Jack London Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your pupils about author Jack London with this helpful lesson plan. They will review a text lesson, take an accompanying follow-up quiz to demonstrate their grasp of the material, and participate in related activities.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Explain his social beliefs and show how he revealed new cultures to Americans
  • Name some of his famous works and summarize their contents
  • Recap the personal life and adventures of novelist Jack London


1-1.5 hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Call of the Wild
  • Hawaiian culture
  • John Griffith Chaney
  • Shin-Bones
  • The Sea-Wolf
  • To Build a Fire
  • White Fang
  • Yukon

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.


  • Inform the students they will be studying author Jack London.
  • Display an image of Jack London.
  • Ask your students if anyone is familiar with the author or any of his published works.
  • Review key vocabulary terms.
  • Hold up the globe and point to the Yukon. Explain that Jack London once prospected for gold there, and some of his works detail the harsh living conditions that exist in that part of Canada.
  • Hand out copies of the text lesson Jack London: Biography, Books & Short Stories.
  • Have your students read the introduction and the first section titled 'An Adventurous Life: A Brief Biography of Jack London.'
    • What was London's real name?
    • Where was he born? When?
    • What were his parents' occupations?
    • In what slums, did he live?
    • What tough jobs did he do for money?
    • What story did he enter in a newspaper contest?
    • Did he win?
    • Did publishers like him at first?
      • Tell your students that even famous authors were often initially rejected.
    • Where did he attend college?
    • Why did he leave and where did he go in Canada?
    • What war did he cover?
    • What state and sport did he introduce to Americans?
    • How many works did he publish?
    • How old was he when he died?
  • Now read the section 'Novels and Short Stories by London.'
    • Can you name five well-known works by London?
    • Why was he able to write two novels about the Yukon in such detail?
    • What are the plots and themes of the two Yukon stories?
    • About what topic is The Sea-Wolf?
    • About what topic is To Build a Fire?
    • About what topic is Shin-Bones?
  • Finally, read the section 'Lesson Summary.'
  • Review the entire lesson and answer pertinent questions by the students.
  • Have your students try the lesson quiz to demonstrate their understanding.

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