Grades/Level: Middle School (6–8), High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, History–Social Science
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
Pre-visit research, a one-hour activity for your visit to the Getty Villa, post-visit class presentation (one or more class periods)
Author: Randi Seligson and Melanie Welsh, Middle School Teachers
George Ellery Hale Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District

Activity Overview

Aphrodite/unknown Greek

Use this activity for visiting the Getty Villa. Students follow the model of the infamous Bill and Ted from the feature film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, as students go back in time to learn about deities in the ancient world. After studying and viewing art objects at the Villa that depict gods and goddesses, students transport the deities to the modern world to appear on a mock television talk show.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• identify the unique attributes of a chosen god or goddess from ancient Greek or Roman mythology.
• observe how gods and goddesses were portrayed in art.
• write and perform a script introducing an ancient god or goddess to the modern world.


Download the documents below to use for the pre-visit activity, visit to the Villa (student worksheet), and post-visit activity.

Activity Steps

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

1. Download the pre-visit activity documents for yourself and your students. Use the pre-visit activity handouts in the classroom to help prepare your students for their Villa visit.

2. Before coming to the Villa, download and make copies of the student worksheet for each student (see Materials section above). At the Villa, students will use this to investigate the Museum collection and the site. An instruction sheet is included with the student worksheet to guide you and your chaperones at the Villa.

3. Follow up your visit with the post-visit activity, which your students can complete at home and in the classroom.

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

Pre-Visit Activity: Review and discuss the information included in the "Greek and Roman Deities at the Villa" student handout. Then have students select a god or goddess from the "Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses" handout. Students will use the information in the handouts and additional resources to begin researching the attributes, myths, plant and animal associations, and any unique qualities of the god or goddess they each select. They will take notes and compile a bulleted outline of their research prior to visiting the Getty Villa.

Student Worksheet: While visiting the Getty Villa, students (in small chaperoned groups) will view the object that corresponds with their selected deity. They will further their research by making notes as well as sketching and/or photographing the object.

Post-Visit Activity: After their visit to the Getty Villa, students will imagine that they are bringing their god or goddess back to school for a presentation in the form of a mock television talk show, introducing the ancient god or goddess to the modern world. They will write a script for this show, communicating the god's or goddess's importance and contributions to ancient Greece and Rome. Students must convince the class that the deities were not all exactly the same but, rather, had many unique differences. The god's or goddess's appearance on the talk show should make these differences clear.

Mixing Vessel/Syleus Painter
Mixing Vessel with Triptolemos, attributed to the Syleus Painter, about 470 B.C.