Introducing Lord of the Flies

Lord of the Flies introduction activity
One of my favorite novels to teach is Lord of the Flies because of how it exposes the raw brutality of humanity. In the very beginning the boys do their best to create and maintain civility, but as the novel progresses the boys slowly degenerate into savages.

To help my students understand this concept as it plays out in the novel, I have them complete a scenario-based introduction activity that naturally pits the students against each other. In some of my previous classes, students have either alluded to or directly stated exactly what happens in the book just by completing this introduction.

Lord of the Flies introduction activity
To begin, I inform the students that they are stranded on a tropical island that seems to be deserted and have them record their initial thoughts. I slowly reveal additional information to my students about their predicament and ask them to record their thoughts along the way. For example, I reveal that there are no adults and that they are accompanied by their classmates.

With the opening of this scenario, I like to internally classify my students as either Ralphs or Piggys. Some will be elated to be on the island sans adults, while others will begin to think about various provisions they may need in order to survive. It is very interesting to watch this introductory activity unfold in the classroom because some classes actually play out the novel with this scenario. They are able to predict the boys’ demise and hostility to one another.

As the activity progresses, I have students list their top three priorities and vote for a leader of the island. Selecting what the class should do first and electing a leader to call the shots will naturally begin to divide the students into groups. I use this division to help show what will happen in the novel, and I even encourage a little unstructured debating as to what the class should do first and why.

This introduction can take as little as half a class period, or fill it entirely. It all depends on how much student participation you encourage. Students love this day in my classroom, and they leave the class excited to read the book. As we read the book in class, I will point out similarities from this activity to what the boys experience during their plight on the island. The students are amazed to see just how parallel the similarities are, and the best part of this is that they maintain their engagement with the novel.

You can download this introduction to your Google Drive HERE!

Lord of the Flies Teaching Resources: