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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Teacher Guide by Becky Harvey

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

Student Activities for The Hunger Games Include:

The Hunger Games is the first volume in a trilogy of adventure novels. It follows a teenager, Katniss Everdeen, as she fights to survive in a dystopian, futuristic America. The country has been broken into twelve districts, heavily taxed by the wealthy and harsh Capitol.

Every year, the Capitol holds a deathmatch between child tributes, two from each district. Katniss, a strong-willed and capable teenager, volunteers to take her younger sister’s place. Katniss goes through the mind-numbingly violent game of murder with her male counterpart, Peeta. They manipulate the game by faking a romance, and out-maneuver their opponents and Capitol politicians to become joint winners of the Hunger Games.

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




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The Hunger Games Summary

The book begins in Katniss’s home, District 12, where she lives with her mother and younger sister, Prim. Life is difficult in District 12, a mining community, and it became even harder for the Everdeens after Katniss’s father was killed in a mining accident. Katniss looks out for the family and supplements their income by illegally hunting wild game with a bow.

District 12 is part of a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society called Panam, in what was the United States. There used to be thirteen districts, but after a rebellion, District 13 was eliminated by the opulent Capitol, which rules Panem with harsh authoritarianism. After the rebellion of District 13, the “Hunger Games” were instituted: a gladiatorial competition among 24 adolescent “tributes”, a boy and a girl from each of the districts.

As the book opens, Gale, Katniss’ closest friend, hunts with her and suggests they run away together. Katniss rebukes the idea, pointing out they need to support their families. The two return to town in time for “the reaping”, the ceremony where tributes are selected by lottery.

When the female entry is called during the reaping, it is Prim. Katniss immediately volunteers to take her sister’s place. It is highly unlikely that she’ll ever come home. Some of the other districts are much stronger and wealthier, with well-trained tributes.

Her male counterpart is a boy with whom she’s gone to school, Peeta Mellark, the bakers’ son, a charismatic and kind person. Prior District 12 winner, Haymitch Abernathy, and Effie Trinket, their capitol-born chaperone, accompany them on the train ride to the Capitol. Hamish devises a strategy of portraying Katniss and Peeta as a couple to garner public support.

The Hunger Games are a highly technological endeavor. The Capitol funds the games, which are simulcast to all the people of the Capitol and also to those in the districts. It is the ultimate reality show, heavily engineered by the Capitol’s “game-makers”. The tributes are instant celebrities, treated to all the luxuries, fashion, and resources of the Capitol as they prepare for the Games. Peeta takes a central role in improving the pair’s public image, with Katniss reluctantly playing along.

When it is finally time for the kill-or-be-killed televised nightmare, Katniss bravely fights for her life, against both the game-makers and her fellow contestants, putting her practiced hunting skills to good use. She forms an unlikely bond with a very young tribute from District 11, a girl named Rue, who looked after Katniss while she was injured. The two work together to hobble some of the likely victors, but Rue is brutally killed in the process.

After Rue’s death, Katniss finds Peeta, wounded and only hidden by virtue of his excellent camouflaging skills. Having won over the viewers in the Capitol, the game-makers announce that two tributes, rather than one can win, so long as they are from the same district. Peeta and Katniss play up their “love story” for further support, securing an airdrop of medicine to heal both their wounds.

Katniss kills the last opposing tribute, only to have the game-makers reverse their decision to allow joint winners. Peeta insists Katniss kill him and return home. Katniss refuses and devises a plan to keep them both alive: they will both threaten to eat poisoned berries and leave the Capitol with no winners in the Hunger Games. With moments to spare, the Capitol concedes, declaring them joint winners of the 74th Hunger Games!

Katniss and Peeta learn that their stunt is considered an act of rebellion by President Snow, ruler of Panem. While the two continue to affect romantic feelings for each other, it becomes clear Peeta’s are genuine, while Katniss has been acting all along and her true feelings are confused. The two make a triumphant return to District 12, though dark clouds hang over their future.


Essential Questions for The Hunger Games

  1. How important is a person’s identity?
  2. Do reality television shows create a lack of compassion and sense of community?
  3. When comparing conformity to individuality, which is more important to a successful society and why?

The Hunger Games Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram | The Hunger Games Summary


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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 Hunger Games 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 book in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



Example The Hunger Games Plot Diagram

Exposition

Katniss Everdeen lives in a dystopian future where the country is divided into twelve districts and the "Capitol". Katniss, who lives in the poorest of the districts, regularly sneaks out beyond the fence to poach what game she can for food or trade.


Conflict

Most people in the districts struggle to survive. The people in the Capitol live a life of luxury and leisure. As a reminder of a failed rebellion in the past, the Capitol forces the districts to participate in the Hunger Games, in which twenty-four teenagers kill one another to survive.


Rising Action

During the selection of Hunger Games participants, called the Reaping, Katniss' younger sister Prim is selected to be the female tribute from District 12. Katniss volunteers to take her place to save her sister.


Climax

Katniss and Peeta enter the deadly Hunger Games after a short stay in the Capitol where they trained and were put on display for the public.


Falling Action

Katniss surprises viewers and Game Makers alike with her quick thinking and unexpected acts of compassion. Katniss and Peeta win over the hearts of the viewers because of their "romance."


Resolution

The Game Makers reverse the decision to allow two winners from the same district. Katniss and Peeta pretend to nearly eat poisonous nightlock berries in order to beat the Game Makers at their own game. Because the Capitol needs a winner for the Hunger Games, both Katniss and Peeta are declared winners.


The Hunger Games 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 The Hunger Games.


  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.



Plot Diagram Template

Example

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





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The Hunger Games Characters


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Character mapping is a great way for students to look more deeply into the characters of a story. Even better, the completed character map will help students review important details that they may have forgotten after they have finished reading.

For this activity, students will select key characters from The Hunger Games and record physical traits and memorable moments that character had during the story. Students will also think of how they can relate to each character by picking out details and events.


The Hunger Games Character Map

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 The Hunger Games 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 Physical Appearance, Traits, Memorable Moment, and How you can relate.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.


Character Map Template Blank

Example

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





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The Hunger Games Theme Graphic Organizer

Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. Using Storyboard That’s spider map layout, have students create a Hunger Games storyboard about any theme that they’ve identified from the book. They may use as many cells as they’d like, but a good starting point is three. Feel free to assign this activity with a set number of cells in mind; this may help students organize their thoughts more effectively.

Make sure that students not only depict The Hunger Games theme through the use of pictures, but also with the addition of a description that details how their example supports the theme they’ve chosen.

The Hunger Games Theme

Example

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Hunger Games Point of View Graphic Organizer

Many Hunger Games characters went through or observed traumatic events, but each had a different point of view during their experiences. For example, President Snow viewed the death of Rue differently than Katniss or Rue’s parents did.

In this activity, students will choose an event from the book and then select three characters from whose viewpoint they can express the event. Consider using the point of view from the following characters: Katniss, Prim, Gale, Peeta, Haymitch, Effie, Cinna, President Snow, Rue, Cato, or Foxface.

The Hunger Games - Points of View

Example

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The Hunger Games Cause and Effect T-Chart


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Throughout the story, Katniss and the other characters make decisions that cause something else (good or bad) to happen. All actions have consequences and The Hunger Games shows readers how these results might not be predictable. For example, Katniss treats Rue tenderly as she is dying, adding some humanity to the inhumane way in which she dies. As a result, the citizens of Rue’s district honor Katniss’ bravery and defiance against the situation by silently holding up their hands as a way to rebel against the Capitol and show their respect for Katniss and Rue.

Students should choose three instances where a character makes a choice and then show the consequence(s) of that action. For this activity, students should use the T-Chart layout and include both a title and description for each cell. They should then explain the cause and effect of every action in the respective description boxes.

The Hunger Games - Cause and Effect

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 cause and effect relationships in The Hunger Games. Each cause and effect pair will be shown in the same row.


  1. On the left side of the T-Chart, illustrate events that show cause (why).
  2. On the right side of the T-Chart, illustrate events that are the direct effect of that cause.
  3. Write a description below each cause.
  4. In the description under each effect, show how the cause and effect are related.



Cause and Effect in Plot - Template

Example

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





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Teaching The Hunger Games & Comparing Book to History

Writers often look to historical events to develop relatable and thought provoking storylines. When teaching The Hunger Games, the book has many correlations and similarities to events in history. In this activity, students will choose three events in the book, and, using a T-Chart, will show how the event in the book relates to an event in history. It may be helpful for students to utilize the internet or school library for additional historical research, if such resources are available. In the example below, a parallel is drawn between the gladiatorial matches of ancient Rome, and the spectacle of the Hunger Games.

Teaching The Hunger Games - Comparison to History

Example

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•   (English) The Hunger Games   •   (Español) Los Juegos del Hambre   •   (Français) Les Jeux de la Faim   •   (Deutsch) Die Hunger Spiele   •   (Italiana) The Hunger Games   •   (Nederlands) De Hongerspelen   •   (Português) Jogos Vorazes   •   (עברית) משחקי הרעב   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) ألعاب الجوع   •   (हिन्दी) भूखा खेल   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Голодные Игры   •   (Dansk) The Hunger Games   •   (Svenska) Hungerspelen   •   (Suomi) Nälkäpelit   •   (Norsk) Dødslekene   •   (Türkçe) Açlık Oyunları   •   (Polski) Igrzyska Śmierci   •   (Româna) Jocurile Foamei   •   (Ceština) Hladové hry   •   (Slovenský) Hry o Život   •   (Magyar) Az Éhezők Viadala   •   (Hrvatski) Igre Gladi   •   (български) Игрите на Глада   •   (Lietuvos) Bado Žaidynės   •   (Slovenščina) Igre Lakote   •   (Latvijas) Bada Spēles   •   (eesti) Näljamängud