Included in this Packet:
- Project Overview/Summary
- Recommended Schedule Options
- Project Notes/Instructions
- Assignment Handout w/Template for Students to Follow
- Authentic Student Sample
- Project Sign-up Sheet
- Photos from actual exhibit to help model
- Welcome & Quote Posters to enhance exhibit
This challenging critical thinking project serves as a wonderful culminating exploration following reading The Lord of the Flies. It asks students to operate in the world of grey where answers are not easily drawn in black and white. They will create and display their work in a public “gallery” that is, literally, black and white in order to highlight this reality. The public consumption element of this project helps to draw out quality work from students, and it fosters wonderful communal conversations beyond the classroom in the face of complex questions. (See photos/samples attached)
Specifically, each student will write a 1-page, single-spaced mini-essay arguing how an event in human history illustrates that humans are inherently good, and they will write a SECOND essay arguing how this SAME EVENT illustrates that humans are inherently evil. Students will, in essence, argue two sides of the same issue, and their physical essays will create the TWO SIDES of their black & white gallery display, offering a visual representation of their two perspectives on human nature.
In order to successfully complete this project, students must grapple with this Good-Evil duality in human nature, they must define, in their own terms, what constitutes GOOD and EVIL, and they must analyze and support their claims depending on the historical event and context they select. The challenge will be in developing their own opposing perspectives, then credibly arguing WHY and HOW the elements of their historic event meet their definitions and support each claim.
The beauty of this project is, of course, in the analysis where students must take and defend opposing perspectives. However, another invaluable element is the emphasis on the “GREY” with the understanding that the world offers few clear-cut, black and white answers, especially when it comes to matters of right and wrong, good and evil. This insight should gird them well for the world within and beyond high school.
NOTE: This project works best when launched near the end of reading the novel. It explores deep questions about human nature, questions that have been “dredged up” throughout the text.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- An approved public space in your school building where you can set up your gallery for a week or more (We used a common section of our library or a hallway with a convenient alcove that provided passing foot traffic, but didn’t impede passing between classes)
- Assignment with template, student samples, and gallery poster options (SEE ENCLOSED)
- Black construction paper
- Glue sticks or staples
- Fish line
- Hole Punch & hole punch grommet stickers (to reinforce the holes you’ll punch in the construction paper prior to hanging your display)
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
- Decide WHEN you’ll launch the Good-Evil project. (I’ve found success launching it before finishing Chapter 12. Students have seen enough of the text to understand that these good-evil elements permeate the novel at this point. You can even decide to launch it earlier. The key is to give students ample time to consider the assignment AND their project choices before they are asked to sign up their historical event selection. I give them about 5 days notice of the project before we review for a test on the novel, then they sign up either on our review day, on test day after they finish the test, or on the day after the test.)
- Review assignment & display template with students - Upon deadline they will need two (2) clean/pristine 1-page essays to create their gallery display. (You must also determine the point values you’ll place on the project & adjust the rubric accordingly. Given that they are challenging, yet “mini” essays, I valued them at 40 points each, slightly less than a typical 100-point essay.)
- Leave 1 day for students to assemble/create their display (Both individual work AND teamwork will be required on that day to help each other put up the displays)
- Students will glue or staple their two essays back-to-back with a slightly larger piece of black construction paper between them, which functions as a border/frame (see photos). These pieces will hang from the ceiling at eye level using fish line & tape
- Enhance the gallery with a gallery “welcome” description, quote-posters interspersed, and a visitor comment sheet to invite even more differing perspectives in this conversation.