Literary scavenger hunt
In this research project, students learn about literature in a new way by searching the web for information about books and authors. When they’ve completed the scavenger hunt, students publish their findings in an interactive slide show.
Students develop an interest in learning about literature.
Students develop web research skills.
Students answer questions and solve problems creatively and interactively.
Students search the web for information about literary classics.
Students create an interactive Office PowerPoint presentation to effectively communicate the results of their research.
If the phrase “classic literature” makes you think of dusty old books, think again. How about word-searchable websites? Hypertext? Electronic library? Now that classics have been brought into the digital age, they are even more accessible, and you can interact with them in new ways.
In this activity, you and one other classmate will team up in a literary scavenger hunt of English classics on the web. You’ll have just one hour to do your research, using the list of questions I will give you and your teammate. You will have just one more hour to create an interactive slide show in Office PowerPoint based on your research. Then you’ll present it to the class. Once we’ve seen all of the presentations, we’ll vote for the best presentations in terms of content, design, and overall quality.
Follow the steps below to guide your students through this lesson plan. See student handout links at right.
Step 1: “Track down the answers to your scavenger hunt questions”
Step 2: “Convert your questions and answers into an Office PowerPoint presentation”
Step 3: “Format, design, and animate your slides”
Step 4: “Create an interactive slide show to present your findings to the class”
Scavenger hunt list. Before this lesson, develop a list of questions for the scavenger hunt. Sample questions are provided below. You can modify this list to reflect your particular curriculum. If you do so, here are a few guidelines for writing the questions.
Clear, concise questions with brief answers are best for this activity.
Questions can pertain to literature that the students have already encountered in the classroom but should also introduce new material.
Make sure that the answers can be found in the available sources.
Here are some sample questions for the hunt.
Name two novels by Ernest Hemingway. When were they were published?
Who wrote Travels with Charlie? Describe Charlie.
Define the “American dream” and give an example from a novel you’ve read.
Who wrote Lord of the Flies? Briefly describe the setting and theme.
What do the protagonists in The Scarlet Letter and Fahrenheit 451 have in common?
What is the nature of the conflict in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Who wrote 1984? What is the protagonist’s greatest fear?
Name two plays by Arthur Miller. Give a one-sentence description of each.
Where does a symbol of God appear in The Great Gatsby?
Who is the narrator of Mary Shelley’s epistolary novel Frankenstein? What is the basic conflict in this story?
Name a nature writer from the school of American Romanticism.
What new kind of story is Jo trying to write to win a contest in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and what kind of story had she been writing before?
Who wrote the novel Jane Eyre? The novel uses the motifs of an old manor, a Byronic hero, the madwoman in the attic, and “the vampire.” What is the name for these kinds of motifs?
What was the name of the periodical that Charles Dickens published Great Expectations in from 1860 to 1861 in serial form?
In which chapters do you find the two famous death scenes in Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Who dies in each scene?
In his memoir Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass identifies what enabled him to free himself and work to free other slaves. What is it?
What year was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice first published? What year was it first published under her name instead of “Anonymous”?
What is the devastating natural disaster in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God?
Who is the one man Buck will not steal from in Jack London’s Call of the Wild? Why won’t he steal from him?
How many chairs did Henry David Thoreau have in his house on Walden Pond and what was each one for?
Name three classic American novels that were banned and the date they were first banned.
Preview the following websites and add any that you think might help your students locate information quickly:
University of Delaware Library Guide to English and American Literature: You can find more great links here.
Library of Congress: Search the stacks by subject, title, or author.
Bibliomania: Search 2,000 full classic texts by author or title. The site’s author pages contain recommended links to more literary classics.
Classics at the Online Literature Library: Read the full text of many classics.
American Literary Classics: Check for the full text of additional classics.
Have students show their presentations to the class and take a vote on the winning teams in the following categories: Best Overall, Most Informative, and Best Design.
Assess the students on the following:
The thoroughness and accuracy of their information.
The design of their presentation.
Their actual presentation to the class.