Utah’s Great Salt Lake Using Myths and Legends to Build Schema. What is a Myth?. A myth is an attempt to explain a natural process like the motion of the sun across the sky. . Why Do People Make Myths?.
A myth is an attempt to explain a natural process like the motion of the sun across the sky.
People use their schema, or what they know, to explain something they don’t understand.
Myths about the Great Salt Lake
Mexican explorers heard myths about piles of gold and mines full of jewels where the Great Salt Lake is today. In 1500 they set off to become rich.
By the 1700’s, explorers knew there weren’t jewels and gold, but still believed there was a great body of water that connected to the Pacific Ocean. This would save them months of travel by mule to get to California.
Fathers Dominguez and Escalante went too far south.
Lewis and Clark stayed too far north.
The lake remained legend.
The mountain men argued over whether or not the Bear River ran into the Great Salt Lake. Jim Bridger set off to settle the argument.
Bridger found the lake was landlocked and no good for drinking. The coast was marshy and muddy. The salt flats looked solid but were often a thin film over muck.
After their dreams were crushed, people began to tell legends of monsters in the lake.
After people had more schema about the lake, the myths changed. Why do you think the myths began to tell of monsters and danger?
A monster like the Loch Ness Monster was said to eat people.
Giants were said to ride elephants on the islands.
What schema did people have about the lake? might explain this myth?
What were people trying to explain?
What schema do you have about the lake that might explain the monsters?
The bottom of the Lake was said to randomly open up and swallow everything nearby. Everyone avoided the lake until the pioneers settled nearby.
In 1847 a man claimed to see a creature that looked like a dolphin in the lake near Antelope Island. Some called it the North Shore Monster.
What kind of water do dolphins live in?
In 1877 some men working at the lake claimed they were attacked by a large monster with a crocodile body and a horse’s head The men ran away and hid until morning. Many people believe it was only a buffalo in the lake.
What schema do you have for buffalo? for the lake?
What do they act like?
What do they look like?
Could this explain the creature?
What new schema do you have about the Great Salt Lake or the people who explored and settled near the lake?