Looking to build background knowledge before reading Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
This is an awesome activity to expose students to some of the people, issues, events, and themes of the 1920s I use this research activity to build background knowledge establish context before reading The Great Gatsby.
It's called an Explorations Board because students are presented with a "board" of topics and can choose those that match their own interests to explore. In order to meet the requirements, though, they must cover the whole board (all the topics) in one way or another.
I first read about the Explorations Board in When Adolescents Can’t Read: Methods and Materials that Work by Mary E. Curtis and Ann Marie Longo. I was intrigued by their idea and did some research on the Internet to find out how other users were incorporating this strategy into their classrooms. Still, I couldn’t quite make it fit in my curriculum until I thought to try it as a pre-reading strategy rather than the actual unit of study as it is used elsewhere. This is the result!
In this activity, students get to explore a wide-range of topics to build background knowledge and practice their research skills. I used to assign each student a single topic (i.e., automobiles, the Harlem Renaissance, etc.) and let them do a presentation to the class. The Explorations Board was a much more effective introduction to the same topics and EVERYONE learned something about all of the topics rather than each individual only really learning about his/her own topic.
I've revised the product so that it is now FULLY EDITABLE. You can use it as it is (the way I use it in my classroom) or edit the requirements or questions to meet your students' needs!
I have two other lessons about The Great Gatsby
that you should check out, too:
Before, During, and After-Reading Activities
A set of eleven creative activities that can be used to assess understanding of individual chapters or the whole book.
Gatsby Review Jeopardy
A comprehensive review game to help students prepare for a test.
If you like the Explorations Board idea, please also check out my version for The Crucible:
The Crucible Pre-Reading Research Activity
keywords: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby, 1920s, jazz age, Prohibition, history, research