers:Do you need some inspiration to get started writing your myth or legend? If so, check out the website of T.A. Barron, a fantasy writer beloved by children and adults alike. Here you will find some wise words of advice!
- Writing with Writers: Myths:This online workshop may give you some ideas for writing about your mythical or legendary beast.
- a book or website about bookbinding, in case you decide to turn your story into a book:
- Bookmaking:Making a simple book is fun and rewarding. Beautiful books can be created using this simple technique. The following directions describe how to make a single signature book using pamphlet binding, one of the simplest ways to bind sheets of paper. Be careful with the tools! You may want to ask an adult for help.
Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques for Making Beautiful Books, Journals and Albums by Shereen LaPlantz (ISBN 0-937274-87-9) This volume is filled with creative ideas for making books. Students learn basic folding, pasting, and binding techniques, as well as more complicated methods for creating “alternative” books such as puzzle books, tunnel books, and star books. Students who want the outside of their book to be as engaging as the inside are sure to find inspiration within these pages.
Create a “Scientific” Poster for a Legendary Creature
What if you were a natural scientist, and one day you found a real-life dragon, mermaid, or sasquatch? What environment would it inhabit? What would its anatomy be like? How would it hunt or gather its food?
Create a “scientific” poster showing a mythical beast as if it were a real animal. Draw it in its natural environment, and/or alone to show detail. Include information about its anatomy, dietary needs, sleeping habits, and behavior.
Give it a scientific name. Make your poster as real as it can be.
For an example of a very “scientific” look at dragons, click on the link for the American Museum of Natural History. At this site, you can see scientific information about dinosaurs, including anatomy, habits, and habitat. Can you get any ideas here that will help you to present your dragon or other mythical beast “scientifically?” In the resources below, you will also find drawing advice and a site with tips for creating a scientific poster.
Resources for a “scientific” poster:
poster board, cardboard, or stiff paper
art supplies, such as colored pencils, glue, and scissors
websites and books, like those found in Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3, and these below:
American Museum of Natural History: Dinosaurs . Explore the images, videos, and exhibits on this cool site to learn more about dinosaur anatomy, movement, hunting, and more. Can you get any ideas here for the anatomy, behaviors, or habitat of your mythical creature? this site may be particularly useful if you’re creating a dragon. If you choose to design another type of mythical beast, think of an animal in the real world that is similar, and then learn about its scientific properties.
Science Fair Projects Display Boards . You can find information here about the content and structure of scientific posters. Wow your audience with an amazing display board. Visit this site and learn how to design and present your project.
Here Be Dragons: A Fantastic Bestiary by A. Delacampagne and C. Delacampagne (ISBN 069111689X) This giant book of dragons has lots of text, so it might seem overwhelming, but it also has tons of pictures of dragons and other mythical beasts that could be useful to you.
Dragonart: How to Draw Fantastic Dragons and Fantasy Creatures by J. “NeonDragon” Peffer and Jessica Peffer (ISBN 1588065574) This book is full of wonderful, unique dragons and other beasts that you can draw.
Draw Fantasy: Dragons, Centaurs, and Other Mythical Characters by Frank Dixon (ISBN 1565657705) Here you will find lots of great tips and illustrations to help you draw trolls, unicorns, fairies, and more.
With whom can you share your mythical beast project?
- Could you hang your poster in your classroom, school library, or local library?
- Could you give a copy of your book or story to the library or to your classroom teacher?
- could you enter a contest, such as those listed below?
Writers in grades 7-12 can submit entries in science fiction/fantasy, short story, drawing, painting, and more. Could you submit your myth or story? Could you submit a drawing, painting, or collage of your mythical beast? Prizes include publishing opportunities and cash awards of up to $10,000. Check the website for details and deadlines. If this year’s deadline has passed, keep checking the website for next year’s contest information.
(Minnesota Society for Interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy)
This nonprofit organization awards prizes for science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural, or alternate history fiction (in various divisions according to age), and for poetry (in one division for all ages). Winners will see their work published and receive a gift certificate. Submit each entry separately as an email attachment. If this year’s deadline has passed, keep checking the website for next year’s contest information.