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15 To Kill a Mockingbird Project Ideas

    To Kill a Mockingbird Project ideas creative

    Including projects in your novel unit allows students to extend understanding, build skills, and engage their talents.  Here are 15 To Kill a Mockingbird project ideas.  I have organized the menu into final projects and enrichment projects.

    • 6 To Kill a Mockingbird final projects
    • 9 To Kill a Mockingbird enrichment projects
    • 23 To Kill a Mockingbird writing prompts

    To Kill a Mockingbird Final Projects (6)

    Beyond the Mockingbird: Symbol Presentations

    Harper Lee uses symbols like the mockingbird to develop her themes.  Choose one symbolic element from  To Kill a Mockingbird in order to perform analysis and present your findings to the class. Explain how Lee attaches meaning to the symbol and how the symbol develops a theme.

    To Kill a Mockingbird project ideas menu

    Primary Source Gallery

    Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird during the Civil Rights Movement, but her story takes place decades earlier.  To understand the historical context of To Kill a Mockingbird, one must think about America in the 1930s and in the 1950s-1960s. Choose a topic related to the historical context of the novel and curate a gallery of primary sources.

    To Kill a Mocking history project

    Is To Kill a Mockingbird Overrated?  (debate)

    Many consider To Kill a Mockingbird a timeless classic with messages that resonate today. For others, To Kill a Mockingbird is overrated, outdated, wrong-headed, or even harmful.

    Resolved: To Kill a Mockingbird should not be required reading in schools.

    Work with your debate team to argue whether the novel should be included in the curriculum.  Think about student engagement, themes, point of view, controversy, and literary merit.

    Click to access Team-Debate-Handout-General.pdf

    It’s Complicated (class display)

    I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.

    I said if he wanted to take a broad view of the thing, it really began with Andrew Jackson.”

    To Kill a Mockingbird’s structure is complex as there are parallel main plots and episodic subplots. There are the main plots (“Meeting Boo Radley” and “Tom Robinson’s Trial”) and many plots along the way. 

    We will work in groups to diagram specific plots.  Then we will work as a class to create a massive diagram of how the plots come together.

    • “Why Jem’s Arms Are Uneven” or “Growing Up in Maycomb”
    • “The Trial of Tom Robinson”
    • “The Quest to Meet Boo Radley”
    • “An Unusual Boy” or “Young Boo Radley”
    • “The Failed Lynching”
    • “Mrs. Dubose’s flowers”
    • “The Return of One-shot Finch”
    • “What Happened that Day” or “Tom Robinson’s Testimony”
    • “Jem Loses His Pants”
    • “Aunt Alexandra Comes to Stay”
    • “Miss Caroline’s Bad Day”
    • “Visiting Calpurnia’s Church”
    • “Dill Harris Runs Away”
    • “The Confessions of Dolphus Raymond” or “The Drunk Who Didn’t Drink”
    • “Scout’s Big Scene” or “On Being a Bad Ham”
    • “Uncle Jack Learns a Lesson”
    • “The Morphodite” or “Building a Snowman”
    • “Scout Learns about School”

    Themes of Mockingbird Presentation

    One of the reasons many consider To Kill a Mockingbird a masterpiece is because Lee communicates several powerful themes.  She develops the themes artfully and weaves them into a coherent whole.

    Choose a theme subject from the list and create a presentation on how Lee develops a theme. Some of the themes are obvious and others are subtle. Your presentation should identify a theme, analyze its development, and explain connections to other elements (including other themes).

    Novel themes chart

    Truth and Fiction (research project)

    Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird during the Civil Rights Movement, but her story takes place decades earlier. Aspects of the fiction resemble real-life events of the Jim Crow Era.

    Research events and realities from the segregation era and compare what you learn with the fictional events described in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Consider important court cases, laws, crimes, and social norms.  Include evidence from your research and examples from the novel in your comparison.

    To Kill a Mockingbird Projects and Assignments COVER - Edited

    To Kill a Mockingbird Enrichment Projects (9)

    To Kill a Monologue

    In this To Kill a Mockingbird project, students write a theatrical monologue for one of the characters.  The goals focus on characterization, character motivation, and point of view.

    To Kill a Mockingbird Monologue handout

    Free Robinson Campaign

    Imagine that Tom Robinson is alive and in prison.  Create a media campaign to fight for his freedom.

    Use various persuasive methods and media to convince leaders and/or the public that justice must be served. You may use biased / unfair persuasive methods. Make your approach appropriate for the task and audience.

    Media campaign options list

    TKM Artwork (visual exhibit)

    Create an original work of visual art (sketch, collage, graphic design, painting, sculpture, etc.) inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird.  Choose one or more elements from the novel (a theme, image, symbol, allusion, character, mood, or event) to explore in your composition.  Include an explanation of your creative choices.

    You will be graded on your ideas and explanations (not your artistic abilities).  Make sure to compare your work to the original novel and use precise language and terminology.

    Art terms and considerations:

    • Subject (what is being portrayed)
    • Medium (materials and techniques)
    • Emphasis (what aspects are the main foci and how a viewer knows)
    • Tone (the artist’s attitude toward the subject) 
    • Mood (the feeling created for the viewer)
    • Feeling or theme (what the artist wants to communicate)
    • Style (the techniques the artist uses to communicate)
    • More visual arts terms: line, shape, value, motion, texture, space, scale, balance, contrast, etc.

    One Form of Courage (gallery)

    “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”

    Each group will create a poster to explain one form of courage. The viewer should be able to recognize a clear topic and connect the information. You will be assessed on how well you organize your ideas into a clear and coherent poster.

    You must create a small rough draft of your poster to demonstrate organization.

    Poster must-haves:

    • Title (type of courage)
    • Visuals (image, symbols, connection lines, etc.)
    • Headings
    • Sub-topics with supporting ideas and details

    Sub-topic ideas and details

    • Case study (example of this courage from history or real life)
    • Individual (a person who demonstrates this form of courage)
    • Hypothetical example (an imagined situation)
    • Why it is courageous
    • Insightful quote
    • Application (how others might show this type of courage in their lives)

    Hypocrites! (group skit)

    “There was something about them, no matter how much they cussed and drank and gambled and chewed; no matter how undelectable they were, there was something about them that I instinctively liked… they weren’t-‘Hypocrites, Mrs. Perkins, born hypocrites,’ Mrs. Merriweather was saying.” 

    Hypocrisy is when one claims to have moral standards that they do not actually follow (e.g. a gossip who claims to despise gossip). Describe a real example from life.

    We will work in cooperative groups to demonstrate hypocrisy in the form of a skit. For example, imagine a doctor who lectures on exercise but fails to do any.

    Simple Skit Script HANDOUT

    DOWNLOAD ALL THE LESSONS AND MATERIALS:To Kill a Mockingbird Unit and Teacher Guide COVER

    Atticus’ Guide to Parenting (pamphlet)

    Work in small groups and use textual evidence to create a pamphlet entitled “Atticus’ Guide to Parenting”. The pamphlet should be an enumerated (numbered) list, and each item on the list should have textual evidence from To Kill a Mockingbird to illustrate the idea.

    Maycomb on Trial (mock trial)

    This To Kill a Mockingbird project idea asks students to act as lawyers in prosecuting the people of Maycomb that conspired to convict an innocent man, Tom Robinson.

    Imagine that you are part of a team investigating the miscarriage of justice showed in the novel.  As a member of the prosecution, you will question one of the accused parties and compose a closing argument on their culpability (guilt).

    You may be surprised to see Atticus on the list, but remember that he only called one witness in the trial.

    • Bob Ewell
    • Mayella Ewell
    • Mr. Gilmer
    • Judge Taylor
    • The Jury
    • Sheriff Heck Tate
    • Atticus Finch
    • The public

    Dialect in Dialogue (skit)

    Work in a small group to create a skit that demonstrates one or more examples of dialect.  For example, you might have someone from Maycomb, Alabama arguing with someone from our city. Remember that dialect includes the accent (pronunciation) but it is also about vocabulary, syntax, usage, and pronunciation. (E.g., English people say “biscuits” rather than “cookies” and “crisps” rather than “chips.”)

    Visual Symbols vs. Literary Symbols

    Work in small groups to create symbol posters.  Present one visual symbol and one literary symbol.  The literary symbol can be from a book, poem, song, short story, comic book, film, or TV show.  Write a brief analysis of both symbols and be ready to present. Remember that literary symbols often have more than one meaning.

    Literary symbols in pop culture:

    • The bat in Batman Begins represents the fear Bruce Wayne wants to instill but also (and secretly) his own trauma and fear.  It represents his mastery over his fears. Furthermore, bats are mysterious, predatory, nocturnal, and swift.
    • The Scarlet Carson rose in V for Vendetta represents the protagonist’s slowly cultivated revenge, his memories of beauty, and even his mercy.
    • In the film Shrek, the title character compares himself to an onion.  He wants others to think about his layers, but he also needs to think about the complexities of others, like Fiona.  
    • The mockingjay in The Hunger Games represents the power of the oppressors, the fragility of the rebellion, and the heroine herself.  The mockingjay is a creation of the government that the resistance uses against them. Similarly, the government has inadvertently created the heroine that will defeat them.
    • The rose in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is full of complex meanings (regret, love, mortality, etc.)

    Related Post: 23 To Kill a Mockingbird Writing Prompts: Creative, Persuasive, and Informative

    Thanks for checking out To Kill a Mockingbird Project Ideas.

    I hope you have found an idea that you can use in your teaching.

    All of these To Kill a Mockingbird final projects and learning extensions come from the To Kill a Mockingbird Unit and Teacher Guide. The complete resource is appropriate for high school and includes pre-reading activities, reading checks, standards-based lessons, assignment pages, exam banks, and more.

    Featured image by Celia Looney