Hungry for Knowledge: Using The Hunger Games to teach American Principles of Citizenship

byChantea R. Wright
  • "Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!"
  • -Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games


Everyone has a story. Some stories express strength and courage while others focus on death and defeat. Regardless of the direction, everyone still has a tale to tell. Stories allow people to communicate feelings, express expected behaviors, share memories, or provide a source of entertainment. This broad application of storytelling is what drew me to the seminar, "Storytelling: Fictional Narratives, Imaginary People, and the Reader's Real Life." Today, stories provide a form of amusement using fictional wizard worlds, friendly vampires, and outer space adventures to captivate people. However, that does not prevent authors from communicating spiritual, political, or inspirational ideology through their stories. Due to this, authors allow the readers to take leisurely reading to another level. This seminar takes pleasure reading to an academic level. This unit should fuel or ignite a desire for reading that is not purely for entertainment. Through the use of this unit students will be provided with an opportunity to analyze fundamental civic and economic concepts through the use of contemporary fictional work.

Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games takes place in a society plagued with varying forms of dystopia where the government is the Alpha and the Omega. Thus, the question that may be forming, "Why select The Hunger Games, an odd choice, to teach and explore American democratic principles?" This "dystopian story," 1 as Collins refers to it, captivates readers and presses upon them to reflect on their own moral values and role in society through history, political science, and sociological exploration, to confront the uncertainty of their own democratic future. 2 Collins is able to connect the reader to core civic and economic concepts by exposing the vulnerability of democratic values through themes of power, citizenship, media influence, and politics.

Works of fiction such as The Hunger Games should not be overlooked for academic use due to their science fiction content or mainstream popularity. These magical stories are applicable to contemporary dystopian situations and provide opportunities to discover solutions. 3 Adolescents and young adults across the globe have stood in the gap to rebel against tyranny. In the United States, citizens staged lunch counter sit-ins to gain racial equality. In the Middle East, individuals participated in protests to gain democratic rights. In Egypt, young adults used social media to demand political freedom. It is the duty of an educator to think outside the box to reach students where they are and raise them to a higher level of thinking. This interdisciplinary alliance shapes a society of individuals that value their contribution to the common good. For this purpose I have chosen to reach beyond the confines of the social studies genre, to be a better educator and provide my students with a memorable and effective learning experience.


Abraham Lincoln made this statement: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." During his time—Civil War—the United States could not have been more divided. Although the framers of the United States Constitution established a government system rooted in democratic principles, throughout history there have been challenges that have shaken those ideals. Would historians refer to the American Revolution, the Civil War, the World Wars, the aftermath of September 11, 2001, or the current economic crisis as situations of dystopia that have threatened the validity of our democratic foundations? I would say to some level, yes. Samantha Moya defines dystopia as "dominated by bleakness and roboticism, a totalitarian government enforcing upon the people a lifestyle that lulls them into a state of obedience." 4 Elements of this definition can be seen during each period of American adversity mentioned above. Each one of these historical events through government control either casted a negative shadow on the nation or manipulated citizens into submission. For example, the American Revolution and the Civil War were wars of internal or domestic disobedience, only called into called into government control through force. For this reason, using the text The Hunger Games to teach principles of civic responsibility and governmental principles provides students with an opportunity to reflect and analyze America's government system and provide feedback for improvement.

The United States is not the only country that has experienced times of human misery. During the Holocaust, Nazis executed millions, either because they were deemed defective or hazardous, similar to the behavior of early Americans' treatment towards African Americans. These times of difficulty and complexity have offered opportunities for citizens to overcome trials and tribulations, redefine civic responsibilities, hold the nation accountable, and rejuvenate the spirit of democracy. 5 For these reasons, The Hunger Games is an appropriate tool for teaching about the role American citizens' play in society and in the political arena, and for establishing the components of a well-defined citizen.

Through experience, I know that many students within urban education systems struggle with comprehending civic and economic content and applying that knowledge. Many spend little to no time reading outside of the classroom for either content growth or leisure. As a history/political science major for my undergraduate studies, I am given pause when my students express no need for civics, economics, or reading. Margit McGuire states it best: "The long-term goal of socials studies education is to produce young people to become citizens in a democratic society." 6 Specifically, it is my intent to use The Hunger Games, a contemporary work of literature, to grab students' interest while they learn applicable civics and economics skills and content knowledge. Collins does a commendable job of exposing the reader to the vulnerability of democratic values through themes of power, citizenship, media influence, and politics. The use of civic and political storytelling to illustrate these significant American concepts and social norms prevents the knowledge gained from becoming stagnant. Students are then able to take the knowledge gained and pass it from generation to generation. 7 Considering the political implications of this novel, it is a fitting selection for students to examine the different dynamics and tiers to American constitutional government.


I am an eighth-grade civics and economics teacher. Currently, teaching inner city youth within Richmond Public Schools. I am contracted to teach at Franklin Military Leadership Academy/ Franklin Military Academy (FMLA), the first secondary public military school in the nation, founded in 1980. The military mindset pervades the classroom: if students are late for class it is not uncommon for their teacher to have them do pushups or physical training exercises to emphasize the importance of being on time. The school is separated into a middle school, grades sixth through eighth, and high school, grades ninth through twelfth.

FMLA is a selective school program; students have to apply and be accepted in order to attend. This being said, my students come from all across the city of Richmond, with varying socioeconomic backgrounds and family dynamics. With a high percentage of the student population categorized as economically disadvantaged, many of the students share the burden of financial strife. For the upcoming 2012-2013 school year FMLA will have 196 high school students, and 187 middle school students, with 57 of them as eight graders. Significant percentages of students are characterized as exceptional education and receive services based on their Individualized Education Plans (IEP).

FMLA is going into its second year of School Improvement increased state mandated supervision, due to low standardized test scores. This is mandatory by the Department of Education for low performing schools or schools that are not displaying growth on standardized tests. To counteract this suspended growth, increased opportunities for professional development, interdisciplinary teaching strategies, and tutors in high needs areas have been implemented.

Background: Connecting The Hunger Games to the content

The act of storytelling has served as a means of communicating family history, providing entertainment, and educating future generations for centuries. This thread, connecting the past to the present and the future of human life, allows the narrator to take the simple act of storytelling and transform it into a powerful tool used to provide a clear interpretation of complex issues. Dianne Swenson Koehnecke states it best: storytelling is "heart to art," simply put. 8 Personal events come to life through oral, written, or other means of storytelling. Stories can take place anywhere; however, within the confines of the social studies classroom stories allow the teacher to provide students with a familiar context to engage in critical discussions about social issues, particularly those that shape American citizenship. 9 Renard B. Harris emphasizes that blending personal narratives with specific social studies content to tell stories within the social studies classroom helps validate students' civic identity as adults and can make the biggest difference in their lives. 10 Although storytelling is an age-old practice, it can be used to engage students using 21 st century techniques to place significance on their narratives and connection to civic education. 11

"Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country." 12 When John F. Kennedy made this statement at his 1961 inaugural address, it can be imagined that he did not envision adolescents fighting to the death at the behest of the federal government. Nonetheless, that is exactly what occurs in Collins' The Hunger Games. Collins uses the dysfunctional society of Panem, the country in The Hunger Games, to convey the challenges of democratic issues of power, citizenship, media influence, and politics. In order to teach this unit with the goal of crafting the ideal citizen, the educator must be knowledgeable about how these themes seamlessly connect. This section provides a transparent connection between the society of Panem and that of the United States, making it applicable to English and humanities courses.

Democratic Foundations

Although many of the events are extreme in regard to current American political practices, several components of The Hunger Games correlate with the concepts that are taught in Virginia 8 th grade civics and economics courses. This piece of literature connects to fundamental principles of limited government, rule of law, and representative government. These principles are at the core of American constitutional government and are applied to every American citizen. Regardless of a person's economic, political, or social standing, all citizens are held to the same standards of law and bestowed equal rights and liberties. The government may not enforce a national religion, have selective law enforcement practices, or take away an individual's right to participate in the political process. However, America is not perfect; the authority of these principles has been tested throughout its history: For instance, Jim Crow segregation, bank bail-outs, and most recently the Trayvon Martin case. For example, although America has laws and policies in place to protect its citizens the application of these laws changes as society and government changes. These lowly times have made America aware of weaknesses and areas of growth to expand its democratic beliefs.

However, in the society of Panem the enforcement of such principles varies from district to district and among social classes. Those that are in positions of power or wealth share forms of representative government. Given this, ideas of limited government and rule of law are restricted. In Panem political leaders or the economic elite are superior to those who are less fortunate. The Capitol enforces unlimited authority over the districts' participation and selection method of the games. The Capitol uses games as a reminder and form of punishment for the Dark Days, or uprisings, of the district many years ago. Districts have no say on any element of the game, other than to sacrifice themselves for someone else as Tribute, or a replacement contestant. 13 All children between the ages twelve and eighteen must participate in the Reaping. This is the Tribute selection event, and all children of eligible age must have their names entered once for each year they are eligible. However, those in financial need may enter their names multiple times to increase their food supply. This places destitute citizens at a greater risk to be forced into a violent battle to the death.

The Ideal Citizen

In addition, Collins incorporates how the community views influences how civic and social duties address community needs and character traits that facilitate effective citizenship. As United States citizens, individuals are bestowed certain social and civic duties that aid in maintaining civility. Serving in the armed forces, obeying laws, or appearing in court are some examples of how American citizens contribute to the common good. The office of the President can be viewed as the position of top citizen. This individual conducts him- or herself in a manner that is viewed to be honorable and establishes a blueprint to follow and look up to as an outline of being a good citizen. The backgrounds and character traits of these individuals have varied, meaning that the definition of a good citizen has also changed over time.

In Panem citizens are required to pay a much higher cost for citizenship. Each one of the twelve districts must offer one male and one female youth to fight for their lives in games. 14 This civic duty is not taken lightly or desirably. The end result is tragic for the majority of the Tributes. The sole survivor not only receives praise and bounty for him/her and family but also extra food rations, or tesseras, for his/her district. 15

Katniss Everdeen is the major character in The Hunger Games. Immediately, the reader is made aware of her heavy responsibilities: responsibilities as the financial bread winner and maternal matriarch of her family. These roles and responsibilities within her household shape her identity as a citizen. Katniss' hunting and gathering skills which provide for her family, the ceremonial respect she bestows to Rue after she is killed, her selfless act of taking the place of her sister, Primrose, as Tribute, all illustrate her honorable civic traits, her allegiance to uphold social and civic duties, and her contribution to the common good.

The Role of the Media

The media plays an essential role in the American political system as it does in The Hunger Games. In the American political system the media is used to draw attention to targeted issues, spread propaganda, hold elected officials accountable, and broadcast different point of views. Within the environment of Panem the media is vital in communicating the Capitol's power and control over the twelve districts. The Capitol broadcast interviews in which the Tributes are dressed in glamorous apparel to give an acceptable view of the games. They also broadcast edited streaming of the games and replay commercials of the key game moments. This media intoxication serves as a means to acquire financial sponsors for the Tributes and spread propaganda that the games are fun and entertaining, when in reality they are barbaric and gruesome.

As taboo as this may seem, the United States is guilty of similar behavior. Candidates dress in charming attire, conduct interviews, and broadcast bias commercials to gain votes and financial support, which places them in a better position to win the office for which they are running for. Similar to the Capitol and media in Panem, the United States government and the media are often intermingled, working together to communicate strategic messages.

Role of the Government and Economic Concepts

In Panem the Capitol controls who has and who has not. This form of control and power through the management of wealth establishes a clear view of the type of government and economic system that is in place in Panem. Due to this level of government control, Panem can be viewed as a command economy where goods and wealth are managed by the central government. The character Rue was from District 11, the agricultural district. District 11's specialty was producing crops and livestock. Given that natural food resources were her district's specialty, it would be assumed that Rue would have plentiful access to fruits, vegetables, and meats. However, that was not so. Rue explained that anyone found taking food would be harshly punished. 16

In America's economic system the people have sovereign authority over their economic means and resources. In the United States citizens have "certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," meaning that individuals have the authority to choose their career path, where they wish to live, and when, where, and what they want to eat. With strong elements of a free market economy overlaid with mixed economy components, the United States, unlike the Capitol, derives its power from the people. Both of these societies experience forms of scarcity, supply and demand, and varying forms of resources.


The Virginia Department of Education set guidelines known as the Virginia Standards of Learning, which are implemented as common objectives for learning across the state of Virginia. The social studies curriculum is a blueprint used to assemble virtuous citizenry, a quality of citizenship that models a decorum that encourages mindful and productive engagement in the democratic process. Students will demonstrate knowledge of American Constitutional government, citizenship, rights, duties, and responsibilities; character traits that facilitate deliberate civic participation. Students will analyze the role of the media. Lastly, students will examine the role, structure, and operation of the United States economy. These objectives will be met by using The Hunger Games as a central text to reflect and answer essential content questions.

Essential Questions

  • How do fundamental principles define and shape American constitutional government?
  • What are the ways individuals demonstrate responsible citizenship?
  • In what ways do citizens participate in active citizenship?
  • How do individuals demonstrate thoughtful and effective participation in civic life?
  • How do citizens make informed choices?
  • How do the media play a role in the political process?
  • How do citizens deal with economic decisions that are made in the marketplace?
  • What are the basic economic questions all societies must answer?
  • What are the basic characteristics of economic systems?
  • How does the government influence economic activity? 17


As a civics and economics teacher, I often find it difficult to locate fictional texts that exemplify civic participation in American democracy. Key themes of power, citizenship, media influence, and politics are present in The Hunger Games and are perfectly suited to teach civics and economics. I will use a variety of strategies to analyze these themes present in The Hunger Games. Possible challenges that may arise include limited reading fluency and vocabulary and difficulties connecting the story to real lives. The methods discussed in this section will connect the narrative to the readers' real lives. In anticipation of a limited number of students not having the literacy skills to complete the readings, peers who are fluent readers and I will read aloud, and digital and audio copies of the text will be available for students who demonstrate academic need. When these objectives are met students will have new perspectives on the impact of fictional stories and will be able to adapt and create stories to communicate a belief or concept.

Graphic Organizers

Organization is a challenge for many middle school students. Keeping track of notes, textbooks, agendas, etc. for multiple classes becomes a heavier responsibility in middle school. A lack of essential organization strategies can lead a students down a path of under achievement. Graphic organizers are visual displays of information that require little untangling by the learner to uncover new connections. 18 These visual forms of knowledge consumption help students associate new information with previously learned information. 19 Today graphic organizers are the most common way to assist students in creating nonlinguistic representations. 20 Researchers Daniel H. Robinson and Kenneth A. Kiewra concluded in their study that when teaching concepts or text structure students performed better on assessments after using graphic organizers versus reading the text only or creating an outline of the text. 21 In Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement the researchers conducted a meta-analysis study on nonlinguestic representation, concluding that on average studies showed a twenty seven percentile gain amongst students. 22

Through the use of graphic organizers students will develop a process cause and effect organizer to illustrate Panem's centralized government system and America's democractic system of government. Reference Appendix 1 as an example. Students will also create a principle pattern organizer on a character from The Hunger Games and and a comtemporary political leader to analyze the character traits that make them a good leader and citizen. See Appendix 2 as an example. To examine the different economic systems students will complete a comparision and contrast chart examining the economic system in place in The Hungr Games and the United States. As a way to pull all the concepts together at the end of the unit students will create a cluster diagram connecting how constitutional government, media infleunce, character traits, role of the economy, and duties and responsibilties relate to the ideal citizen. Please refer to Appendix 3 as a reference. Using graphic organizers as an instructional tool will increase knowledge retention and content interest.

The Great Debate

"It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it," declared the French moralist and writer, Joseph Joubert. I believe Joubert is communicating the significance of taking a stand on an issue and defending it. Civics and economics open a window to social, political, and personal differences in the classroom. Debating these contemporary issues allows students to realize the importance of how current issues affect their lives, how these issues will impact their vote, and how their government operates. When debates consist of convincing arguments for or against a proposition, it transitions into a form of decision making and enables students to make communal choices. 23 Debating allows for issues to come alive for students and opens them up to a new way of thinking. Charles Green III and Hadley G. Klug conducted research that demonstrated increased multiple-choice assessment scores after debates were introduced into instruction. Additionally, on student surveys 50% of students gave favorable reviews to classroom debates, while 11% gave unfavorable reviews. However, no other instructional component was mentioned as favorable or unfavorable, indicating debates made a lasting impact on their students. 24

Academic debates not only increase assessment scores, but debates also prepare students for effective participation in a democratic society. 25 Freedom of speech is outlined as a basic right in The United States Constitution's Bill of Rights. The ability to express oneself freely without suppression has authority. However, freedom to speak supported with knowledge, diction, confidence, and persuasion can start a movement. When Abraham Lincoln said "all men are created equal", and when Martin Luther King Jr. said "I have a dream", and when President Barack Obama said "Yes we can" , they were using their voices to take a stand against the views of some in order to change the nation for the majority.

I intend on having students use their background knowledge, knowledge gained from reading The Hunger Games, research, and classroom discussions to engage in critical debates that analyze the effectiveness of American government, positive character traits, and the American economic system. I will be using the debate method outlined in the Middle School Debater and the Teachers' Guide to the Middle School Public Debate Program. Students will be given a proposition regarding a contemporary civic or economic issue, work within their teams to define key nouns of the proposition, clearly define the issues, compose their argument, identify supporting evidence, and plan to change or reason to maintain. The ARE model will be used for students to organize their issues. ARE stands for: Assertion or statement of opinion; Reasoning, or formed conclusions; Evidence, or proof. Each team will be comprised of six students, three affirmative and three negative sub team members.

Digital Storytelling

Bernard R. Robin is effective at linking traditional storytelling to 21 st century skills, with digital storytelling. Digital storytelling combines the art of oral narration with a variety of digital multimedia, such as images, audio, and video. These digital stories maintain a specific theme or viewpoint. Robins emphasizes that digital stories allow computer natives to become creative storytellers through the continued use of traditional means of selecting a topic, conducting research, writing a narration, and developing an interesting story. An old process becomes fresh to new generations with new techniques. All digital stories will fit into three categories, stories that inform or instruct, stories that examine historical events, or personal narratives. It is my intention to combine the three types of storytelling in order to have students create a digital story that focuses on principles of American democracy and historical events, with layers of personal narratives to illustrate active citizenship. 26 Combs and Beach summarizes it best:

The power of a story is all around us and is essential in helping us shape our view of reality. As we work with children who are faced with trying to find some understanding in the rapidly changing world, we need the familiar to capture their attention and help them feel comfortable enough to risk getting involved. 27

Through the use of images, music, and oral narration, students will create a digital story that conceptualizes the role citizens play in American democracy and the connection to good citizenship. Refer to Appendix 4 to see Joe Lambert's outline, the seven steps in creating a digital story that students will follow as a map for creating their digital story. 28 There are a variety of software programs available to create digital stories. I have found that Microsoft Photo Story 3 is the most effective for classroom use. Photo Story 3 is a free software program that provides on-screen step-by-step guidance which reduces the need for overwhelming adult support and allows the students to be the true digital story creators.

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1: Organizing Key Concepts


Three 90 minute class periods


(a) Students will demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of American constitutional government, (b) develop an understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship, (c) demonstrate knowledge of personal character traits that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in civic life, (d) analyze the role of the media, (e) compare the differences among economic systems.


Paper, writing utensil, compare and contrast graphic organizer, class set of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, and 1-2-3-Countdown activity.

Instructional Focus

This lesson will focus on expanding students' knowledge of civics and economics through the use of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and the use of graphic organizers.

Guided Practice

During and after reading Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games students and the teacher will identify and discuss the major themes of the story that connect to American Constitutional government.


The teacher will model how to use each graphic organizer prior to assigning them to the students. Each activity is meant to draw connections from the story to the readers' real life.

Activity 1: Using the model for the compare and contrast graphic organizer in Figure 3, students will reflect on the type of economy of The Hunger Games' Panem and their knowledge of the United States economy to compare and contrast the two forms of economic systems. This activity should be complete after students have read and discussed chapter 15.

Activity 2: Using the model for the principle pattern organizer in Figure 2, students will work independently to analyze the character traits of one character from the novel and a contemporary political leader. This activity should be complete after students have read and discussed chapter 18.

Activity 3: Using the model for the process cause and effect organizer in Figure 1, students will work with a self-selected partner to formulate the path and connections Panem and the United States have undergone to shape their government systems. This activity should be complete after students have read and discussed at the end of the novel.

Class Review

Students will share their graphic organizers with the class. Students will be encouraged to ask questions of one another for clarity as needed. The essential questions will be infused into the class discussion as a form of formative assessment.

Exit Ticket: Students will complete a 1-2-3 Countdown activity to summarize their learning. Please see Appendix 5 for activity.

Lesson 2: The Great Debate


Two 90 minute class periods


(a) Students will demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of American constitutional government, (b) develop an understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship, (c) demonstrate knowledge of personal character traits that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in civic life, (d) analyze the role of the media, (e) compare the differences among economic systems.


Paper, writing utensil, Debate guidelines sheet, class set of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, computers with internet access, Shape Up review activity, and Debate rubric.

Instructional Focus

This lesson will focus on motivating students to think critically about contemporary civics and economics issues through debates and the use of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and civics and economics knowledge.

Guided Practice

After reading Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and learning about key civic and economic concepts the teacher will conduct a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of living in The Hunger Games' Panem. As students give their responses the teacher will prompt students to make connections to the United States. This dialogue will be the opener for this lesson.


Students will be clustered in groups of six students, three affirmative and three negative sub team members. The teacher will explain the role of each team member. Each team will complete an issue analysis form to give them a starting point for their topic. Please refer to the Teacher's Guide to the Middle School Public Debate Program page 50 for the issue analysis form. The team will then identify the issues that they wish to discuss during the debate. Using the ARE method students will use index cards to create an ARE for each issue they will present during the debate.

Debate topic1: Effectiveness of American government

Debate topic 2: Positive character traits

Debate topic 3: American economic system

Debate format

First affirmative constructive – 5 minutes

This student makes a case for the action for debate, giving proof of the topic with three or four major points.

First negative constructive – 5 minutes

This student makes several arguments against the affirmative team's case and discredits the affirmative's major points.

Second affirmative constructive – 5 minutes

This student should repair and develop upon the affirmative's case. This student must expand the original affirmative points and disprove the negative's major arguments against the case.

Second negative constructive – 5 minutes

This student expands the negative arguments against the case, providing new information about why the negative team should win the debate. This student should answer the affirmative's answers to the negative team's original arguments.

Negative rebuttal – 3 minutes

This student must assemble the debate and explain why, given all of the arguments in the debate, the negative team should still win the debate.

Affirmative rebuttal – 3 minutes

This student should summarize the issues in the debate and explain why, even with the negative's arguments, the affirmative team should win the debate. 29

Class Review

Students will continue in post-debate discussions. Spectating peers will be able to ask the debaters questions. Students will be assessed through the use of a rubric. Please refer to Appendix 7. The essential questions will be infused into the class discussion as a form of formative assessment.

Exit Ticket: Students will complete a Shape Up Review activity to summarize their learning and give feedback on the lesson. Please see Appendix 6 for activity.

Lesson 3: Creating a Digital Story


Three 90 minute class periods


(a) Students will demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of American constitutional government, (b) develop an understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship, (c) demonstrate knowledge of personal character traits that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in civic life, (d) analyze the role of the media, (e) compare the differences among economic systems.


Paper, writing utensil, class set of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, Story board, Computers with internet access, Microsoft Photostory, Microphones, and headphones.

Instructional Focus

This lesson will focus on connecting students' knowledge of civics and economics through the use of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, graphic organizes, and debates to create their own story of American citizenship.

Guided Practice

After reading Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games the teacher will lead students in creating a cluster diagram connecting all the key civic and economic principles. Please refer to Appendix 3 for an example.


The teacher will model how to use each graphic organizer prior to assigning them to the students. Each activity is meant to draw connections from the story to the readers' real life.

Task 1: Using their cluster diagram students will create a storyboard, outlining their digital story. Students may need to use the internet or other classroom resources to deepen their research. Please refer to Appendix 8 for sample storyboard template.

Task 2: Students will use the internet to gather images, personal photographs, or graphs and charts that relate to the content in their story board.

Task 3: Using Microsoft Photostory software students will use their storyboards, gathered images, microphone, and background music ( ) to create their digital story.

Class Review

Students will share their digital stories with the class. Students will be assessed through the use of a rubric. Please see Appendix 9. The essential questions will be infused into the class discussion as a form of formative assessment.

Exit Ticket: Students will write a letter to the teacher, no longer than a paragraph, detailing what they liked best about the unit, what they would like to change, and summarizing the most important thing they learned.


Appendix 1


Appendix 2


Appendix 3


Appendix 4


Appendix 5


Appendix 6


Appendix 7


Appendix 8


Appendix 9 30


Virginia Standards of Learning

CE.1The student will develop the social studies skills responsible citizenship requires, including the ability to

b)create and explain maps, diagrams, tables, charts, graphs, and spreadsheets;

d)distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information;

e)review information for accuracy, separating fact from opinion;

f)identify a problem, weigh the expected costs and benefits and possible consequences of proposed solutions, and recommend solutions, using a decision-making model;

g)formulate an informed, carefully reasoned position on a community issue;

h)select and defend positions in writing, discussion, and debate.

CE.2The student will demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of American constitutional government by

a)explaining the fundamental principles of consent of the governed, limited government, rule of law, democracy, and representative government;

CE.3The student will demonstrate knowledge of citizenship and the rights, duties, and responsibilities of citizens by

c)describing the duties of citizenship;

d)examining the responsibilities of citizenship;

e)evaluating how civic and social duties address community needs and serve the public good.

CE.4The student will demonstrate knowledge of personal character traits that facilitate thoughtful and effective participation in civic life by

a)practicing trustworthiness and honesty;

b)practicing courtesy and respect for the rights of others;

c)practicing responsibility, accountability, and self-reliance;

d)practicing respect for the law;

e)practicing patriotism;

f)practicing decision making;

g)practicing service to the school and/or local community.

CE.5The student will demonstrate knowledge of the political process at the local, state, and national levels of government by

c)analyzing the role of the media;

CE.11The student will demonstrate knowledge of how economic decisions are made in the marketplace by

b)comparing the differences among economies;

c)describing the characteristics of the United States economy.

CE.12The student will demonstrate knowledge of the structure and operation of the United States economy.

CE.13The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of government in the United States economy.

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