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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Teacher Guide by Bridget Baudinet

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Divergent Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Divergent Include:

Divergent, the first novel in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, has enjoyed widespread popularity among young adult readers, increased by the 2014 movie adaptation. A dystopian thriller, the story follows Tris Prior a girl whose very identity undermines the strict social structure of her society. As Tris tests her limits by joining the Dauntless faction, one of her society’s five divisions, her natural “divergent” tendencies prove both advantageous and dangerous. Ultimately, the tensions in her society result in an all-out war that Tris and her allies must try to stop. An exciting adventure, Tris’ tale follows the age-old pattern of the hero’s journey and provides teachers with an accessible text for teaching story structure, character development, and point of view.

Divergent Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Divergent Plot Diagram


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A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



Example Divergent Plot Diagram

Exposition

Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior lives in a futuristic society in which all people live in one of five factions, according to their dominant personality trait: Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Amity, or Candor. Beatrice and her brother Caleb have grown up with their parents in the Abnegation sector, but will be allowed to choose their own faction at the Choosing Ceremony.


Conflict

In her aptitude test, Beatrice learns that she is divergent, a mix between three factions. Beatrice decides to join the Dauntless faction, but must keep her divergence a secret for her own safety.


Rising Action

Tris finds new friends in Dauntless, but also makes several enemies. As she struggles to make it to the top of the rankings in the competitive initiation process, Tris is routinely beaten up and faces attempts on her life. Fortunately, her instructor Four watches out for her, and the two become romantically involved.


Climax

Just after successfully completing initiation, Tris and her peers are injected with a new serum. When the serum causes the Dauntless masses to attack the Abnegation compound, Tris, being divergent, is unaffected. She attempts to protect her Abnegation family, but is captured by Jeanine Matthews, Erudite leader.


Falling Action

After escaping execution by drowning, Tris returns to the Dauntless compound with her father, Caleb, and Marcus. With their help, she breaches the control room where she frees Four from the serum's influence and helps him stop the simulation. The Dauntless soldiers regain control of their own minds and stop fighting the Abnegation.


Resolution

Tris and her allies know that this is only the beginning of the fight against Erudite. They flee the Dauntless compound and head out of the city, seeking protection among the Amity, safe for the time being.



(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of Divergent.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  4. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
  5. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Divergent Hero’s Journey


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Divergent’s story structure falls into the classic pattern of the hero’s journey. First articulated by mythologist Joseph Campbell, the hero’s journey is a recurring pattern of stages found in many heroic epics throughout varied cultures and historical periods. As the hero in the Divergent series, Tris Prior lives out the 12 fundamental steps outlined in the chart below. To help students visualize this pattern, have them use a storyboard to break down Divergent’s structure and identify the twelve stages of Tris’s heroic journey.



Example Divergent Hero’s Journey

STAGESUMMARY
Ordinary World Beatrice Prior lives with her parents and brother in the Abnegation faction. She and the rest of her faction spend their time trying to be selfless and help others.
Call to Adventure In her aptitude test, Beatrice learns that she is divergent. This knowledge leads her to consider leaving the Abnegation faction.
Refusal Beatrice struggles with the idea of switching factions. It breaks her heart to leave her family forever.
Mentor/Helper Beatrice has several mentors. Her mother and Tori help her early on. After she crosses the threshold, Four becomes her main mentor.
Cross the Threshold Beatrice decides to join the Dauntless faction at the Choosing Ceremony. In her new faction, she becomes Tris.
Tests / Allies / Enemies The Dauntless initiation provides many tests for Tris. She makes friends who help protect her, including Four, Christina, Will, and Uriah. She also makes dangerous enemies, such as Peter, Edward, and Al, who try to kill her out of jealousy. Meanwhile, the ruthless Erudite leader, Jeanine Matthews, begins to suspect she is divergent.
Approach With the help of Four, Tris works to improve her physical and mental preparedness, so she can successfully finish initiation without revealing her divergence.
Ordeal Tris must complete the Dauntless initiation by successfully making it through her fear landscape. If her score is not high enough, she could fail initiation and become factionless.
Reward Tris successfully completes initiation and is rewarded by a #1 ranking.
Road Back Tris's time in Dauntless doesn't last long. When Jeanine, the Erudite leader uses a serum to force the Dauntless to attack Abnegation, Tris returns to Abnegation to defend her former faction.
Atonement Tris loses her mother and father, and is almost killed by Jeanine. Finally, she faces Four in the Dauntless control room and helps him break free of the mind-control serum. Four stops the simulation, and the Erudite coup ends.
Return Tris, Four, and the others leave the Dauntless compound and head to a new life. They cannot return to Abnegation, but will meet the surviving Dauntless and Abnegation in the Amity compound.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Use the story of Divergent and map it to the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Depict and describe how the chosen character's story fits (or does not fit ) into each of the stages of the Hero's Journey.
  3. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.
  4. Save and submit storyboard to assignment.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Divergent Character Map


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As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a novel, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!


Divergent Characters

  • Tris Prior
  • Caleb Prior
  • Natalie Prior
  • Andrew Prior
  • Four
  • Eric
  • Al
  • Peter
  • Christina
  • Jeanine Matthews
  • Marcus
  • Tori

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify the major characters in Divergent and type their names into the different title boxes.
  3. Choose a character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  4. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  5. Replace the bold words in the text boxes with the following categories for each character: Physical appearance and character traits:, What motivates this character?, and How does this character interact with the main character? Write sentences or bullet points to provide details for each category.
  6. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Divergent Text Connections


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Text Connections
Text to Text Connection that reminds you of something in another book or story
Text to Self Connection that reminds you of something in your life.
Text to World Connection that reminds you of something happening in the world.

Asking students to make connections to the text is one way to encourage active reading and improve reading comprehension. Text connections can also spark meaningful discussions about a novel and its themes and can act as precursors to some essays. For this activity, have students use three storyboard cells to connect Divergent to themselves, another text (or film), and the world around them. Ask them to explain the connection in the text box below each cell.


Example Divergent Text Connections

TEXT TO SELF

Tris's struggle to decide which faction to join reminds me of my own decision about which sport to play. I have played soccer and done swim for years, but I could only choose one this year. It was a hard decision. I wish I could have taken an aptitude test like in Divergent!


TEXT TO TEXT

Divergent reminds me of the book The Giver. In The Giver, teenagers are given their future occupations at the Ceremony of Twelve. They then have to learn the language and habits of that profession. This is similar to Choosing Day in Divergent, when all the sixteen-year-olds choose a faction and begin training for life in that community.


TEXT TO WORLD

Even though it is a science fiction novel, the underlying problem in Divergent is a real-world one: how can we develop a peaceful society? The community in Divergent created the factions to eliminate civil unrest and allow society to function smoothly. Differences in opinions and lifestyles create conflicts in our world every day, causing riots, crime, and even civil wars.


(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows connections you have made with Divergent. Include a connection for text to text, text to world, and text to self.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Create an image for each connection using scenes, characters, items, and text boxes.
  3. Write a description of how the text relates to another text, the world, and you.
  4. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Literary Conflict in Divergent


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Storyboarding is an excellent way to focus on types of literary conflicts.

Having students create storyboards that show the cause and effect of different types of conflicts strengthens analytical thinking about literary concepts. Have your students choose an example of each literary conflict and depict them using the Storyboard Creator. In the storyboard, an example of each conflict should be visually represented, along with an explanation of the scene, and how it fits the particular category of conflict.


Examples of Literary Conflict in Divergent

CHARACTER vs. CHARACTER

Tris is in direct conflict with many other characters. Peter, in particular, strongly dislikes her, which creates a number of conflicts. Peter's fight with Tris during the initiation is just one of many times the two come into conflict with each other.


CHARACTER vs. SELF

Al's suicide creates an internal conflict for Tris. Although she cannot forgive him for trying to kill her, she never wanted him dead. She blames herself for his death and struggles to find peace of mind after his funeral.


CHARACTER vs. SOCIETY

Because she is divergent, Tris does not truly fit into any faction, and she struggles to find her place in society. Although Tris enjoys many aspects of both Abnegation and Dauntless life, she also find things to critique in each. Because the Erudite see divergence as a threat to their society, Tris's difference also puts her in a dangerous position.


CHARACTER vs. TECHNOLOGY

The simulation serum is a technology that creates the climactic conflict in the novel. The Erudite serum is used to control the Dauntless soldiers and start an all-out war between the factions. Tris is immune to the effects of the serum, but must face the chaos it causes.


(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict in Divergent.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify conflicts in Divergent.
  3. Categorize each conflict as Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Society, Character vs. Nature, or Character vs. Technology.
  4. Illustrate conflicts in the cells, using characters from the story.
  5. Write a short description of the conflict below the cell.
  6. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Divergent Character Analysis


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Tris Prior’s divergence means that she has three main character traits, rather than one. Ask your students to find examples of Tris demonstrating these traits as a means of practicing character analysis. For each trait, have them depict a scene, followed by an explanation of Tris’ character in that scene. Adapt this activity to a personal response project by asking your students to choose the three factions with which they identify best and depict their own actions in support of this.

Example Divergent Character Analysis

ERUDITE

Tris shows her erudite side during the capture the flag game. Instead of arguing over how to find their opponents, she cleverly climbs the Ferris wheel in order to get a view of enemy territory. She then organizes an attack plan that leads her team to victory.


ABNEGATION

Tris's abnegation connection is her selflessness. Although she does not feel selfless enough to remain in Abnegation, she can't help trying to help others. When her friend Al is forced to stand still while Four throws knives at him, Tris volunteers to take his place.


DAUNTLESS

Tris proves that she is dauntless early on by becoming the "first jumper". She is the first initiate to boldly jump three stories down into un unseen net below.



(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Prove Tris’s divergence by explaining ways she demonstrates the traits of three different factions.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Fill in Tris’s name at the bottom of the storyboard web, then fill in her three traits at the top of the squares.
  3. Depict a scene from the novel in which Tris demonstrates this trait and explain how she does so.
  4. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Divergent falls into the category of dystopian fiction, a popular genre among young adult readers. Dystopian fiction generally depicts a society whose idealized goals have led to a repressive social structure. Dystopias often start with noble intentions, but gradually devolve as they attempt to enforce perfection. Common characteristics of dystopian novels include a lack of freedom, repressive governments, limited or no choice, corrupt leaders, and a futuristic setting. As a result of these problems, dystopian novels usually share themes relating to freedom and human rights. Before reading Divergent, prepare students with background on dystopias. An understanding of the genre will better enable them to make inferences, predict outcomes, and determine themes.


Essential Questions for Divergent Book

  1. What do you think is the biggest cause of fighting in the world? Does the society in Divergent eliminate this problem?
  2. Do you think fears are good or bad? What are your fears?
  3. What makes Divergent a dystopia?
  4. How does Tris resemble other heroes you have read about or seen in movies?
  5. What character qualities do you value most? Why?


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•   (English) Divergent   •   (Español) Divergente   •   (Français) Divergent   •   (Deutsch) Abweichend   •   (Italiana) Divergente   •   (Nederlands) Afwijkend   •   (Português) Divergente   •   (עברית) מִסתַעֵף   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) متشعب   •   (हिन्दी) विभिन्न   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Расходящийся   •   (Dansk) Divergerende   •   (Svenska) Avvikande   •   (Suomi) Eriävä   •   (Norsk) Avvikende   •   (Türkçe) Iraksak   •   (Polski) Rozbieżny   •   (Româna) Divergent   •   (Ceština) Rozdílné   •   (Slovenský) Rozdielny   •   (Magyar) Az Eltérő   •   (Hrvatski) Odvojit   •   (български) Различен   •   (Lietuvos) Skirtingi   •   (Slovenščina) Divergentni   •   (Latvijas) Atšķirīgs   •   (eesti) Lahkulööja