The Hunger Games – Utopian / Dystopian

One of the most compelling elements of The Hunger Games is the intricate and detailed world building that Collins meticulously undertook in the construction of her novel. The Hunger Games is conducive to starting great conversations in the classroom concerning rights and the role of government.

Before starting the novel, I had my students watch a BrainPOP video on our Bill of Rights. BrainPOP is an education-based website where students can watch short educational cartoons on everything from Geometry to Capitalization. At the end of the videos, there are interactive quizzes and lesson plan ideas. My school pays for a yearly subscription to the website. I can’t tell you how helpful it has been. If you are a teacher you can sign up for a free trial at the website.

After watching the video and taking the quiz on the Bill of Rights, I had my students debate within their groups which right they felt was the most important and why. As we read the first three chapters of The Hunger Games, the students were asked to note any rules that are discussed in the novel’s exposition. As they did this, children would begin to make the connection between the rules of Panem and the United States (ex: In Panem they don’t have to follow the 1st or 2nd amendment).

To continue our discussion we used the Frayer Model. The Frayer Model is an excellent graphic organizer that can be used to define unfamiliar terms. The Frayer model breaks down a word by looking at the following: characteristics, examples, and non-examples. I have my students fill out these sections before attempting to define it. Brain research has proven that if we can understand what something is NOT, we can better define what it is.

I proceeded to split my students in government-research groups. Each group watched a brainPOP video and read a short article on one of the following governments: communism, democracy, anarchy, monarchy. After completing the organizer and sharing their findings with the class, the class worked together to define the type of government presented in the novel.

Using The Hunger Games in the classroom has not only been helpful when reaching out to reluctant readers, but has also been a great novel to use to inspire higher-level, analytic conversations about the world we live in.

3 thoughts on “The Hunger Games – Utopian / Dystopian

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  1. This is a great idea. And, it’s one that I can use as a lead up to our Research : The Rebels project that I use with this book. I also am starting to shift my students away from just thinking about Panem vs. US and am having them see this book as more of a global commentary. So, we are studying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Because Panem is just a little too much like North Korea to me. It’s a good way to talk about governments that resemble the Capitol much more than our current one does.

    Thanks for the idea.

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