9th Grade Novels‎ > ‎

Hunger Games

Author Suzanne Collins Scholastic interviews: 



Suzanne Collins has had a successful and prolific career writing for children's television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains It All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Collins made her mark in children's literature with the New York Times bestselling five-book series for middle-grade readers The Underland Chronicles, which has received numerous accolades in both the United States and abroad. In the award-winning The Hunger Games trilogy, Collins continues to explore the effects of war and violence on those coming of age. Collins lives with her family in Connecticut. 

Review Plot
Use action to move plot along
Explore Character Traits: courage, loyalty
Overcoming injustice; oppression
How culture (regional) influences identity
Analyze Theme
Practice Imagery

What do you value above anything else?
What does it mean to survive?

  • survival
  • strength
  • loyalty
  • suffering
  • identity
  • authority
  • human nature
  • civility vs savagery
Work Products
  • Essay--character trait from three perspectives and three examples of each perspective. 
  • Essay--gender from three perspectives and three examples of each.
  • Sensory Emotion Poem Using Imagery
  • Sensory Character Poem Using Imagery
  • Practice Summarizing Text (prewrite worm)
Final Exam--6-Paragraph In-Class
Sci-Fi Essay
Ojective: Grade level writing, apply plot to short story; use action to move plot along
#1 Theme Paragraph that begins: In the Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins shows that . . . topic plus insight (example...that love trumps survival). Give 3 examples that support your theme.
#2 Exposition (hook, setting, characters, conflict)
#3 Rising Action
#4 Climax
#5 Falling Action and Resolution 
#6 Analysis, Opinion, Wrap-up, "So What?," reiterate

Radio Interview As students read, ask them to accumulate a list of questions they would ask the main characters from the novel. After a cluster of chapters have been read, draw names from the class and ask those students to assume the identities of characters from the novel. Ask one student to assume the role of disc jockey. Have student ‘listeners’ call into the radio show to interview main characters by raising their hands and asking their questions. Students portraying characters should be aware of character motivations and actions before participating in the activity.

Advertising Panem Products Students will make a series of billboards for products created in Capitol City and used by Hunger Games participants. Before completing this activity, students should brainstorm a list of items which might be used in Capitol City or in the arena. They can use poster-sized paper or simply add their ads on card stock. Students should provide a picture of the product, an explanation of what it does, and include a catchy phrase to promote their product. For more advertising ideas, have students browse through magazine ads.

Dystopiaian Society  Even though the purpose of this unit is to explore the pure enjoyment that reading can offer us, I wanted to teach students about what a "DYSTOPIAN SOCIETY" is. Not only because it is a fancy word that is sort of fun to say, but because many middle and high school students have been exposed to this subject before, but might not have known it. A dystopian society is defined by Webster's dictionary as being "an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives". In The Hunger Games, the setting of the novel is in the country of Panem that is located in what used to be the United States. Panem is comprised of twelve districts that ring the Capitol; the Capitol is cruel, controlling and reminiscent of the socialist economy that is often feared in today's world.

Many books and movies are dystopia in theme. The Giver by Lois Lowery, George Orwell's 1984, are a few examples of novels with dystopia traits. 

Link: The Best List of Dystopia Movies--discuss what makes the societies “fearful” and why authors or movie makers would use this theme. 

Pick and Choose Students will choose five items they’d like to find in the Cornucopia at The Hunger Games. Which items do they feel they could benefit from the most? Ask them to complete their choices with a description of the purpose. Also, if they could request one item from their sponsor during the games, what would they request?

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Persuading the President Write a persuasive letter  to President Snow to end The Hunger Games. Students should try to include logical, ethical and emotional appeals in their letter.

Story through Song Rewrite lyrics from familiar songs to create musical parodies which concern the novel in some respect. If possible, bring in a karaoke machine to have students perform their work live. They can also create a recording at home and burn their song on a CD or save as an mp3 file to listen to on their mp3 player.

Write a Sensory Emotion Poem Students will first brainstorm the many emotions Katniss experiences along with the incidents which inspire the emotional reaction. Choose one emotion for the poem. In the first few lines of the poem, associate the emotion with the five senses. The last line of the poem will include a metaphor of the emotion. Challenge students to add more than one stanza to their poems. Another idea is to use the poem to summarize Katniss’s emotions from the beginning, middle, and end of the novel, each emotion through a different stanza. This activity will encourage creative thought while motivating students to think critically about the novel.

Title (Emotion)

(Line 1) (Emotion) is (color)

(Line 2) What does the emotion taste like?

(Line 3) What does the emotion smell like?

(Line 4) What does the emotion feel like?

(Line 5) What does the emotion sound like?

(Line 6) What does the emotion look like?

(Line 7) (Emotion) is _____________(include a metaphor)


Frustration is brown.

It tastes like burnt oatmeal

and smells like the pages between an ancient book.

It feels like choking and gasping for air in a smoke-filled room

and sounds like the drone of locusts on a summer’s day.

It looks like the fingernail dents in the palm of my hand.

Frustration is an empty well at the edge of a desert.

Review Example:  From Publishers Weekly

If there really are only seven original plots in the world, it's odd that boy meets girl is always mentioned, and society goes bad and attacks the good guy never is. Yet we haveFahrenheit 451The GiverThe House of the Scorpion—and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games
Collins hasn't tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one's humanity in such inhuman circumstances.
It's a credit to Collins's skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser.It's no accident that these games are presented as pop culture.
Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem—which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent—may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet, she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. 
It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch. Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. Readers will wait eagerly to learn more.

Megan Whalen Turner is the author of the Newbery Honor book The Thief and its sequels, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. The next book in the series will be published by Greenwillow in 2010. 
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