Epic Poetry Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Teach your students about epic poetry using this lesson plan, which uses a video lesson to introduce them to the concept and two major epic poems, then cements the concepts with a creative writing activity. Check for understanding with a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define epic poetry.
  • summarize the plots of two epic poems.
  • explain the importance of epic poetry.


Approximately 60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.


Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.


  • Cards displaying major events from The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Iliad
    • Use important plot points from each epic poem; for example, ''Utanapishtim reveals that the great flood was caused by an angry god'' or ''They dragged Hector's body around to show their contempt.''
    • Use the plot points for the epics given in the lesson Epic Poetry: Definition, Heroes & Stories.)

Instruction - Introduction to Epic Poetry

  • Start class by having students call out sentences using the word 'epic.' They may not use it to refer to poetry, but they might call an adventurous movie 'epic,' or a triumphant video game victory might be called an 'epic' win. Write down several examples on the board and discuss the meaning of the word.
  • Explain that they're going to learn about epic poetry. Based on the discussion so far, get their thoughts on what epic poetry might be, and write the class-created definition for epic poetry on the board.
  • Divide the class into groups of three, and pass out a stack of event cards to each group.
  • Tell the groups that they have the plots to two epic adventures on the cards in front of them. Their job is to sort the cards to attempt to create the stories. When students are finished, call on a few to read out the stories they've created.
  • Play the video lesson Epic Poetry: Definition, Heroes & Stories. As the lesson plays, direct students to check their work and make corrections. You may need to pause the lesson or replay sections.
  • When the video concludes, call on groups to read out their revised plots. Check the class definition for epic poetry against the one given in the lesson and make corrections as needed.
  • Use the lesson quiz to assess understanding.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account