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Activity Overview


After reading Dante’s Inferno, with all of its gruesome imagery, many students will wonder what point Dante was trying to make. Was he trying to scare all of his readers into making sure they led Christian lives? Was he trying to attack the political opponents who exiled him in a passive-aggressive manner?

Help students focus on the universal journey Dante is trying to explain here, by pointing out that there are many times in life where we might be headed down a wrong path, and there are lessons that need to be learned in order to straighten us out. This is especially true for many teenagers, who may be faced with peer pressure and the responsibilities that come with increased freedoms.

Have students create their own personal Inferno journeys. Stress that it should not be religious, but it should reflect a real-life situation they may have faced or might face, that highlights a time where guidance might be needed to reach a better understanding. Have them choose a guide into their Inferno, and have them explain why they have chosen this guide. An 8-cell sample storyboard of this assignment can be found below.

Example Inferno Journey

Introduction


I just got my license last week. My mom allowed me to take her new Mustang out tonight, but she was hesitant. As I was driving down the stretch of open road on the east side of town, I decided to open the Mustang up and speed - I was doing 80 mph when the police officer pulled me over.

Guide


As the police officer walked up to my window and removed his hat, I realized that it was actually Abraham Lincoln! Abe told me that I had been speeding recklessly, and that I could have hurt myself or someone else badly. He warned me that being impulsive could lead to dangerous consequences. He opened my door and motioned for me to follow him. I like Abe; he’s pretty honest about everything, so I figure that he won’t hold back on whatever I need to know.

Level 1 - The Poor Parkers


Abe brought me to a parking lot, where every single car was parked so crookedly that no other cars could fit into the lot. Cars went around, endlessly looking for spots, but they couldn’t find them. These people never thought about anyone else when they parked their cars, and so they were doomed to eternally search in vain for a spot.

Level 2 - No Blinkers


Abe then brought me to the side of a highway, where several cars speeding down the lanes were suddenly cut off by others who didn’t use their signals. The results were disastrous with cars crashing all over the place. The cars would begin moving again, and they would do the same thing. Abe said that these were the people who were too impulsive or selfish to follow the law, and their actions often had consequences.

Level 3 - The Texters


Abe took me to a busy downtown street, where we observed drivers weaving and slowing down, crossing into other lanes, hitting cars, and hitting pedestrians trying to cross the road because they were too busy texting. The drivers in these cars were forced to endure the accidents over and over again as punishment for their selfish behavior.

Level 4 - The Speeders


Abe took me to an abandoned stretch of road, and we watched a driver in a sports car rev his engine before taking off down the road. He got his car up to 100 mph, when all of a sudden he swerved out of control and hit a rock, his car destroyed and burst into flames. We watched him repeat it again. Abe says that this is the least of the potential consequences from speeding. He could also kill someone else, and indeed, there are souls doomed to repeat that mistake instead for eternity.

Level 5 - The DUIs


This was the worst level of driving offenses. We saw people getting behind the wheel who were clearly intoxicated, and hitting innocent pedestrians and other cars over and over again. The driver would sober up and collapse in remorse, but then he or she would have to do it all over again. Abe explains that these people made a conscious choice to risk other people’s lives, and so they have to relive the consequences over and over again.

The End


Suddenly, I found myself in my car again, on that long stretch of road on the east side of town. I looked down at the speedometer and slowed down, just in time to see a deer cross the road in front of me. I stopped the car, took a breath, and turned back for home. I could have made a seriously bad decision by speeding, but guided by my own Honest Conscience, I’m glad I chose another path instead.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-12

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Modern Day Adaptations: Parody and Satire

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/2] Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/4] Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/6] Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)





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