Task #1 - Introduction - Outline/Web

What is Utopia?
Through an exploration of literature and history, develop a basic understanding of the concept of Utopia and propose ideas for a new perfect society.
Create an outline/web in Inspiration (or try an online tool - MindMeister or Bubbl.us or find a better one!) that covers the following questions. Throughout your study, you will use examples from literature and history to answer the questions. You may incorporate other topics related to Utopia in your outline.
These questions could be useful as guidelines to follow while making your final presentation.

  • What is the definition of Utopia?
  • What are historical examples of attempts to create a Utopian society?
  • How do authors define, describe and explore the meaning of a Utopian society?
  • How has history influenced literature and vice versa regarding the concept of Utopia?
  • Based on history and literature, what are some concepts or ideas that are necessary for a functioning utopia?

Task #2 - Historical Investigation - Essay
Study 3 examples from history that illustrate society's search for a perfect society. Look under Utopia Resources to view links to sites to help you.

  • What were some of the examples from history to create a perfect society?
  • What philosophies did they incorporate?
  • How well did they work?
  • What were their weaknesses?
  • What did these societies have in common?
  • How were they different?

For each society studied, also include facts in your web to tell:

  • A summary of the historical facts of the Utopian experiment
  • The consequences of these historical examples
  • A comparison and contrast of the historical accounts of Utopian societies with one another
  • At least one quote from each of the historical accounts supporting your ideas

Be sure to include the resource for each statement (bubble on your Inspiration Web) you used from a source.

Task #3 - Literature Study - Essay
Read 4 pieces of literature relating to the concept of Utopia (At least two should be novels).Some possibilities are listed here.
For each piece of literature read, include the following in your essay:
  • A summary of the Utopian aspect of the book/story or the society in the book/story (How do characters strive to create a "perfect world"?)
  • The consequences of the search/creation of a Utopian environment
  • A comparison and contrast each book/story with at least one other selection read.
  • At least one quote from each book/story supporting your ideas

Task #4 & #5 - Apply Your Learning - Your Choice of Products
Students will choose two of the following projects or create their own project to complete, similar in scope.
Any project that will demonstrate what was learned over the semester may be chosen.

Task #6 - Lesson/Activity
Teach the class! Create an activity or lesson for our class to experience something related to Utopia. Ideas include leading a discussion, acting out a play or story, or playing a game/simulation. Come up with a new plan.

Task #7 - Synthesis/Written PPT Presentation
Pull together your learning to create an organized presentation that shares all of your work. Be sure to include:
  • A synopsis of the activities you did
  • Comparisons and contrasts between the Utopian examples in literature and in history
  • Your conclusions related to what motivates people to look for a perfect society
While the questions asked in Task #1 would be a good guideline for the organization of your presentation, but are not required to use them.

Oral Presentation
Present your work.

Utopia Resources
Finding Resources
Identify 2-3 short stories, poems and at least 1 Utopian novel that you will read as a part of your study.
Research historical utopian societies and compare their development and ideals with the literature read.
Understanding Utopia Resources
All of these sites are useful in
**Utopia and Utopian Fiction**- Cliffs Notes on Utopia - A great place to start!

Historical References
**Utopias in America**A great site with a lot of good information about multiple historical utopian experiments.
**Utopian Communities 1800-1890**
**Utopia: The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western World**– good for developing a more advanced understanding of the concept of utopia.
**Utopian Communities: European Roots, American Realities**
**The Principality of New Utopia**– good for a different way of looking at this concept.
**Society for Utopian Studies**

Literature Selections
Students will choose several selections to read from the following list of novels, short stories and verse:
Use Utopia teacher guide to choose books and learning activities.
Teen Utopia/Dystopia Fiction - Great resource of books
Best Dystopian Novels - most are Young Adult appropriate, but check your title with me before reading.

Novels/Longer Fiction:
The Giver - Lois Lowry
Utopia - Thomas More
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Lord of the Flies - William Golding ( Study Guide)
1984 - George Orwell
Anthem - Ayn Rand
Messenger - Lois Lowry
A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare

Shorter Fiction
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas - Ursula K. LeGuin
Trurl's Machine - Stanislaw Lem
The Veldt - Ray Bradbury (Copy and paste this into MS Word so you can read it!)
The Unicorn Man of India - Collected by James Cross Giblin
Barbie-Q - Sandra Cisneros
Fool's Paradise - Isaac B. Singer
The Censors - Luisa Valenzuela
The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg - Mark Twain
Happiness - Priscilla Leonard


Gifts - Shu Ting
Fairy Tales - Shu Ting
Harlem - Langston Hughes
My Heart Leaps Up - William Wordsworth
Daffodils - William Wordsworth
Spring, the Sweet Spring - Thomas Nashe
People Liked Him - Edgar Guest
If - Rudyard Kipling
here is the working link for the poem If
A Perfect Day - Carrie Jacobs Bond
Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night - Dylan Thomas