story by Jenny Blackford , illustrated by Gabriel Evans

Learning intention: 

I am learning to make connections between my own experiences and those of characters and events represented in texts drawn from different historical, social, and cultural contexts so that I can consider the impacts of the historical, social, and cultural contexts on the texts I read. 

Success criteria:  

  • I can identify elements about the setting of a story.  
  • I can connect with elements of a story, discussing features I am familiar with from my own life.  
  • I can identify elements in a story that are different from my own life and reflect on what these tell me about the historical context in which the story is set. 
  • I can compose questions to ask a character from the story.  
  • I can compose a script for a role-play between myself and a fictitious character.  

Essential knowledge:  

View the video Context produced by The School Magazine for background information on context in fiction texts. 

Learning resource: 

Read Lost. Inform students that historical fiction is a type of fiction which is set in the past and that often features customs and cultural elements common to the time. Tell students that while Lost is a fictional story it reveals elements of the culture and customs of Ancient Greece. Display the following questions surrounding the setting and discuss them with students:  

  • Where is the story set? (Greece, in the countryside) 
  • What time period is the story set in? (Ancient Greece, inform students that this is a period that spans from around the 12th to 9th Centuries BC up to AD600)  
  • What in the story reminds you of your life or that you are familiar with? (For example, Apollonia has a pet cat, her mother sets her household chores, Apollonia enjoys listening to stories, some students might also relate to picking their own herbs) 
  • What elements of culture included in the story are unfamiliar? (For example, Apollonia must spin her own wool for her mother to use to make clothes, instead of going to the shops for goods Apollonia collects herbs from out in the hills, Apollonia’s father had bought Diokleia to help her mother around the house)  
  • What does the story reveal about the customs and culture of the time? (People could be sold as domestic slaves, pirates would capture people, children would work around the home rather than attending school) 

Tell students to imagine they are taking part in a cultural exchange with people from Ancient Greece. Inform students that they will be considering how their lives differ from those of children in Ancient Greece to assist them with constructing dialogue between the character Apollonia and themselves.  

Discuss ways students’ lives are different, providing suggestions such as, when they need goods they go to the shops, they don’t have anyone working for them in their family, particularly someone who is trapped there, they go to school rather than undertaking chores.  

Discuss questions students may like to discuss with Apollonia if they were to meet her. Suggested ideas might include:  

  • Whether Apollonia feels nervous when she heads into the countryside 
  • If she minds completing so many chores for her mother 
  • Whether she goes to school 

Select a student to take part in a role-play with the teacher. Instruct the student to act in character as Apollonia while the teacher acts as someone from modern-day Australia. Using the ideas students shared, take part in a brief role-play between the two characters. A sample script has been provided below:  

Student: Hello, who are you?  

Apollonia: I am Apollonia, from Ancient Greece.  

Student: It’s very nice to meet you. I’ve always wondered what it’s like to stay home instead of going to school. Do you get bored at home? 

Apollonia: My mother keeps me busy with chores. I would love to learn though. I so enjoy the stories my father reads to us. Do you go to school? 

Student: Yes, I do. I go to school five days a week, except during school holidays. Do you feel sad that the servants in your house  are away from their family? 

Apollonia: Wow, you go to school five days a week. That sounds so blissful. Yes, I do feel incredibly sad for the people who were bought by my father. I often hear Diokleia crying at night, and I wish she could return to her family. Who does the work around your home?  

Student: We all pitch in. I love how you collect your food from the countryside. We go to the shops when we need groceries. Do you get nervous when you head out into the countryside without an adult with you? 

Apollonia: Shops sound so exotic. Sometimes, I am grateful to have one of the farm dogs with me when I go to the hills, just in case I need protection.  

Place students in pairs. Instruct them to compose their own role-play with one student acting as Apollonia while the other acts as a student from modern-day Australia. Allow time for both students to have a turn in each of the roles.  

Once students have rehearsed their dialogue, instruct them to record it using audio recording software such as Voice Memos for IOS or Rev Voice Recorder for android. Alternatively, students can note the dialogue as a script.  


Inform students that they will be creating a video with graphics to accompany their script. View the The Story of Medusa | Zeus, Hera and Little Io - Greek Myth & Ancient Greece For Kids. Discuss how the story is told (via narration and animation).  

Discuss settings for the script to take place, for example at school or in the countryside in Ancient Greece. Provide students with paper and drawing materials for them to sketch their backgrounds.  

Inform students that they will need to create characters for themselves and Apollonia. Provide students access to a variety of materials for creating their characters for example clay, play dough, LEGO bricks, small toy figures. Students can also use paper to sketch their characters.  

Show students how to use a program Stop Motion Studio, by completing the following:  

  • pose the characters in front of the background in their opening position and take a photo using a device such as an iPad or tablet 
  • reposition the characters ever so slightly to begin a movement, for example lifting their arm up, and taking another shot 
  • repeat this process many times to create a full movement 
  • continue using this process to create all movements required 
  • edit images into an animation using Stop Motion Studio