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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