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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Teacher Guide by Bridget Baudinet

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Middle School ELA Category!

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.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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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

  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?

Divergent Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Divergent Plot Diagram


Copy Assignment



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.



Divergent Plot Diagram
Create your own at Storyboard That EXPOSITION CONFLICT RISING ACTION CLIMAX FALLING ACTION RESOLUTION 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Hi Mom. Please go ahead. Let me move out of your way. Rankings 1. Edward 2. Peter 3. Will 4. Christina You are divergent. Never tell anyone. Divergent is dangerous!

Example

(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. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.



Plot Diagram Template
Create your own at Storyboard That