The Lorax Lesson Plan

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

This lesson plan takes a look at both The Lorax and Dr. Seuss's early career. Through The Lorax, the metaphors of pollution and industrialization are illuminated, while the reading on his early career provides insight into his purposes for writing the book. Whole class (or group) discussions facilitate the learning in this lesson.

Learning Objectives:

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • understand the metaphor for pollution and industrialization found in The Lorax and name its constituent parts
  • connect the life of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) to his later children's books, and discuss possible reasons why he wrote The Lorax

Length

30-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.2

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

Instructions

  • Begin the lesson with a short whole-group discussion of metaphors. Ask students to define metaphor and give several examples. Write pertinent information on the board. This can also be done as a think-pair-share or other similarly structured activities.
  • Introduce the topic of The Lorax, and give students the Dr. Seuss's Biography & Books: Lesson for Kids as a handout or provide them the link to read on a device. Alternately, you can do a read-aloud of this lesson. Ask students to pay particular attention to Dr. Seuss's early career, as it will be important later in the lesson.
  • Do a read-aloud of The Lorax. (Protip: Be sure to yell louder and louder on the 'and biggering and BIGGERING!' part. It's always a crowd pleaser!)
  • Immediately following the read aloud, hold another whole-group discussion of the metaphors of pollution and industrialization in The Lorax. Focus on inputs (i.e. Truffula Trees) and outputs (i.e. Thneeds), as well as side products (i.e. Smogulous Smoke, Gluppity Glup, and Shloppity Shlop). Ask students to connect these inputs and outputs to real-world examples (e.g. coal-burning power plants, industrial factories).
  • Refer back to the Dr. Seuss's Biography & Books: Lesson for Kids. Quickly refresh students' memories about Dr. Seuss's early career and ask for suggestions about why he might have written The Lorax. Do you think spending 15 years of his early career working for Standard Oil impacted his later work?

Extensions:

  • Two video interpretations of The Lorax exist that can be shown in class at any point in the lesson. One was made in 1972 and can be found on YouTube (and, in my humble opinion is better to show in class, as it follows the book more closely). The other was made in 2012 and is available from a variety of sources. This is a feature-length video, and time must be allotted for its viewing.

Related Lessons:

Dr. Seuss's Poems: Lesson for Kids

Imagery in Poetry: Lesson for Kids

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