The Things They Carried Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan after reading 'The Things They Carried' to help students summarize book's main ideas, identify theme present in the novel, and examine its characters. Students will then apply learning to an activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize key plot points in The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
  • analyze characters in The Things They Carried
  • identify and discuss theme in The Things They Carried


  • 1 - 1.5 hours


  • Cardboard boxes (cereal boxes work well)
  • Art supplies such as markers, colored pencils, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • White paper to cover the boxes
  • Copies of the book The Things They Carried

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1

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

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2

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.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3

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.


NOTE: This lesson is meant to be used for a class that has already finished reading the book The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.

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