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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

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

Student Activities for Fahrenheit 451 Include:

Ray Bradbury is one of the great sci-fi writers of the 20th century. In Fahrenheit 451, he portrays a society that has given up on independent thinking, interaction with others, and the natural world itself. His vision of technology coupled with human desire for progress - ultimately leading to our degradation - is a controversial theme that remains relevant to this day.

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




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Fahrenheit 451 Summary

In the Fahrenheit 451 book, Montag is a firefighter, but in his society, firefighters set fires, instead of putting them out. Their primary target are books. The community had grown steadily less opinionated, and more obsessed with political correctness. They had begun to find fault with books and had banned them all.

As the story progresses, Montag grows increasingly curious about books, and what they may offer. He becomes particularly intrigued after he encounters a girl, named Clarisse, who opened his eyes to how disturbing the world has become. This is a stark contrast to the behavior of his wife, who regularly chooses to watch TV over interacting with her husband.

Eventually, his curiosity gets the best of him and he begins to read old books which he has saved and hidden. Unable to decipher their meaning, he seeks out a man he once knew, Faber, a retired English professor. Faber can help Montag see the deeper meaning in books and Montag wonders why anyone began to destroy books in the first place.

The novel climaxes when Montag reads a poem to his wife and her friends, who have come over to watch television. The ladies leave disgusted, offended, and are threatening to file a complaint against him. It is his wife though who reports him.

Montag is ordered to burn the books himself. Instead, he kills his chief and the other firemen in order to escape with a few books he has left. He is able to make his way down the river and finds a colony of intellectuals with a love for books. With these people, he hopes to travel to St. Louis where he can speak to a book printer to try and reproduce his books. At the last moment, jets appear overhead and decimate the city. The novel ends with the group searching for survivors in order to rebuild civilization.


Essential Questions for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

  1. What are the potential dangers of censorship? Where do you see censorship in our society or the world today?
  2. How does an allegory express a stronger or deeper theme than a non-allegorical text?
  3. How do people engage in social protests?

Fahrenheit 451 Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Fahrenheit 451 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 novel. 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 novel with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the novel in the sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



Example Fahrenheit 451 Plot Diagram

Exposition

The novel is set in a futuristic world where firemen start fires and all books are banned. A fireman, Montag, meets a woman named Clarisse while walking home one day. She asks him if he is happy. Although it is a seemingly innocent question, it causes Montag to evaluate his life.


Major Inciting Conflict

Montag sees a woman who burned herself with her books. Even though it is illegal, Montag takes a book, an item he is sworn to destroy.


Rising Action

Montag's chief, Captain Beatty, knows that Montag has taken a book and attempts to explain why they have been censored in hopes of reasoning with him. Beatty himself has committed many verses of famous literature to memory, despite his job enforcing the destruction of literature.


Climax

The novel climaxes when Montag reads a poem to his wife and her friends, who have come over to watch television. The ladies leave disgusted, offended, and threaten to file a complaint against him. It is his wife who reports him to the authorities.


Falling Action

Montag is ordered to burn the books himself. Instead he kills his chief and the other firemen in order to escape with the few books he has left. He is able to make his way down the river and finds a colony of intellectuals who love books.


Resolution

Together with these people, he hopes to travel to St. Louis where he can speak to a book printer to try and reproduce books. At the last moment, jets appear overhead and decimate the colony. The novel ends with the group searching for survivors to rebuild civilization.


Fahrenheit 451 Plot Diagram

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 Fahrenheit 451.


  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.



Story Outline Storyboard Template

Example

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





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Fahrenheit 451 Themes

Valuable aspects of any literary work are its themes, symbols, and motifs. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to anatomize without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.

In the classroom, students can track the themes this novel uses to send a strong message to readers about free thought and knowledge.


Fahrenheit 451 Themes to Look For & Discuss

Knowledge vs. Ignorance

A major theme throughout the novel is the struggle between these two concepts. From the beginning, the people in this futuristic society have the perception of 'knowledge'. From the descriptions explaining the large role of media in the society to the interactive TV dramas that incorporate the viewer, the people appear well connected and informed. The media gives the perception that they have knowledge. However, this is not true; society has immersed themselves in the media to the point that they have become ignorant. Instead of thinking deeply and gaining knowledge from books and education, they have retreated into shallow feelings and comfortable media.


Censorship

In the novel, books are banned because the government believes they are dangerous to society. People's thoughts are also censored, as well as their actions. When Montag tries to explain his curiosity with books to his wife, she turns him into authorities out of fear.


Symbols and Motifs to Look For & Discuss

Fire

In the novel, fire and firemen are a paradox. Instead of fighting fires, firemen start them. Fire is often used to symbolize destruction, but also passion, or enlightenment. For Montag, fire represents the destructive nature of his work: condemnation and censorship. However, it also signifies the enlightenment that books later bring to his life.


Books

Books and knowledge symbolically threaten people's beliefs, begin revolutions, or change a society. Historically, books have frequently been looked at with a watchful eye, sometimes being banned or censored.


Fahrenheit 451 Themes

Example

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Fahrenheit 451 Character Map


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As students read, a storyboard can serves 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!

You can click on this map and create a copy on your teacher account. Feel free to use it as is, or to edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets, for your students to complete while reading, is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.

Fahrenheit 451 Characters

Guy MontagThe main protagonist, a third generation fireman who is searching for himself. When he breaks the law by keeping a book, he begins to question the values of his society.
Mildred MontagGuy's wife. She previously tried to commit suicide and is obsessed with 'reality TV' and the media. Instead of engaging in meaningful conversations with her husband, she shuts him out.
Captain BeatyBeaty is Guy's fire chief. He memorized many verses of literature and at one time, would have been considered well-read. However, he now looks down on those who read and is often harsh and judgmental of others' thoughts and ideas. When Montag steals a book, Beaty somehow knows.
Clarisse McClellanRepresents the beauty of the world. She is a 17-year-old girl who enjoys nature, and is seen as odd for that. Clarisse who opens Montag's eyes to the world around him, seeing her happiness from the simple pleasures of life makes him question his existence.
Professor FaberA retired English professor who regrets not standing up to society years ago when books were beginning to be burned. Montag meets Faber a year before the book opens. Faber also helps spark Montag's curiosity.
GrangerGranger is an outcast of the current society. He leads a group of people who fight to protect books although society has condemned them. Granger's inner strength and a quiet dominance appeals to Montag.
Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. BowlesTwo friends of Mildred who are the epitome of what society has become. Both have a lean and dark look, with little to no personality. Through them, the reader can see how terrible society has become.
Stoneman and BlackFiremen who work with Montag. They are cold and vapid, doing their job without emotion or thought.
Fahrenheit 451 Characters

Example

(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. Identify the major characters in Fahrenheit 451 and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a Storyboard That character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the Textables for Traits, Knowledge or Ignorance, and Static or Dynamic.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.


Blank Character Map

Example

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





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Fahrenheit 451 Vocabulary


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Another great way to engage your students is through the creation of storyboards that use vocabulary from Fahrenheit 451. Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the novel and an example of a visual vocabulary board.

Vocabulary Words From Fahrenheit 451

  • mausoleum
  • sedative
  • asylum
  • censor
  • phoenix
  • nozzle
  • stolid
  • fiery
  • compress
  • pedestrian
  • subconscious
  • penetrate
  • pulverize
  • stratum
  • melancholy
  • quiver
  • olfactory
  • proclivity
  • cog
  • odius
  • trajectory

In the vocabulary board students can choose between coming up with their use of the vocabulary board, finding the specific example from the text, or depicting it without words.

Fahrenheit 451 Vocabulary

Example

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


Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in Fahrenheit 451 by creating visualizations.


  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



Vocabulary Template Blank

Example

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Fahrenheit 451 Dystopia


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Utopian/ Dystopian literature is a rapidly growing sub-genre of popular fiction. Authors often use utopias to convey a message about the world we live in today.

Dystopias are extremely flawed societies. In this genre, the setting is often a fallen society, usually occurring after a large scale war, or other horrific event, that caused chaos in the former world. In many stories this chaos gives rise to a totalitarian government that assumes absolute control. The flaws in this sort of a dystopia are center around oppression and restrictions on freedom by central authorities.


Fahrenheit 451 as a Dystopia

No Independent Thought (or Speech)

Society has become obsessed with the media, TV, and radio. It has censored thought and knowledge through the banning of books.


Puppet Government

The government has amended the constitution, mainly to take away rights of the people.


Lack of Free Will

Choices are taken away. Those who break the rules or laws suffer the consequences, like those who have their books burned!


"Sameness/Uniformity"

Uniformity or individuality is expressed through the media and especially through the TV. Technology has become so advanced that giant wall-sized TV's can be found in every home and TV programs can incorporate the viewer's name and preferences to get them to interact with the show.


Perfect Society

The government's censorship and a ban on books is portrayed as being for the good of society. Without religion and books, ideas cannot spark differences between people, leading to a more sedate society.


Citizens are Under Surveillance/Fear

The government uses citizens to police each other. Family members, friends, and neighbors are so afraid that they will turn on one another. This is evident when Mildred reports Guy for having a book.


Fahrenheit 451 Dystopia

Example

(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 the six elements of a dystopia in Fahrenheit 451.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify events or characteristics of the story that fit into the elements of a dystopia
  3. Illustrate the examples for each event or characteristic.
  4. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Fahrenheit 451 as a dystopia.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.



Elements of Dystopia Template

Example

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





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Don’t Let the Fun Stop There! Check Out Our Other Lesson Plan Ideas.

  1. Use storyboard that show precise causes and effects of events that happen in the novel.
  2. Use a storyboard to depict one chapter at a time.
  3. Create a T-Chart for the theme of knowledge vs. ignorance.
  4. Add a presentation to any storyboard project.

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