Take High School Literature to the Next Level With These Discussion and Writing Activities

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Whether you’ve been teaching the same novel for years or are adding a brand-new one to your syllabus, sometimes it can be tough to think of engaging discussion questions, writing prompts, and activities. That’s why we love the 100+ free teaching guides available from HarperCollins (for almost any novel you can think of!). Thorough and well written, they often provide just the dose of inspiration that we need.

Below, we share excerpts from eight of our favorite discussion guides so you can get a sneak peek—but definitely check out the full list, too.

Brave New World

Book Cover: Brave New World - High School Literature 

Activity: Pull Discussion Questions out of a Hat

Write your favorite questions from the Brave New World teaching guide on slips of paper and have students pull them out of a hat. Throughout the discussion, each student has the responsibility of asking their question. 

Sample Discussion Questions:

  • The World State’s motto suggests that community, identity, and stability are the most important qualities in their society. What do you believe are the three most important values for a society? Explain your answer.
  • Explain the “conscription of consumption” (p. 49). How are citizens conditioned to become consumers? Why would appreciating culture or nature be at odds with consumption?
  • According to Mond, what is dangerous about science? What limits are imposed on scientific inquiry?

Activity: Free-write With a Partner

Let students free-write about one of the following topics from the Brave New World teaching guide. Then have them find a partner and present their opinions to each other for one minute. After one minute, have them rotate to a new partner. Continue to share, discuss, and debate for ten minutes.

Sample Writing Prompts:

  • Does Brave New World offer a believable and/or realistic view of the future? Why or why not?
  • In the World State, the needs of the community are valued over the needs of the individual. What do you believe is more important, the good of the individual or the good of the community? Apply this question to a current political debate, such as the question of NSA surveillance.
  • Why do you think dystopian fiction is appealing as genre?

Get the Free Teaching Guide for More Discussion Questions & Writing Prompts

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