This is a highly interactive lesson that immerses students in the world of social class. This lesson involves a lot of prep work in order to be successful, but the preparation is worth it: students love this lesson. Part of why this lesson works so well is that it is a game, and a social game nonetheless.
Students begin with various amounts of money depending on an identity that they are arbitrarily given at the beginning of class. Students from the Valley of Ashes are dirt poor, while students born into East Egg society start the game with money and resources. Over the course of the game, students must earn money, pay rent, and buy food; obviously, these tasks are far easier for the East Egg students than for the Valley of Ashes students.
By playing this game, students amass first-hand knowledge. They learn that it is not so easy to work your way up in society when you start with nothing. They learn that knowing people with money can help give you a leg up in society if you take advantage of your relationships. In short, they experience a microcosm that replicates some of the attributes of American society. Their experiences serve as a jumping off point for reflection and discussion.
This Game Package Includes:
- A set of directions for game play
- 8 pages of printables to enhance game play (including fake money, property cards, identity badges, and food for purchase)
- 20 distinct "identities" for students to take on in the game (these can be duplicated to accommodate class sizes of 40 or more students)
- Reflection questions for students to complete after the game
- An 8-slide PowerPoint presentation version of the discussion questions with strong visuals to enhance post-game discussion
This lesson complements two other products:
The Literary Lyceum American Dream Non-fiction Lesson (click here)
the Literary Lyceum American Dream Essay Assignment (click here)
If you like these materials...
This lesson is also available as part of our comprehensive
Great Gatsby Unit Bundle (click here)
In the unit bundle, you will receive:
- A vocabulary bundle with 4 vocabulary lists, 4 vocabulary quizzes with answer keys, plus additional vocabulary activities
- A reading comprehension bundle with reading comprehension questions and quizzes (with accompanying answer keys) for every chapter of the book
- An anticipatory activity with an image-rich PowerPoint to get students thinking about larger themes before reading the text
- A lesson, PowerPoint, and worksheet centered on characterization and narrator credibility
- A lesson, PowerPoint, worksheet, and "Teacher's Key" on setting analysis centered on the first two chapters of the book
- A group work lesson focused on symbolism in The Great Gatsby (including a "Teacher's Key" for guidance)
- This entertaining social class game
- A non-fiction lesson devoted to the idea of the American dream
- A lesson and worksheet for students to compare the filmed versions of The Great Gatsby with the novel
- A lesson, worksheet, and PowerPoint on the themes of the book
- Analysis questions on the sequence of events in the book, with a "Teacher's Key" that gives insight into the answers to the questions
- A literary analysis essay prompt and rubric, plus accompanying handouts for essay writing support
- A research-based persuasive essay prompt and rubric, plus accompanying handouts for essay writing support