Tom Sawyer Activities & Games

Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

In this lesson discover thought-provoking and enjoyable ideas to use in the classroom when studying ~'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.~' Included are activities that require analysis of the text and games that create a connection with the characters.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain is one of the most revered American authors ever. His work has stood the test of time and is still popular in many Language Arts classrooms. One of his most well-known novels is The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a novel written in the 1870s depicting a mischievous boy growing up in a small town in Missouri. This novel also introduces the character Huckleberry Finn, who goes on to star in Twain's just as popular, but much more controversial novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

This lesson describes activities and games you can use in class when studying The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.


Tom's Ten Commandments

Tom Sawyer is truly one of the most endearing but roguish characters in American literature. To do him justice, use this activity to analyze his character in depth.

The goal of this activity is for students to create the 10 Commandments that Tom Sawyer would want to live by. He is often making up his own rules and guidelines to follow in life, so why not use his morphed sense of right and wrong for character analysis?

Have students come up with 10 rules that outline Tom's philosophy on life. Then each student must write up a defense for why he or she created those specific commandments. This is an engaging way to think critically about Tom as a character.

A Change in Scenery

Setting in Tom Sawyer is extremely significant. From the great Mississippi, to the lush woods, to the maze-like caves, Tom seems to rely upon his environment to pull off his impish designs on the townsfolk.

To emphasize this fact to your students, design an activity centered on the setting. Choose a part of the story, like Tom and Becky getting lost in the caves. Then have your students imagine what would be different if the time or the place of that scene was changed. Ideas include changing the time period to modern day, changing the place to Africa or the moon, or even moving the story to 1000 years into the future.

Have students rewrite that section of the novel incorporating the changes in scenery or create visuals depicting all the differences between the two. The purpose of this activity is to emphasize the significance of setting in the story.

Comic Strip

An activity that is always fun no matter the story is creating a comic strip. To do so, you can provide a template for your students or have them create the strip containing a specific number of boxes. For each box, students must draw a main event from the plot. Below each box they can write a short caption describing the picture.

You can use this activity in two different ways. First, you can section off the novel and have students create comic strips specific sections. Or another option is to assign the comic strip after the entire novel has been read. In this case, students would have to decide which events are the most important to fit into the specific number of boxes required by you.


Who am I?

This game centers on the characters from the story. Depending on how many students are in your class, secretly assign a character to each student. Examples include Huck Finn, Aunt Polly, Becky Thatcher, Joe Harper, and Tom Sawyer of course. If your class is too large to use just main characters, then use minor ones or split your students into small groups.

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