Imagine a world where information is used as a form of control. Where books and knowledge are guarded by the powerful few. Science, technology, and language are utilized for propaganda, social control, and brainwashing.
Call to Adventure
Welcome to our Dystopian Quest where it is the mission of my eighth grade students uncover the disinformation, brainwashing, and indoctrination of the people living in the utopian/dystopian worlds they read about in young adult fiction. Students are called upon to find the heroes who are already on a path to uncover the deception and fabrication of their world and community.
Instead of reading and completing traditional quizzes and tests about the dystopian books students are reading, they are immersed in an adventure based quest throughout their reading unit, completing different missions to uncover new thinking about their reading. Students earn game points or “XP” (Experience Points) with each mission that they later can utilize for different powers and privileges in the classroom.
If we are going to energize our students, we need to embrace technology with teaching methods that inspire and encourage our students to be motivated to learn, collaborate, and face obstacles in a positive way. Approaching learning as a quest or a mission can inspire adventure, collaboration, and results in a better learning experience and learning environment. Gamification and game based learning captures (and retains) learners’ attention, challenges students, engages and entertains them, and teaches them.
Below is the hyperdoc that maps out the three week dystopian quest for my students. Students choose the dystopian books they want to read. YA choices include The Giver by Lois Lowry, Neal Shusterman’s Unwind and Scythe series, Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard, and The Reader by Traci Chee.
As students are reading, they have different missions to complete that have them unpack the dystopias and draw connections between the fictional worlds and our reality today. For the final mission students write a thematic essay utilizing text based evidence. There are sidequests for students to complete for additional points and privileges. This hyperdoc and quest has taken on many different forms and this year I have it paired down to cover the elements of dystopia that will help scaffold students’ comprehension and close reading. Topics include characterization, propaganda, text connections, and hero’s journey.
Want to know more about this quest and reading unit, contact me and I am happy to share more.