Each time I teach a novel, I try something different. I love teaching Lord of the Flies, and this past year I decided to give island challenges a try. Let me tell you… best decision I made for teaching this novel! I taught the novel out of class and hosted book clubs each Friday. (See more about my book clubs here.) Fridays, then, were when we did our challenges, discussions, and quizzes. I’m so excited to be sharing these Lord of the Flies island challenges for each chapter with you. I worked really hard to select and design challenges that would connect either with the theme or conflict of the chapters, so they wouldn’t just be “random” fun things to do. I really wanted the Lord of the Flies island challenges to be both meaningful and fun. They are also a blend of mental and physical challenges, which we found to be perfect for a mixture of winners due to so many different abilities in the class. Because there are 12 chapters in Lord of the Flies, I’ll be breaking my traditional “Fast Five” format to share them all with you. Excited yet? Ready to get lost on an island adventure? Come and get your feet wet and your toes in the sand!
Pre-Challenge: Have your students get in groups. These will be their island factions for the rest of the reading. I let them pick, but I was teaching this novel to older students with specific friends groups, and I liked letting them work with people with whom they felt comfortable. Plus, it added to the tension in competitions among groups. No group was more than 4 students. Then, they picked a name for their group, a symbol, and a motto. On the first day of the unit before I even handed out books, we did this and they made their group “flags” or posters. I hung these “flags” on the board, and this is where I would put their stars when they won challenges. I usually had a first and second place, but everyone always had to finish the challenges.
Also on this first day, we did a pre-reading challenge, which is a survivor game that comes in my Lord of the Flies Teaching Unit.
Chapter 1 Island Challenge: Frequently Confused Words Maze
I absolutely loved this interactive maze challenge. The boys in the novel go out searching the island in the first chapter, and the creepy vines only add to their confusion and fright in trying to find their way around, so having my own students participate in a maze made perfect sense. I always want these Lord of the Flies island activities to be as standards-based as possible, so I decided to take the frequently confused words list from my literature guide and make it into maze. These words are tricky and get you tripped up pretty easily, so that is the perfect concept for a maze, too! In this commonly confused words maze, students are challenged to find the answers to the worksheet by searching around the room (and in the hallway) for the hidden clues. It’s included in my Lord of the Flies complete teaching unit.
Chapter 2 Island Challenge: Build a 3D Map of the Island
For this challenge, students had to use textual evidence to build a 3D map of the island. By this chapter, the boys on the island have begun to figure their way around a little better, and Golding has given us some very specific descriptions. I set a timer and awarded first place to the group who finished their map first and correct. This 3D map activity is no prep, and it’s included in my Lord of the Flies complete teaching unit.
Chapter 3 Island Challenge: Building a Hut STEM Challenge
To coincide with the boys’ island experience, I challenged my students with a fun STEM-oriented tent-building activity. Everyone received the same supplies: a plate, piece of construction paper cut in half, 4 tooth picks, four straws, one fruit roll up, 6 mini pretzel sticks, a long piece of plain tape, and I used jelly beans as people. I don’t think I’d do people again. The three categories were Most Aesthetic, Most Functional, Most Creative/Thoughtful Intent. The tents had to fit on the plate and be only one tent. I had a few other teachers come in and judge.
Chapter 4 Island Challenge: Figurative Language Throw-down
I used the figurative language worksheets in my Lord of the Flies teaching pack for this challenge and had kids race against the clock and each other to get the most correct. You can’t miss Golding’s beautiful use of language, and this was a good, quick challenge.
Chapter 5/6 Island Challenge: Building a Parachute STEM Challenge
This chapter introduces the fallen parachute soldier, so I went with another STEM challenge. For this activity, students had to use certain supplies and build a parachute that would float the longest. If I do it again, I’ll also add a prize for one that goes the farthest. Supplies: plastic bag, piece of felt, piece of aluminum foil, pieces of string, a long piece of tape, and a unicorn that had to be secured to it. We went to the bleachers to drop them off, and I can’t even tell you how much fun this was!
Chapter 7 Island Challenge: Worm Dig
By this point the novel, things are getting messy… nasty and dirty are taking over – the island is transforming and so are the boys. For this challenge, I bought extra large cups of chocolate pudding and sour gummy worms. I ran it kinda like a minute-to-win-it came. One student per group volunteered, and without any hands, they had to remove all the worms from the “dirt.” They also had to clean up the worms, so no dumping out the bowl and winning. The group with the most – and cleanest – worms out in a minute won.
Chapter 8/9 Island Challenge: Pin the Tail on the Piggy
At the climax of the novel, it was only fitting for students to experience a pig hunt, of course! So, I went classic with this one, and we played pin the tail on the piggy. Each group got one tail, one minute, and one try to get the tail as close to the marked spot as possible. I had one person per group and each person went one at a time, and their group could help, but other groups were yelling out to make chaos. Oh, and we did create hurdles for them to tackle as they crossed the room. It couldn’t be too easy, right? We did have a tie, sort of, so I had those groups go all at once for the win. Let me just say, they did battle it out.
Chapter 10 Island Challenge: Quiz Scores
During each book club, we would also take a quick quiz, and I used an average of the groups’ scores. Quizzes can be found in my Lord of the Flies teaching unit.
Chapter 11 Island Challenge: Theme/Quote Sort
This challenge is again geared toward testing the students’ understanding of the content of the novel now that we’ve almost made it through to the end. For this challenge, I chose to use my theme and quote sorting activity. They raced against the clock and each other to get the most card matched correctly. Each group got one set of cards. They can be found in my Lord of the Flies teaching unit.
Chapter 12 Island Challenge: Escape Game
What’s an island survival novel without an “escape off the island” game? I wanted so badly to create a quick mini escape game of my own, but time was running thin. So, luckily I found an awesome digital game from English Bulldog that worked very well. I hadn’t ever used a digital escape game before, but I was really impressed with the clues and content. My students enjoyed it, and it was the perfect way to end the island challenges.
For each set of three chapters, I did prizes (extra points) for the people in that group. I used different colored stars to track the wins. Then, I did an overall winner at the end, and they got a more festive prize. I really enjoyed creating and conducting the island challenges, and my students enjoyed participating. I think the videos and pictures show that, but when one of my class-clown athletes said, “What do you have for us today? You’ve really made me be excited to come to class,” it took my breath. It was a lot of work, but if a few little games can get kids wanting to read and come to class, I’ll do it every day, all day. #worthit
Another way to jazz up your unit is to decorate your room like an island. I hang up a few palm leaves, make a coconut concoction in oil diffuser, have Hawaiian punch to drink, and play island tunes when students come into class the first day.
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