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Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park is a difficult novel to get through without losing track of what is going on in terms of scientific plot. It is also a thriller novel, so there are a lot of, at times convoluted, plot twists to follow as well. As the park spirals more and more out of control, so too do the details get more and more difficult to keep track of. It’s tough for us as teachers, so imagine how difficult it can be for students.
The best way to teach this novel is to have students keep track of key details while they are reading. However, because there is so much information jam packed into the text, it is not a good idea to let them summarize on their own. They may miss details that are essential and instead track non vital information. For novels like this, it is better to tell them exactly what to look for and have them track down the specific information as they read.
For six of the seven iterations (chapters), use the downloadable questions to give out at the beginning of each reading. For the seventh iteration, once the novel is done, have students answer the three essay questions to ensure their comprehension of the entire novel. Using these guiding materials will make sure that students read for detail and can follow intricate plot twists. Once you’re all finished, show the movie just for fun and let them see how different from the novel it really is.
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