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Activity Overview


Utopian and 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 centered around oppression and restrictions on freedom by central authorities.


Jonas’ Community

Have your students create storyboards where they choose a stance on the community. Is it dystopian or utopian? In the storyboard, the student can depict the elements of a utopia or dystopia, and explain their reasoning.

This storyboard uses examples from the article "Teaching Dystopia".

Examples of Dystopia in The Giver

ELEMENT EXAMPLE
No Independent Thought Dreams are suppressed through medication.
Oppressive Government Elders are revered and chosen to make decisions that are best for the community.
Lack of Free Will Choices are taken away from the people for fear that they cannot handle the consequences.
"Sameness/Uniformity" All houses are the same, inside and out!
Perfect Society Although everyone is happy, Jonas stresses that because they live in ignorance, their society is far from perfect.
Citizens are Under Surveillance The Elders can listen and speak everywhere.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 4 (Difficult / Complex)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Type of Activity: Elements of Dystopia

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/1] Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/5] Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style


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.)



Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows the six elements of a dystopia in The Giver.


  1. Click "Start 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 The Giver as a dystopia.




Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



Dystopian Elements
As we read and discuss, identify and track the six common dystopian elements that appear throughout the story. Create a scene for each element that highlights how it is utilized throughout the work. Add a brief quote or description under each scene that highlights an important piece of the element being depicted. Make sure the art in your scenes is historically and factually accurate to the story. Your scenes need to be neat, eye-catching, and reflect creativity and care. Please proofread your writing and organize your ideas thoughtfully.
Proficient
33 Points
Emerging
25 Points
Beginning
17 Points
Dystopian Elements
The six common dystopian literature elements are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, and are accurate and appropriate to the element being depicted.
4-5 dystopian literature elements are correctly identified and portrayed from the story, or some of the elements may not be identified correctly. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, but may be minimal, and are mostly accurate for the element being depicted.
1-3 dystopian literature elements are correctly identified and portrayed from the story, or most of the elements are inaccurately depicted. The quotes and/or explanations are too minimal, or missing altogether.
Artistic Depictions
The art chosen to depict the scenes are accurate to the work of literature. Time and care is taken to ensure that the scenes are neat, eye-catching, and creative.
The art chosen to depict the scenes should be accurate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. Scene constructions are neat, and meet basic expectations.
The art chosen to depict the scenes is inappropriate. Scene constructions are messy and may create some confusion, or may be too limited.
English Conventions
Ideas are organized. There are few or no grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas are mostly organized. There are some grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors.
Ideas may be disorganized or misplaced. Lack of control over grammar, mechanics, and spelling reflect a lack of proofreading.




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