K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learn more

Related pages

  • Using extended similes to elaborate and add style: Students will analyze a series of extended similes, develop criteria for strong and weak extended similes, and begin using extended similes as a tool for elaboration in their own writing.
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: Students study the symbolism, setting, and characterization in Kafka's work.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird role-play: A Maycomb pig pickin': Somewhere near the middle of reading the novel, students start to become confused about characters. This fun role-play activity works especially well just after Chapter 21 and allows students to get to know characters beyond Jem and Scout. It also can be a springboard into further discussions of point of view, theme, and stereotypes.

Related topics


Please read our disclaimer for lesson plans.


The text of this page is copyright ©2008. See terms of use. Images and other media may be licensed separately; see captions for more information and read the fine print.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • relate prior knowledge to Animal Farm.
  • integrate ideas from more than one work of literature.
  • summarize and reflect on reading.
  • recognize and record elements found in the novel.
  • connect the novel to life in a meaningful way.
  • assess reading comprehension through factual, interpretive, and evaluative questions.
  • evaluate interpretations of the novel using textual evidence, personal experience, and knowledge of related literature.
  • recognize the formation of a totalitarian society.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

3 hours


  • Individual student copies of the novel Animal Farm
  • Copy of the short story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


  • Students will discuss the following statements and questions in small groups and then have open class discussion:

    • Life in the USA would be perfect if everyone were totally equal.
    • You are designing a society in which everyone is equal. What are the laws?
    • What would you do to help people who were less capable mentally, physically, or socially to “catch up”?
    • What problems can you foresee that might arise in a society with enforced “equality for all”? How would you handle those problems?
    • Do you believe that total equality is possible, or would human nature assure that some people would eventually dominate others?
  • Each student will write on an index card examples of language which attracted his/her attention and questions he/she has about the previous night’s reading. Discussion will follow using cards as a starting point.


Day 1

  1. Teacher will read “Harrison Bergeron” aloud to class.
  2. Students will answer the following questions individually and then have open class discussion.
    • How does the story make you feel? Why?
    • Is everyone equal in the society described in the story? If so, how was equality achieved? If not, why?
    • Who has power and how is that power assured?

Assignment 1

Students will read chapters 1-3 of Animal Farm and answer response questions in their literary response journals.

  • How does the novel make you feel at this point? Record your emotional response (mood) in a few sentences and try to express why you feel as you do.
  • In what situations have you felt similarly to any of the characters? What persons, places, or ideas from your own experience came to mind while you were reading this portion of the novel? Try to list as least two associations.
  • Note specific portions of the language which attract your attention (words, phrases, lines, etc.)
  • What literary devices do you see being employed in the story thus far?
  • Note anything which is causing you a problem and questions you would like to ask.

Day 2

Students will discuss the following questions in small groups and record their answers for presentation to the class as a whole.

  1. What is the point of view, and is it effective in giving the reader an unbiased view? Why or why not?
  2. What animalistic qualities do the inhabitants of Animal Farm demonstrate? What human characteristics do they demonstrate?
  3. Describe the doctrine of Animalism and its commandments. Are the commandments primarily pro-animal or anti-man? What problems do you foresee for the society?
  4. Is one group of animals already becoming superior to the others? Who are they and how does this happen?
  5. Do you see any symbols in the novel thus far? If so, what are they and what do they represent?
  6. Compare and contrast the society set up in Animal Farm with the one in “Harrison Bergeron” or the one in France at the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities.

Assignment 2

Do a political cartoon, sketch, rap song, poem, or role-play to contrast the leadership of Snowball and Napoleon, including the plans made for Animal Farm by each of them. These will be shared with the class during the next class period.

Day 3

Students will share their cartoons, sketches, raps, poems, or role-plays with the class.
Note: Students will complete the unit in several days with reading assignments and other response assignments each night and question and answer session and group discussion the following day.


Teacher will note the following things from observation of class :

  • Familiarity with text as exhibited in oral discussion and group activity.
  • Ability of students to connect ideas from other literary works and life to the novel.
  • Ability of students to recognize and discuss language, symbols, and literary devices used in novel.
  • Level of personal interaction with the reading and discussion.
  • Demonstration of interpretation and evaluation of ideas presented by the teacher and stated in the text.

Teacher will note the following things in the drawing/writing/role-playing assignment:

  • Evidence of ability to relate the situation in the reading to personal experience.
  • Evidence of understanding of characterization of Napoleon and Snowball.
  • Evidence of understanding of how totalitarianism evolves.

Supplemental information


This lesson plan is from the collection of the Tried *n* True lesson plans from the Department of Public Instruction.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.RL.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
          • 9-10.RL.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.
          • 9-10.RL.6 Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.
        • Speaking & Listening

          • 9-10.SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 9

  • Goal 2: The learner will explain meaning, describe processes, and answer research questions to inform an audience.
    • Objective 2.01: Demonstrate the ability to read, listen to and view a variety of increasingly complex print and non-print informational texts appropriate to grade level and course literary focus, by:
      • selecting, monitoring, and modifying as necessary reading strategies appropriate to readers' purpose.
      • identifying and analyzing text components (such as organizational structures, story elements, organizational features) and evaluating their impact on the text.
      • providing textual evidence to support understanding of and reader's response to text.
      • demonstrating comprehension of main idea and supporting details.
      • summarizing key events and/or points from text.
      • making inferences, predicting, and drawing conclusions based on text.
      • identifying and analyzing personal, social, historical or cultural influences, contexts, or biases.
      • making connections between works, self and related topics.
      • analyzing and evaluating the effects of author's craft and style.
      • analyzing and evaluating the connections or relationships between and among ideas, concepts, characters and/or experiences.
      • identifying and analyzing elements of informational environment found in text in light of purpose, audience, and context.
  • Goal 4: The learner will create and use standards to critique communication.
    • Objective 4.01: Evaluate the effectiveness of communication by:
      • examining the use of strategies in a presentation/product.
      • applying a set of predetermined standards.
      • creating an additional set of standards and applying them to the presentation/product.
      • comparing effective strategies used in different presentations/products.
  • Goal 5: The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms.
    • Objective 5.01: Read and analyze various literary works by:
      • using effective reading strategies for preparation, engagement, reflection.
      • recognizing and analyzing the characteristics of literary genres, including fiction (e.g., myths, legends, short stories, novels), non-fiction (e.g., essays, biographies, autobiographies, historical documents), poetry (e.g., epics, sonnets, lyric poetry, ballads) and drama (e.g., tragedy, comedy).
      • interpreting literary devices such as allusion, symbolism, figurative language, flashback, dramatic irony, dialogue, diction, and imagery.
      • understanding the importance of tone, mood, diction, and style.
      • explaining and interpreting archetypal characters, themes, settings.
      • explaining how point of view is developed and its effect on literary texts.
      • determining a character's traits from his/her actions, speech, appearance, or what others say about him or her.
      • explaining how the writer creates character, setting, motif, theme, and other elements.
      • making thematic connections among literary texts and media and contemporary issues.
      • understanding the importance of cultural and historical impact on literary texts.
      • producing creative responses that follow the conventions of a specific genre and using appropriate literary devices for that genre.