Using The Mortal Instruments Series in the Classroom

Posted August 25, 2010 by Sara | Novel Novice 1 Comment


Let’s face it. You can’t get out of doing your homework. But wouldn’t do your homework be way more fun if you could focus on cool books like Clockwork Angel and The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

Lucky for you (and us), the folks at Simon & Schuster are on the same page — and have already put together some classroom guides for The Mortal Instruments! (S&S tells us that a guide for Clockwork Angel is also in the works!)

Start with some discussion questions, such as these:

· Where did Nephilim, witches and warlocks, vampires, werewolves, and faeries come from? Do their origins justify the roles they play and the rivalries between them?

· Why did Valentine rebel against the Clave in the first place? What does he hope to accomplish by stealing the Mortal Instruments and fighting the Clave now? Whose best interests does he have in mind?

· At one point, Jace says he doesn’t believe in God (City of Bones, p. 256). Do you think this is true? Can someone be a Shadowhunter and not believe in God?

· What is it about the Silent Brothers that is so disturbing to Clary and the others? Do you think the Silent Brothers play up this aura of creepiness?

· Why was Jace, who rarely felt fear, so afraid when he was imprisoned in the Silent City?

S&S also provides activity ideas for using The Mortal Instruments in the classroom:

· Write a research paper on ancient runes. When were they used? By whom? What did they look like? Are they still used today? What is their connection to modern written language?

· Clary is able to identify a problem and create a rune that will solve that problem. Choose a problem that is currently being faced by you, your school, your community, or your government and create a rune that will help. What do the different lines in the rune stand for? What will the rune do? What were you thinking when you drew it? Write a story about how the rune is used to solve the problem you chose.

· Hodge knew many tricks for healing physical ailments using herbs, plants, and other natural remedies. Compare and contrast different branches of alternative medicine—homeopathy, herbal medicine, acupuncture, etc. How do they compare to the practice of medicine as we traditionally think of it?

· There is a rich mythology surrounding angels, Nephilim, demons, vampires, and other creatures in the book. Choose one of these magical creatures and find out more about them. Find other books and movies that cover the subject, and compare the world found there to the world of The Mortal Instruments. Write a short paper about the history of the creature you’ve chosen and the different ways it has shown up in literature throughout the years.

· Shadowhunters devote their lives to making the world a safer and better place for those around them. What can you do to make the world a better place? Choose a cause you believe in and then volunteer.

· Clary is a talented artist, and often uses art to make sense of the things that are happening in her world. Express yourself through some art form—drawing, painting, sculpting, or collage—and draw someone or something from the books.

· Shadowhunters have strong ties to their ancestors. Trace the family trees of the Shadowhunters and discover their connections to one another.

See more at S&S’s TEACH website!

Sara | Novel Novice
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