Let’s skip past the hoopla of exalting the Hunger Games at the best thing since sliced bread! It’s definitely the most popular youth novel of the year with the media coverage related to the film. Instead, I want to jump right into the best resources available online and some ideas from a discussion thread on English Companion Ning that I found quite helpful. (You can only access this thread if you become a member of this social network for English teachers—which I highly recommend!)
Best Online Resources
Hunger Games Lessons – Tracee Orman, who teaches English in Illinois, has created a comprehensive unit on the whole Hunger Games trilogy that she sells on Teachers Pay Teachers. She also gives away a free resource every week. She also have a Pinterest (online pinboard) and a Scoop.it (online magazine) focused on teaching this novel
Scholastic Resources: The Hunger Games—Lessons, Quizzes, Test, and Vocabulary that has been created for grades 6-8; however, the materials are also appropriate for students reading below grade level in grades 9-10.
New York Times: The Learning Network—“The Odds Ever in Your Favor: Ideas and Resources for Teaching ‘The Hunger Games’” was published March 15,2012 around the time that the film hit theatres. There are numerous links to quality related resources. It’s a thoughtful article that will stimulate your thinking about the novel as it makes many meaningful modern connections.
Sqworl Group—A collection of links to various useful resources: videos, lessons, and wikis.
Related Dystopic Fiction
A Handmaiden’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami – There’s discussion online as to whether The Hunger Games is a rip off of this 1999 book which could be the basis for a critical thinking activity!
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Giver by Lois Lowry
“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
Uglies, Pretties, and Specials (series) by Schott Westerfield
Related Justice and Guilt Themed Literature
Related Films & Television
My Little Eye
Man Bites Dog
Man Vs. Wild & Survivor Man – show focused on survival skills in the wild
Made, The Bachelor & The Biggest Loser – reality show that are obviously scripted
There are several listed and briefly described which can be used as a starting point to novel analysis. I would add media manipulation, however, it relates to “Versions of Reality.”
- Selection Exercise – Create an exercise where the members of the class become the potential hunger games candidates for a district. Students should have a different number of ballots in the draw based on criteria, i.e. eye colour, number of siblings, has a part-time job, etc. Then conduct the draw to see who would be selected.
- Hunger Games Simulation – This exercise is fully described in the discussion on EC Ning by member Pat Keefe, but it involves a system for ‘hunting’ and eliminating members of the class that occurs over a three day period.
- Hot Seat – Assign students to interview in role as the characters of the novel. The class prepares questions to ask the student posing as Katniss, Gale, Peeta, etc. (Idea from Nikki VdB)
- Reenactment – Have the students work in small groups to plan a ceremony for the presenting of the competitors from each district. Alternatives would be to plan the pre-talk show or the celebration in the capitol after the games, or to create entertainment for the capital presentation. (Also ideas from Pat Keefe)
- Maps and Models – Draw a map of the capitol and districts, or the game environment. Create a model of the cornucopia. (Idea from Kathy Peterson)
Have another good idea? Please comment below.