Boys in the Boat Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'The Boys in the Boat' is a non-fiction book by Daniel James Brown about America's 1936 Olympic gold medal-winning rowing team. This asset contains classroom discussion questions about this book.

The Boys in the Boat

In the midst of the Great Depression and Hitler's reign over Nazi Germany, Joe Rantz overcame personal challenges to be part of the 1936 rowing team for America. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown chronicles the journey towards Olympic victory. The questions in this asset will guide high school classroom discussions about this book.

Prologue and Chapters 1-6

The questions in this section will support student understanding of background information related to Rantz's development as a rower.

  • Why did the author write this book?
  • What does the boat symbolize?
  • How does the setting of the Great Depression contribute to Rantz's decision to join the crew team? Why do you think other historical information, such as the Dust Bowl and American sentiment about Germany are included in this story?
  • What are some of the challenges Rantz faced growing up? What did he learn from these experiences? What character traits led to Rantz becoming a successful rower?
  • Describe Rantz's relationships with his peers. How does teamwork influence success?

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