To Kill a Mockingbird Amazing Race

Two weeks ago I posted a Vine video I created of my students going around our school to complete an “Amazing Race” style activity to complete six different activities related to our reading of To Kill a Mockingbird. A handful of people tweeted me and asked me to share the activity. I am a big proponent of of learning stations and I wanted to put a spin on learning stations by making these activities a competition among students and setting up the stations around the school using clues related to the novel. For example, one clue read Scout said, “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.” Where can Scout fuel her passion for reading? Here is where you can find the next task on your TKAM Amazing Race.

Each group of students were given a map with QR codes that led them around the school to then complete the text based activities. Each team got an answer record sheet and used their mobile devices to read the QR Codes and required readings at the different stations. All required readings were linked via QR codes but I have linked the articles below for my readers.

Below are the six activities I asked my students to complete throughout the two day “Amazing Race” competition.

1. A Nightmare Among Us – Chapter 15

Read the article “Fear Factor: How herd mentality drives us.

Answer 3 questions to make a tic-tac-toe win. Write your responses on the answer sheet provided and bring to class completed.

2. Gender Codes

In Chapters 11, 12, & 13 Scout is reminded by others to “act like a lady.”

Read through the article “Growing Up Female in the 1930s South.” Think about what connections you can make between women interviewed and the women in TKAM.

Complete the compare/contrast foldable in your Interactive English Notebook identifying similarities and differences between the gender expectations for women during this time period and Scout’s struggle to meet the gender expectations.

3. Caste Systems in Maycomb – Chapter 13

What is a caste system?

A social structure in which classes are determined by heredity.

Caste systems, social inequalities, and poverty cycles are all sub stories in TKAM. Throughout the book there are divisions in social classes which cause tension and conflict.

What is the hierarchy in Maycomb County? Complete the chart on your answer sheet by placing where you think each of the characters belong. Then, find evidence to support your claim.

4. Different Dialects – Chapter 12

In Chapter 12 Scout and Jem attend church with Calpurnia. They notice that she uses language differently at church than she does in their home. Scout describes Calpurnia as “having command of two languages.”

Use your text to examine the conversation between Jem, Scout, and Calpurnia at the end of Chapter 12. Respond to the following questions, using quotes from the novel to help explain your responses.

  1. A) How do Scout and Jem describe the way Calpurnia uses language in church?
  2. B) What explanation does Calpurnia give for using language differently at church than in the Finch’s home?

5. Courage

At the end of Chapter 11 Atticus tells Jem, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.”

  1. How do you define courage?
  2. Who shows courage in the novel? Complete the chart on your answer sheet illustrating two characters who exemplify courage, how they show courage, and specific textual evidence that supports your claim.

6. Life Lessons

Find three people (Young people or adults) who can tell you the important life lessons they remember from the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Video record on your phone, this person talking about their memories about the book and the important life lessons they took away from the novel.

If you would like a copy of my activity with the answer record sheet and QR Code maps for each group, please email me or leave a comment on my blog and I will share the document with you. Please note that the clues I created for my students were specific to my school.

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23 thoughts on “To Kill a Mockingbird Amazing Race

  1. Jamilla Jones says:

    My name is Jamilla Jones and I think the aforementioned spin on Literacy Stations is a wonderful spin on Literacy Stations. My students will begin reading TKAM on Monday and I want a way to tie competition. What QR codes? And is there any other information you can offer me to help me with this?Was this a a culminating chapter after you were finished with the novel?

    • Hi Jamilla,
      QR Codes are the square matrix bar codes that you see in advertisements and online. My students download a QR Code Reader like i-Nigma in the beginning of the school year and I often will have a QR code for an online “Do Now” to start the class like an anticipation guide I put in Google Forms or have an activity that requires students to scan QR Codes to access certain websites to answer questions. It is easier than having students type in the url of a website. The Amazing Race Mockingbird activity is something that I do towards the end of the novel because I am addressing topics like gender, dialect, mob mentality, and more. For the final assignment for Mockingbird my students wrote an essay this year but in the past I have had them complete a think tac toe assignment. Here is the link to check that out:

  2. JSnow says:

    Hello! I would love a copy of this activity! It sounds like a wonderfully active way to explore some big ideas before heading into the trial!

  3. Melissa Wallestad says:

    Hi there!

    I stumbled upon your blog as I was prepping for TKaM with my ninth graders. I would absolutely love to do a version of your QR Code Amazing Race activity. It would be awesome to have a copy of your answer sheet and the QR codes to use as a springboard as I create a version that works for my students and our school.

    I will be back for sure. Your blog has been a source of inspiration this morning!

  4. […] 8. AMAZING RACE – I did this in my To Kill a Mockingbird Unit, students were organized in teams and had to complete six different tasks I scattered around the school. Students were given clues to lead them to the different tasks. Students worked together to solve the clues and complete the different tasks. I describe the activity more in depth in another blog post that you can link to here. […]

  5. Michelle says:

    Hi there,

    I am an English teacher and I was hoping you’d be able to share your TKAM clues with me. Thank you!

  6. Sara Ohm says:

    Using the Amazing Race to teach parts of TKAM is very creative! Could you email me the materials that go with the game? My email is

    Thank you! I look forward to reading more of your work.

  7. Hey there. I came across your blog and the things you’re doing with this novel are amazing. I was wondering if you could explain your amazing race game a bit to me and possibly share it? Thanks so much!

  8. Hillary King says:

    Michele – Awesome resources and thank you for making so much of your work available! I’m curious, how do you close / wrap up this event? I see you planned it to span 2 class periods. I’m just unsure how to get kids to focus on doing a good job (thus not rushing) but staying on task if I let them leave my room. Also how do you wrap it up and sort of bring all the kids back together without just going over answers by calling on kids to share? THANKS!

    • I am never sort of a teacher to wrap things up by going over the answers as a whole class. It is important to make it clear to the students that quality counts more than quantity and speed. I am always going around and looking over the group work and if I need to interrupt to refocus or impress upon students to revise, I do not hesitate. Each part of the race has a point value and students are working towards gaining as many points as possible. To review and wrap up the activity I might have each group share one particular station. I put all the videos together and create a link on our class website to share with others. You can also ask students to do an individual reflection on one particular station to gain feedback on how things went. Keep me posted how it turns out in your own class.

  9. Hillary King says:

    Michele, How do you grade and wrap up this awesome set of activities? This would be perfect for us as we just read ch. 15-16 and it’s a good time to really explore big ideas before focusing in on the trial. I’m just nervous as to how to wrap up / close this work. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    • I graded the students on the content information and their collaboration to complete the task. I do not grade students with a letter or number grade, rather students get game points for their correct answers and bonus for the first place winner of the race. When I evaluate student notebooks I look to see that students have all the information completed and correct. Notebooks are graded based on a rubric that I use to evaluate and that number goes into my grade book.

  10. Hillary King says:

    Could you share the foldable that goes with the Female in 1930’s article? Also, the link given above is to an entire unit – is the “Article” part the interview of different perspectives?

  11. Thank you so much for posting your lesson. It is very creative and just the nudge I needed to really start implementing gamification in my literature class!

  12. Melanie Kelly says:

    Thank you for your wonderful lesson. I have been teaching this novel for 30 years, never the same way twice. I gain more every time my kiddos delve into this literary work. I’ve been teaching at an alternative high school for the past six years and am always searching and creating new ways to entice my reluctant readers. These lessons and links are just the button I needed this spring to fully engage my reluctant readers.

  13. I love this assignment. Can I please get a copy?

    • I have published this activity in my book Gamify Literacy. Unfortunately I have adapted the activity each year that I no longer have my original documents. Please let me know what I can share with you to help you replicate this activity with your students

  14. Kathleen Gyori says:

    Would you mind sharing your TKAM Amazing Race activity. It looks fantastic!!

    • I have published the TKAM in my book Gamify Literacy. I have altered the activity so many times in the past three years that I no longer have the original document to share. What can I share with you to help you replicate the activity for your students?

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