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Novel Ideas for Teaching "The Hunger Games": Student Activities

written by: Pamela Rice-Linn • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 7/12/2012

Take your students on an adventure exploring the science fiction world of Panem through the eyes of Katniss Everdeen, heroine of The Hunger Games. These activities will provide opportunities for your students to participate in creative and challenging activities to test their knowledge.

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    Novel Preview

    Hunger Games Before reading the novel, ask students the following guiding questions as journal topics and later as part of a class discussion:

    • What do you value above everything else?
    • What does it mean to survive?
    • What is the most you would do to survive?
    • What images does the title of the novel bring to mind?
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    As Students Read

    Visualize Setting While students read the novel The Hunger Games, encourage visualization of the setting by asking them to create maps of locations found within the novel. Once the novel is completed, ask them to revisit their maps, have them explain at which part of the story meaning became clarified, and make corrections as needed.

    • All of Panem
    • District 12
    • The Arena

    Radio Interview As students read, ask them to accumulate a list of questions they would ask the main characters from the novel. After a cluster of chapters have been read, draw names from the class and ask those students to assume the identities of characters from the novel. Ask one student to assume the role of disc jockey. Have student ‘listeners’ call into the radio show to interview main characters by raising their hands and asking their questions. Students portraying characters should be aware of character motivations and actions before participating in the activity.

    Advertising Panem Products Students will make a series of billboards for products created in Capitol City and used by Hunger Games participants. Before completing this activity, students should brainstorm a list of items which might be used in Capitol City or in the arena. They can use poster-sized paper or simply add their ads on card stock. Students should provide a picture of the product, an explanation of what it does, and include a catchy phrase to promote their product. For more advertising ideas, have students browse through magazine ads.

    Write a Sensory Emotion Poem Students will first brainstorm the many emotions Katniss experiences along with the incidents which inspire the emotional reaction. Choose one emotion for the poem. In the first few lines of the poem, associate the emotion with the five senses. The last line of the poem will include a metaphor of the emotion. Challenge students to add more than one stanza to their poems. Another idea is to use the poem to summarize Katniss’s emotions from the beginning, middle, and end of the novel, each emotion through a different stanza. This activity will encourage creative thought while motivating students to think critically about the novel.

    Title (Emotion)

    (Line 1) (Emotion) is (color)

    (Line 2) What does the emotion taste like?

    (Line 3) What does the emotion smell like?

    (Line 4) What does the emotion feel like?

    (Line 5) What does the emotion sound like?

    (Line 6) What does the emotion look like?

    (Line 7) (Emotion) is _____________(include a metaphor)

    EXAMPLE:

    Frustration is brown.

    It tastes like burnt oatmeal

    and smells like the pages between an ancient book.

    It feels like choking and gasping for air in a smoke-filled room

    and sounds like the drone of locusts on a summer’s day.

    It looks like the fingernail dents in the palm of my hand.

    Frustration is an empty well at the edge of a desert.

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    Other Fun Ideas

    800px-Board-game-hamlet Create a Game Based on the Novel Encourage students to create a board game, card game, or learning game using the events and experiences from the novel. They should specify the object of the game, how many players can participate, the list of rules in clear terms, and how to win the game. Once completed, ask participants to demonstrate how to play the game.

    Combining Visions Students will create a mural of the novel. Which scenes from the novel would they include on one poster to relate the tale of Katniss’ adventures to someone who had not read the book? One way to decide which images to use for the mural would be to follow the plot structure of the novel when deciding which images to use so that the story is understood entirely from beginning to end. Students might also choose to limit their mural to images of themes or characters from the novel.

    Pick and Choose Students will choose five items they’d like to find in the Cornucopia at The Hunger Games. Which items do they feel they could benefit from the most? Ask them to complete their choices with a description of the purpose. Also, if they could request one item from their sponsor during the games, what would they request?

    100px-Musical note nicu bucule 01.svg 

    Persuading the President Write a persuasive letter to President Snow to end The Hunger Games. Students should try to include logical, ethical and emotional appeals in their letter.

    Story through Song Rewrite lyrics from familiar songs to create musical parodies which concern the novel in some respect. If possible, bring in a karaoke machine to have students perform their work live. They can also create a recording at home and burn their song on a CD or save as an mp3 file to listen to on their mp3 player.

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    Include these activities to encourage student creativity and analytical thinking while practicing reading skills, writing skills, using technology, and creating new and interesting products for the conclusion of the novel. With the variety of activities provided, they’ll be sure to find something they’ll enjoy completing and with as much enthusiasm as they possessed while reading the novel.

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    Sources

    Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press: New York, 2008.

    Metagifted Education Resource Organization: Enrichment Project Idea List, http://www.metagifted.org/products/enrichmentProjectList/

    Primary Resources: Emotion Poems, http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/english/pdfs/00emotion.pdf

    Wikimedia Commons/Bquass, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Board-game-hamlet.jpg

    Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Musical_note_nicu_bucule_01.svg