Grades/Level: Upper Elementary (3–5), Middle School (6–8)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, History–Social Science, Science
Time Required: Single Class Lesson
One short pre-visit activity, a one-hour activity for your visit to the Getty Villa, and ideas for post-visit activities
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education staff

Activity Overview

Pomegranate / Greek

Use this activity for visiting the Getty Villa's Herb Garden and the Wine in Antiquity gallery (Gallery 213). Students find and identify plants in the Getty Villa's gardens and depicted on artwork inside the Museum and learn how these plants were incorporated into myths and everyday life in antiquity.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• identify the literary elements of a myth.
• examine the role, meaning, and significance of plants in ancient myths.
• discuss the role of nature in myths.
• discuss the relationship that ancient people had with nature.


Download the documents below to use for your pre-visit activity, visit to the Villa (student worksheet), and post-visit activity. Links to images of works of art that students will see at the Villa are also provided.

In addition to the materials below, you will also need a myth featuring a plant to read aloud to your class. We provide three myths in the pre-visit activity, below.

Activity Steps

Follow the steps below to make the most of your Villa visit.

  1. Download the pre-visit activity, above, and use it in the classroom to help prepare your students for their Villa visit.
  2. Before coming to the Villa, download and make copies for each student of the appropriate student worksheet (see Materials section above). At the Villa, students will use these sheets to investigate the Museum collection and site. An instruction sheet is included with this to guide you and your chaperones at the Villa.
  3. Follow your visit up with the post-visit activity, which your students can complete in the classroom or as a homework assignment.

Below is a summary of the activities contained in the downloadable materials above.

Pre-Visit Activity: Students listen to a myth featuring a plant and discuss the literary elements of a myth. They also look at images of plants they will see at the Getty Villa, both in the gardens and in the works of art.

Student Worksheet: At the Villa, students follow instructions on their activity sheet to choose a plant in the Getty Villa's Herb Garden; describe how the plant looks, smells, and feels; and make a drawing of it. Students then learn about the roles of plants in ancient myths before examining images on a sarcophagus that depicts the process of wine-making.

Post-Visit Activity: Students research myths connected to the plants they have seen at the Getty Villa, then write an original myth about their favorite plant. More advanced students can write an alternative ending to a plant myth of their choice and reflect on how the ending changes the message and meaning of the myth.

Mixing Vessel with Triptolemos / Greek
Mixing Vessel with Triptolemos, Greek, about 470 B.C.