Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld: Classroom Ideas

Posted September 15, 2011 by Sara | Novel Novice 0 Comments


I had a sort of fortuitous, unexpected meeting with Scott Westerfeld earlier this year at BEA in New York City. I’d missed getting a ticket to his signing for ARCs of Goliath, so I didn’t expect to see him. Later that day, I swung by the S&S booth to meet with some of their marketing people about various things related to Novel Novice and my work at Wordstock. When I walked up to my contact there, he was giving out the last of the Goliath ARCs, and offered the very last copy to me. I thought that was pretty sweet. Then he asked, “Have you met Scott?” Me: “No.” That’s when my contact mentioned that Scott was standing right next to me, and introduced us. (Scott also graciously offered to sign my ARC … so, that was cool!)

Scott and I chatted briefly, since he found out I was working for Wordstock, which he’d attended a couple years earlier (before I joined the festival staff). It was this conversation that eventually lead to Scott’s return to Wordstock this year. But he also asked me about Novel Novice, and I told him how we always like to try and feature ways to tie-in educational aspects with various new YA novels.

“Well, this series is sort of perfect for that,” he said — and I felt like slapping my forehead, because DUH! Of course the Leviathan trilogy is perfect for tying in with education: it has history, science, literature. It’s a veritable bounty of educational goodness. That’s when Scott said he’d love to do something with us on Novel Novice for Goliath, and told me to just bug him about it, because he’d inevitably forget otherwise.

And really, that conversation is the whole reason we’ve been featuring Goliath and the Leviathan trilogy all this week here at Novel Novice. So before I ramble too much further, here’s a look at some ways to incorporate the Leviathan trilogy into the classroom!

First, some resources:

Leviathan Lesson Plan
Check out the PDF on Scott’s website that was developed by a teacher in Australia

Leviathan Wiki
This site is a veritable smorgasbord of information relating to the Leviathan books. It was compiled & edited by fans, so double-check your information against the books — but overall, this is a very reliable source of information about the books, the characters, and the world in which the story takes place.

Scott Westerfeld’s Website
Aside from the typical author news, Scott often adds cool features to the news posts — such as clever fan art or links he stumbles upon. This site is worth checking for the new goodies he updates.

Classroom Ideas for the Leviathan Series:

* Study the major events of World War I. Compare this to the alternate version presented in the Leviathan series. In what ways do they overlap? In what ways do they differ?

* Look at what defines the Clankers and the Darwinists. What sets them apart? In what ways (if any) are they similar? Compare the Clankers and the Darwinists to the parties involved in the real-life version of World War I.

* Study gender roles in the early 20th century, and explore how Deryn breaks the ideologies of her time.

* Study the scientific plausibility of the Clankers and the Beasties. Which seem more likely to become a reality? Why?

* Explore the idea of Steampunk. What defines it? In what ways do the Leviathan books fit into the Steampunk genre? In what ways does it break from the traditional definition? What other examples of Steampunk can you find? Maybe even suggest students create their own Steampunk creation: a gadget, an accessory, an outfit, etc.

For the comments: Have more ideas for using the Leviathan books in the classroom? Tell us below!

Sara | Novel Novice
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