Explore Myth and Legend with the Lure of Loch Ness

Take your class on a journey to explore the real and the imagined through these activities related to the legend of Loch Ness.

By Cathy Neushul


sunset view of the loch ness monster

Just typing in the words Loch Ness as part of a Google search brought back the feelings I felt when I first heard about this famous legend as a young child. As I scrolled through the search results, I glanced at the photos, recognizing the most famous one featuring an animal that resembles a brontosaurus.

Learning about the Loch Ness legend is a rite of passage. Teachers can take advantage of this tantalizing topic to help their class practice research skills, delve into an analysis of the theories supporting and contradicting such an animal’s existence, and read literature inspired by this legend.

Set Your Class on a Journey of Discovery

Your class will love this task. Ask them to do research on the history of the Loch Ness Monster. A good resource to start with is a PBS website related to the Nova series called The Beast of Loch Ness. Students can read about the history of the legend that has been in circulation for more than 1,500 years. They can also listen to recordings of firsthand accounts from people who claim to have encountered the Loch Ness Monster. In addition, they can learn about the devices, such as sonar, that have been used to try to detect the existence of this animal.

Instead of focusing on one source, learners should look at a variety of websites and search for recent information relating to Loch Ness. After they have compiled their information, allow them share their findings with the class.

Analyze the Data

Once the data has been shared and discussed, continue by providing time for analyzing the information. Each pupil will then choose a side, believer or skeptic, and write a detailed and complete essay describing and supporting their views. This essay could be done in conjunction with a presentation involving pictures, movies, graphs, diagrams and more. Make sure learners use as much information as possible to support their opinion. After completion of their essays, they can present their findings using a PowerPoint, video, or other similar method. They should be graded with a written rubric that describes the elements necessary in a persuasive argument.

Read Myths and Legends

Everyone loves reading myths and legends. In different ways, the same stories are told again and again and again. While not based on Loch Ness, a story about a similar monster written by Ray Bradbury can be a way to discuss this legend.

Recently, I discovered Bradbury’s story “The Fog Horn.” It is the tale of a lonely monster who is looking for love. He leaves the dark recesses, where he has been hiding for centuries, to follow a fog horn. He expects to find an animal like himself. Instead, he finds a lighthouse and meets a tragic end.  

This story is a wonderful read. Your class can discuss the symbolism of the story, its meaning, and the link to the monsters of legends. No matter which way you choose to explore this topic, myths and legends provide a way to teach important skills in a motivating manner.

The Legend of Loch Ness

The Scientific Search for the Loch Ness Monster

Delve into the scientific method by analyzing stories like the legend of Loch Ness. Learners discuss the scientific method, complete quizzes, and talk about other types of myths. This would be a great way to explore this topic.

Solving Science Mysteries

Help your class learn how to create a persuasive essay. Learners do research on a myth, such as the Bermuda Triangle, and come up with a speech to convince others of their theories. This is a higher-level thinking activity that your class will love.

The Lore o’ the Irish

The Irish are known for their fascination with myth and legend. Through an exploration of this country’s cultural heritage, your class can explore the importance of these types of stories. They create a timeline to show how historical events and legends are linked.