Dystopia with an environmental focus: World Shaker and The Lorax study (Part 1)

Art activities: word wall. Handprints : the Earth is in your hands

I made blackboards to hang at the back of the classroom for illustrated quotes and word walls. I bought exercise books for students to use as journals that were kept in the classroom.

Encourage students to scribble down their ideas, do independent research and think deeply to form their own opinions – then, develop persuasive techniques.

dystopia thumbs up.JPG

Consumption was the subject of one lesson and developed arguments for and against technology using a thumbs up/thumbs down template.

“Show me you and the universe” is an activity from a book about teaching gifted children but it proves entertaining and insightful with students generally in English or Humanities.

Students work in small groups or pairs to devise a representation of themselves and the universe. They may choose to express their idea in any form: drama, text, drawing, spoken word … it is a lovely way to connect the personal to the big picture. Explore the connections between part and the whole, microcosms and macrocosms. Often their presentations are delightful and insightful.

Resource: “World Shaker” spelling list.



Dystopia unit : Study of World Shaker (Part 2)

Week 2: lesson goals focus on assessment task, illustration introducing novel, student quote

Student quote: Even if we give our opinion, nobody listens. What good does it do?

Content previewed by link study of “The Lorax” – watched movie and read book.

Incorporating homework into the illustration: research deforestation, find three facts and write them into your journal. Copy the illustration into your journal or create your own.


Grammar worksheet: Close reading of a paragraph from “World Shaker”(PDF, 66KB).

Students’ questions.

Week 3-4: Source questions from students on post-it stickies

After explicit instruction on definitions of dystopia and utopia, the social, political and technological changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution, source essential questions from the class. Collect post-its and read them out. Class votes for Best Question prize (bookmark) and the winner picks several others for prizes to celebrate success. The questions guide inquiry for the rest of the unit.

Society has always rejected new ideas and change – exploring novel characters

Worksheet: Cloze reading of passage from “The Blessed Unrest”, by Paul Hawken. (PDF, 37KB).