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New Teachers New York:
Lesson Plans by New Teachers, For New Teachers
Create Your Own Utopia 

Aim: Students examine what their idea of a perfect society is and then create their own utopian society.

Objectives: Students will examine the history of Utopian societies of the 19th century. Students will analyze the novel "The Giver" to determine whether this is a fair society or not. Students examine the differences between Jonas' society and society today in terms of career choices, a society with no competition, individuality, and the relationship between equality and justice.

Vocabulary/Concepts: Utopia - Is a Utopian society even possible?

Procedures: Students will read the "The Giver" analyzing for both the literary and societal aspects. Students will then compare and contrast our society today with Jonas’.

Activities: Students will complete the following assignment:

1. Imagine that you have been hired to plan and create an "ideal" society.

a. Give your "perfect" community a name, a system of government, a physical description, and an account of how people spend their days.

Created by:
Anna Tattan 
Location: American History High
Grade: High School
Subject: Social Studies, English

Michele G. Caviasco is currently a ninth grade teacher, and she teaches in the inner-city at a magnet school program in Newark, New Jersey. Working with students from the inner city has allowed her to think more creatively about her lessons. After teaching for a short while, she came to the conclusion that students were not going to take the initiative to engage in reading on their own unless it became more attractive to them.

If you have any questions regarding this activity, please contact michele.caviasco@gmail.com

b.Think about how that community would change and grow.

c. What roles would history and memories of painful events play in the growth of the community?

d. Think about what would have to be added to our own society in order to make it perfect? What would be lost in this quest for perfection?

e. What are the rules or laws? What happens if someone breaks them? How would these rules affect individuals? Schools? Families? Government? Include as many details as possible.

2. What are the problems in today's society? List three. Describe how you would solve at least two of them.

Evaluation: Using a rubric, students are graded on their ability to add a personal voice; organize the paper; employ appropriate sentence structure, flow and rhythm; focus on the topic, choose appropriate vocabulary, punctuation and grammar; and write a conclusion.

Standards Addressed: Social Studies - American Values and Principles. Analyze how individual responsibility and commitment to law are related to the stability of American society; discussion of how participation in civic and political life can contribute to the public good.

Students: Students involved in this project were 9th grade students but this could also be used for upper level classes.

Overall Value: This project's best feature is that it allows the student to use their imagination as well as their own voice while devising a plan to create and organize their society.

 

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