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To Kill a Mockingbird Project Ideas

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  • 0:04 Book Summary
  • 0:53 Race Relations in America
  • 2:17 The Job of an Attorney
  • 3:40 My Favorite Character
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird', although controversial, exemplifies the importance of family and the ugliness of racism. This lesson gives teachers project ideas for helping students grapple with the novel's challenging and timely concepts.

Book Summary

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is told through the eyes of a little girl, Scout. In the book, Scout recounts growing pains with her friends, brother, and dad while trying to come to grips with race relations in Maycomb County.

In the beginning, Scout, her brother Jem, and a friend named Dill have lots of fun, scary times trying to spy on their mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley. Scout later becomes more involved with her father's plight to defend Tom Robinson, a black man. Scout witnesses segregation and discrimination and she's astounded when she becomes a victim of reverse racism.

These activities provide students with a broader sense of race relations, explore the career of an attorney, and allow them to complete an analysis of their favorite character.

Race Relations in America

One of the themes in the book is discrimination and racial tension. In this activity, students will explore race relations in the book and correlate those in today's time.

Materials

  • Butcher paper
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Markers and crayons

Instructions

Prior to class, separate students into groups of three to four. Cut four-foot long sheets of butcher paper, enough to provide one for each group.

Ask students to define racism in their own words. After their responses, ask them to define discrimination. Discuss the theme of race relations between whites and blacks in To Kill A Mockingbird.

Have students construct on their butcher paper a timeline of race relations, starting from when the book was written in the 1960s and ending at the present day, in ten-year increments. Allow groups to use the computer for research and to print materials like photos to illustrate the timeline. Allow groups to appropriately decorate their timeline. Afterwards, ask them to discuss the following:

  • How could race relations have been improved in the book?
  • Based on your research, have race relations improved in America today? Why or why not? Use current events to support your answer.

Have students share and explain their timeline and responses to the discussion questions.

The Job of an Attorney

In this next activity, students will learn about the educational requirements and job responsibilities of an attorney, then compare those with Atticus' duties in Maycomb County.

Materials

  • Computer
  • Presentation software

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