Great Gatsby Lesson Plans

Inspire and engage students while reading The Great Gatsby! The era of the 1920s is well known for prohibition, parties, bars, and people like Jay Gatsby. The story is a rich classic, and students will enjoy the bringing Gatsby, Carroway, and their friends to life with visual activities.

Student Activities for The Great Gatsby

Essential Questions For The Great Gatsby Unit

  1. Should wealth be the only factor in deciding social class?
  2. What are the repercussions of infidelity?
  3. What is the "American Dream" and is it realistic?

The Great Gatsby Summary

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald captures the ideals of a society obsessed with wealth and status. Set in the 1920s during prohibition, the story is narrated by a young man named Nick Carraway. Nick meets Gatsby, whose real name is James Gatz, at Gatsby's elaborate mansion in West Egg. The area is full of up and coming ‘new money.’ Young, handsome, and fabulously rich, Jay Gatsby appears to have it all, yet he yearns for the one thing that will always be out of his reach, the love of Daisy Buchanan. This absence renders his life of glittering parties and bright decorations empty and desolate.

Throughout the novel, Jay Gatsby attempts to get Daisy’s attention and eventually it is Nick, Daisy’s cousin, who brings them together. The two rekindle a romantic relationship from many years ago, before Daisy was married. One evening, Gatsby and Nick are invited to Daisy's house, and her husband, Tom Buchanan, notices how close the two have become. He learns of the affair, and sabotages their love by revealing how Gatsby made his money: illegal bootlegging. Despite Tom also having an affair, he convinces Daisy that her allegiance lies with him. Daisy drives home with Gatsby and hits Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, killing her. Since the two were in Gatsby’s car, he takes responsibility for the murder.

Gatsby's tragic pursuit of his dream ultimately leads to his death, when he is shot by the husband of Tom’s mistress. Nick's despair drives him to move back to the Midwest, disillusioned by the events of the novel.

Other Activity Ideas for The Great Gatsby

  • Before reading the novel, create storyboards of your own "American Dream".
  • Creative Writing: Pretend you are a private eye hired by Tom or Wilson to spy on their significant other! Create a storyboard of your investigation.
  • Create three storyboards at different points in the novel, showing major character interactions.
  • Add a presentation to any storyboard assignment! See our article about how to present a storyboard.

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Why Use Storyboard That?

Storyboard That is the perfect tool for novel lesson plans and activities because it's so easy to use and extremely versatile. With Storyboard That, you can create a wide variety of storyboards such as the story from the main character's perspective, or any other character's point of view.

You can also use Storyboard That to create a summary of the book, a movie poster, or analyze themes and events. Plus, our printable worksheets make it easy to take the fun offline.

Why is Storyboarding a Great Method of Teaching?

Storyboarding is an incredibly powerful tool for educators because it helps students process and understand the information in a deep, meaningful way. When students storyboard, they are actively engaged in the learning process and can make connections between the text and their own lives.

Storyboards also promote higher-level thinking by encouraging students to synthesize information and think critically about what they have read. Finally, storyboards are a great way to assess student understanding because they provide a visual representation of student learning.

How to Introduce Character Analysis to Students


Use Character Maps

By using character maps for each character students will be able to list down traits of each character that differentiates them. These can be physical traits such as appearance or personality traits. This will help students understand the type of role each character is playing.


Ask Students to Write a Paragraph about their Favorite Character

This will help them understand information gathering and usage of that information in the right place. By using this, teachers can also understand the thought process of students. Teachers can also ask the students to list down some reasons as to why they like or dislike a certain character.


Organize a Role-Play

Teachers can organize a role-play where students get to dress and act like their favorite characters. This will help students understand the perspectives of different characters.


Encourage Debates and Discussions

After the role play, teachers can organize a debate session where students will be able to conduct a healthy argument and speak in favor of their favorite character and justify their actions by giving valid points.


Ask Students to Reflect on the Discussions

After the debates and role-play activity teachers can ask students about what they learned from the activities and how it has changed their perceptions. Inspire students to use and apply their understanding through illustrations, writing or real life events.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Great Gatsby

What is the genre of “The Great Gatsby”?

The Great Gatsby is a fictional novel written and set in the 1920s. It includes a lot of symbolism that signifies tragedy and modernism. It can also be suggested as a work of realism as it contains many situations faced by people in real life.

Who is the main character in “The Great Gatsby”?

James Gatz more commonly known as Jay Gatsby is the main character of the story. He is young, handsome, fabulously rich and apparently has everything but he is always yearning for his one true love Daisy Buchanan who is already married.

What is the symbolism behind “the green light” in the story?

The green light represents Gatsby's aspirations and desires, especially his wish to reconcile with Daisy, and is found at the end of Daisy's dock. It stands for his efforts to live out the American Dream and his hopes for a better future.

Is the character of Jay Gatsby morally gray?

The character of Jay Gatsby can be considered as Anti-hero by some as he took some bad and unethical actions to achieve his goals. It can also be the reflection of society that made him into such a character. Most commonly his character is not portrayed as morally gray but rather as morally ambiguous as he had both good and bad sides.

Find more lesson plans and activities like these in our English Language Arts Category!
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