Scorpions Book Activities

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Scorpions is a book about the struggle of dealing with gangs and poverty. This lesson provides a variety of activities for students to become more knowledgeable on the book.

Walter Dean Myers' Scorpions

Myer's Scorpions tells the story of 12-year-old Jamal, and how he is dealing with his brother being in jail, his mother's struggles, being without his father, and trying to do the right thing. It is an engaging story where students will examine themes of friendship, loyalty, drugs and violence. Activities, in groups and individually, can really help students to relate to the novel and become engaged in the messages that the author is trying to convey.

The following activities can help students that learn in a variety of ways, while also making sure to hit the major themes within the book. They are designed to be done towards the end of the novel or after it is finished, though they can be adapted to fit instances during the actual reading of the story.

Group Activities

Group activities are good for students to take on larger amounts of work, because it can be divvied out amongst the students. Additionally, it is helpful in getting students to work together and develop relationships.


Have the students break into teams. Each person should debate key points in the novel, making sure they use references and quotes from the text. For example, students could debate whether the school should have the responsibility to decide if a student needs medication or needs to be sent to different school meant for problem children.


Break your students into teams, but do not let the students know who their teammate is. Set up mailboxes for each team in the class, it can be a set of shoeboxes. Now, have one student take on the role of Jamal, and one take on the role of Randy. Have each student write letters to each other, ''mail them'', then read the correspondence and respond. You actually do not necessarily need teams, as long as a ''Randy'' is always responding to a ''Jamal''. This activity is good for getting students to really know the text enough to try and mimic the characters in letters. You could also do this with Tito and Jamal.

Cause and Effect

Have the students break up into groups of 4. Give each group a large criminal case that has a lot of research available. For example, the case on OJ Simpson has lots of research available. Then on a poster board, have the group summarize the crime, then bullet point the causes for the crime as they see it verses what the accused had to say. Then have the students check to see what the resolution of the case was. Also, have the students notate a solution that could have been used instead of committing the crime. This gives them experience in research and problem solving.

Individual Activities

Individual activities can be done in class or at home and allow students to work alone and at the speed they desire.

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