Scorpions Novel Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

If you're teaching Walter Dean Myers' novel 'Scorpions,' you can use this lesson plan as a culminating project. Students will show what they have learned by summarizing the plot, characters, and themes in a persuasive speech.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize the plot, characters, and some themes of Scorpions.
  • explain the relevance of Scorpions.
  • use persuasive techniques in public speaking.


This lesson should be used once your students have finished reading the novel Scorpions.


60 - 120 minutes, depending on class size

Curriculum Standards


Cite several pieces of 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 its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.


Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.


Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.




  • As students enter the room, have some rap music from the early 80s playing. You might use ''Jam on It'' by Newcleus or ''Planet Rock'' by Afrika Bambaataa. When the class settles, ask them if this music is still relevant today. You may want to have them write first to formulate their ideas. Most will make the point that although the sounds are dated, it's still fun to listen to and has historical relevance.
  • Lead a discussion comparing the relevance of the music to the novel Scorpions - a book that may seem dated but that still has value. Get the class to help you make a list of reasons that Scorpions should still be read.


  • In the next stage of the lesson, student should brush up on their summarization skills. Call out characters and scenes from the book and ask them to summarize those. For an added challenge, give your students a specific word limit. For instance, ask them to summarize the scene where Angel and India attack Jamal, but they can only use 50 words or less. Giving a word limit rather than a number of sentences will help young writers learn to be more concise.
  • Mention a couple of the major themes in the book - family and feuds. Have students summarize those themes given a strict word count.
  • Distribute copies of the text lesson Scorpions: Book Summary & Characters. Call upon students to read their summaries, then compare them with the ones written in the lesson.
  • Use the lesson quiz to assess understanding of these essential elements of the novel.

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