The Hunger Games Lesson Plan - Lesson Plan

eNotes Lesson Plan

Introductory Lecture and Objectives

The Hunger Games eNotes Lesson Plan content

Introductory Lecture

The Hunger Games, a young adult book published in 2008, focuses on the experiences of 16-year-old heroine Katniss Everdeen as she faces death in a gladiatorial arena in the futuristic country of Panem. Many of the dystopian novel’s central themes revolve around the conflict between survival and humanity and reveal how freedom of choice offers the possibility of defiance within a cruel and totalitarian regime. Of particular note is the way the author, Suzanne Collins, gives razor-sharp focus to the invasive and corrupting qualities of reality television and technology. Although it is a work of fiction, the novel mirrors our own society in a way that is fascinating and disturbing. 

The Hunger Games is the first book in Collins’s trilogy that follows Everdeen in her struggles to fight for freedom in a country ruled by a tyrannical government. (2009’s Catching Fire and 2010’s Mockingjay complete the triology.) Panem has arisen from the ashes of a post-apocalyptic North America destroyed by floods and other natural disasters. The country is divided into poor districts that serve and are tightly controlled by a totalitarian government seated in the wealthy, technology-centered Capitol. The Hunger Games, deadly gladiatorial contests, are mandated by the government as a means of oppressing the residents of the districts: Each year, two children from each district are selected as tributes to enter an arena and fight to the death, reminding the districts of the Capitol’s power and control over their lives. 

Collins has said that the book was partly inspired by channel surfing on television. While flipping between a program with footage from the invasion of Iraq and a program depicting contestants in a TV reality show, she found the two concepts begin to “blur in this very unsettling way.” Other touchstones Collins relied upon in creating the book include the Greek myth of Theseus, a story that informs Katniss’s character, and the Roman gladiatorial games, which clearly provided a foundation for the novel’s Hunger Games. 

Written in a simple style that employs strong, visceral language and nearly constant suspense, The Hunger Games has become immensely popular. The film version of the novel, which was released in 2011, was also a huge success and only increased the book’s visibility and notoriety. Many critics point out that the novel’s popularity results in part from the themes Collins develops, themes that resonate with modern teenagers, including the idea of the “pack mentality” with the strong preying upon the weak and the notion that style and appearance can trump substance. Also, despite the futuristic setting, the struggles of the teenage characters are depicted realistically. Many of the decisions they must make are morally complex, requiring the ability to perceive how forces beyond themselves attempt to manipulate them. 

Although this dystopian novel is filled with dark passages and scenes of terrible violence, ultimately it offers a message of hope through its strong themes of friendship, compassion, and unity. The Hunger Games is a compelling and thought-provoking introduction to the genre of dystopian novels for young adult readers. 

By the end of the unit the student will be able to: 

1. Reference themes, plot points, and characters in the novel in discussing how The Hunger Games explores freedom of choice as a means of resistance in a society that dehumanizes individuals. 

2. Explain how and why the totalitarian regime in the Capitol evolved in this society and identify the means by which it creates and maintains control of the districts. 

3. Identify the dystopian elements throughout the novel; in particular, discuss how the Capitol’s totalitarian government works to control language, law, and even nature. 

4. Explore the Capitol’s relationship with District 12 and discuss the effects of the social inequality it creates. 

5. Compare the way media control and manipulation function in our society with how they function in the novel and investigate how media affects the quality of life in each society. 

6. Discuss how the novel explores themes of love, friendship, and unity, offering specific examples from the novel. 

7. Investigate the actions of those who are oppressed by a culture of fear and live in a society with cruel, inhumane laws. Which of their actions does the novel appear to condone? 

8. Discuss the connection in the novel between deprivation and survival and explain how learning survival skills can build qualities such as strength and dignity. 

9. Describe the setting in the arena and the ways in which the Gamemakers use both physical and psychological tools to control the tributes and orchestrate the Games. 

10. Explore the ways the author inverts the ideas of civilization and savagery and for what purpose.

Instructional Focus: Teaching With an eNotes Lesson Plan

This eNotes lesson plan is designed so that it may be used in numerous ways to accommodate ESL students and to differentiate instruction in the classroom. 

Student Lesson Guide 

• The Lesson Guide is organized for a chapter-by-chapter study of the book. Lesson Guide pages may be assigned individually and completed at a student’s own pace. 

• Lesson Guide pages may be used as pre-reading activities to preview for students the vocabulary words they will encounter in reading each chapter and to acquaint them generally with the chapter’s content. 

• Before Lesson Guide pages are assigned, questions may be selected from them to use as short quizzes to assess reading comprehension. 

• Lesson Guide vocabulary lists include words from the book that vary in difficulty. 

1. The vocabulary lists for each chapter are sufficiently comprehensive so that shorter lists of vocabulary words can be constructed from them. 

2. Working from the lesson plan’s chapter vocabulary lists, the teacher also may construct vocabulary studies for individual students, choosing specific words from each chapter that are most appropriate for them. 

Discussion Questions 

The discussion questions vary in degree of difficulty. 

1. Some questions require higher levels of critical thinking; others engage students with less challenging inquiry. 

2. Individual discussion questions may be assigned to students working in pairs or in small study groups; their contributions may then be added to a whole-class discussion. 

Multiple-Choice/Essay Test 

Test questions also vary in degree of difficulty. 

1. Some multiple-choice questions address the factual content of the book; others require students to employ critical thinking skills, such as analyzing; comparing...

(The entire section is 514 words.)

Essay and Discussion Questions

1. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from Katniss’s point of view? How would it differ if told from the point of view of Cato or another strong, well-trained tribute from a wealthier district? How would the story change if it were told from Peeta’s point of view? 

2. What are the similarities and differences between the way televised entertainment is presented in the book and the way it exists in our society? 

3. Consider the most common gender stereotypes about who’s capable of killing and protecting. Do they apply in this book? Why or why not? 

4. Interpret the author’s choice of the mockingjay as an important symbol in the novel. What does it symbolize, and why is that important? 

5. Explore Katniss’s ambivalent feelings for Gale and Peeta and why her character might have trouble forging close relationships. 

6. Explain how the powerlessness of the people in the poorer districts changes in the novel. How does the inequality and hopelessness of their plight seem different at the beginning of the book and at the end? Use examples from the novel in your discussion. 

7. Discuss how the society of Panem is both similar to and different from our own, particularly as regards class and social inequality. 

8. Explain the methods the Capitol employs to threaten and destabilize the populations in the districts. How does controlling the populations benefit the government? How does government control relate to the book’s title? 

9. Examine the theme of the natural world. What does nature represent? How does the oppressive regime in the Capitol attempt to corrupt and manipulate nature? Does it succeed, and if so, to what extent? 

10. Explain the sacrifice, selflessness, compassion, and empathy demonstrated by Katniss and Peeta, and give examples of how the pair displayed these traits. How does their empathy affect the outcome of the Games for them, the citizens of the Capitol, and the other districts? 

11. Analyze the relationships the Capitol has with Districts 11 and 12 and Districts 1 and 2. What are the effects of the social inequality created by the relationships? 

12. Discuss The Hunger Games as a “dystopian” novel, one that critiques the notion of what makes an “ideal” society by depicting instead a society characterized by a sense of isolation, powerlessness, and fear. Given the bleakness associated with this type of novel, discuss the overall feeling generated by The Hunger Games. Do you feel its themes are bleak or hopeful? Why or why not?

Chapter 1


affected: not genuine or natural 

apothecary: a person who prepares and sells medicines 

arena: the specified area in which the tributes participate in the Hunger Games 

black market: an underground economy that illegally sells and trades goods 

Capitol: the central city of Panem that controls the 12 districts 

cinder: ash 

claustrophobic: uncomfortable in or afraid of small contained spaces 

cocooned: completely wrapped within some covering (often fabric or clothes) 

cumulative: increasing or increased by successive additions 

Dark Days: a time when the districts rebelled against the Capitol 

delicacies: food dishes that are...

(The entire section is 2045 words.)

Chapter 2


blind: a shelter for hunters that’s designed to reduce the chance of detection 

condone: to accept behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive 

dissent: a sentiment or philosophy of nonagreement or opposition to a prevailing idea or regime, such as a government’s policies 

exposure: lack of protection from severe weather 

luscious: juicy, delicious 

mesmerized: fascinated, captivated 

plaited: braided 

plummets: falls 

predicament: an unpleasant or difficult situation 

protocol: a code prescribing strict adherence to correct etiquette and rules 

reeks: strong or disagreeable fumes or odors 


(The entire section is 652 words.)

Chapter 3


abandonment: renunciation of protection, support, or help 

Appalachia: the region in the eastern United States, comprising the Appalachian Mountains, that stretches roughly from southern New York state to central Alabama; known for coal mining 

bludgeon: to beat with extreme force 

conceivably: possibly 

concoction: a combination of various ingredients 

decrepit: worn out or ruined because of age or neglect 

enunciate: clearly pronounce 

evasive: dishonest or indirect 

homing: an adjective used to describe birds that are trained to return home 

immobilizing: causing an inability to move 

insurmountable: impossible to...

(The entire section is 800 words.)

Chapter 4


arrowheads: rocks in the shape of arrows 

battered: beaten, injured 

carcass: dead body of an animal 

Cornucopia: a large horn-shaped structure in the Hunger Games arena that’s full of provisions such as goods and weapons needed by tributes 

deteriorated: greatly decreased in quality; to have fallen apart 

elaborate: intricate 

game: wild animals hunted for sport or food 

gorged: consumed greedily 

grandeur: magnificence, grandness 

katniss: a type of edible water plant 

oblivion: a state of lacking conscious knowledge or awareness 

obscenities: vulgar or rude speech; curse words 

pokeweed: an American herb with...

(The entire section is 753 words.)

Chapter 5


affectations: acts that display an attitude or mode of behavior not natural to oneself or not genuinely felt 

circulation: movement of the blood through the body caused by the heart pumping blood 

clipped: short, abrupt 

concession: an admission, an acknowledgment 

demeanor: behavior, attitude, conduct 

despicable: horrible, shameful 

engulfed: enclosed; overwhelmed 

flamboyant: showy and flashy 

giddy: joyfully elated 

grotesque: distorted in a way that is frightening or unnatural 

petrified: terrified; paralyzed by fright 

prestigious: holding a commanding position; held in high honor or standing 

swathe: to...

(The entire section is 705 words.)

Chapter 6


advantage: a factor or circumstance of benefit to its possessor 

adversaries: enemies; opponents 

Avox: a traitor to the Capitol whose tongue has been cut out and who is forced to be a servant 

barbarism: mode of behavior that is cruel and often violent 

chaperoned: to be in the presence of someone who is watching you to make sure you act properly 

deftly: skillfully 

graphite: a soft black and lustrous form of carbon that conducts electricity and is used in lead pencils, among other things 

hovercraft: a type of flying vehicle 

maimed: injured, disfigured 

mutilate: to injure or disfigure 

reservations: misgivings, doubts 


(The entire section is 887 words.)

Chapter 7


amiable: friendly 

animate: to enliven, to make lifelike 

assent: to agree 

barter: to trade 

brutality: extreme violence 

burgundy: a reddish-purple color 

camouflage: concealment by means of disguise 

Career tributes: tributes from Districts 1 and 2 who have spent their entire lives training to compete in the Hunger Games 

combative: aggressive; eager to fight 

contempt: scorn 

deluged: overwhelmed or overrun 

demean: to insult 

edible: suitable for consumption 

emaciated: very thin; physically wasted 

Gamemakers: people from the Capitol in charge of designing and running the Games 


(The entire section is 928 words.)

Chapter 8


arduous: difficult, hard 

burlap: a strong, rough fabric often used for making bags 

confidant: one to whom secrets are entrusted 

gaping: huge, wide open 

grudgingly: reluctantly, without enthusiasm 

guffaws: loud laughs 

irredeemably: beyond remedy or repair; hopelessly 

leniency: mercy 

mutual: shared in common 

provoked: stirred up 

pungent: strong, overpowering 

reprieved: excused, cancelled, or postponed 

sidestep: to avoid 

solitary: alone; without companions 

spoils: plunder taken from an enemy in war 

twitch-up snares: snares used to catch victims and hang them from trees 


(The entire section is 688 words.)

Chapter 9


absorbent: capable of soaking up liquid 

aggravating: irritating, annoying 

aloof: standoffish, unfriendly 

anecdote: a brief story 

banal: lacking originality, freshness, or novelty 

banter: to speak in a witty or teasing manner 

eccentric: strange or unusual (used often in regard to personal behavior) 

elusive: mysterious; hard to find or capture 

get-go: the beginning 

gossamer: delicate, light 

handiwork: work done personally 

intrigued: interested, curious 

longevity: endurance, durability 

ludicrous: outrageous, unbelievable 

lush: lavish 

mystified: bewildered, confused,...

(The entire section is 811 words.)

Chapter 10


aghast: struck with terror, amazement, or horror 

barren: desolate; unfruitful 

bluff: to impress, deter, or intimidate by a false display of confidence 

breached: broken through, opened 

catacombs: underground passageways; a subterranean cemetery 

hysteria: emotional panic, frenzy 

patronizing: adopting an air of condescension; treating haughtily 

ruminating: pondering, thinking over 

Stockyard: the place where the tributes are prepared to go into the arena 

syringe: a medical device used to inject or withdraw fluids 

urn: a large vase 

winning: charming, likable 

Study Questions


(The entire section is 946 words.)

Chapter 11


adrenaline: a hormone in the body that regulates heart rate 

directive: command, instruction 

intermixed: combined, blended together 

invaluable: priceless 

iodine: a chemical element normally used for medical and cleaning purposes 

rejuvenating: refreshing, renewing 

serrated: saw-toothed or jagged 

sparse: consisting of few and scattered elements; not thickly grown or settled 

Study Questions

1. What is the Cornucopia? In what way is it ironic? 

The Cornucopia is the giant golden horn at the center of the arena that contains everything, such as food and weapons, tributes might use to help them...

(The entire section is 836 words.)

Chapter 12


abstain: to refrain deliberately 

ails: troubles, bothers 

bewilderment: confusion, puzzlement 

charred: burned 

dehydrate: to lose water or bodily fluids 

fashion: to put together; to create; to make 

fatigue: tiredness, exhaustion 

foliage: leaves 

forthcoming: about to appear or to be produced or made available 

hoist: to raise, to lift 

imprudent: foolish, irresponsible 

innards: the internal organs of a human being or animal 

lure: temptation 

purifying: removing undesirable elements 

scarcity: shortage, lack 

searing: very hot; marked by extreme intensity, harshness, or emotional...

(The entire section is 453 words.)

Chapter 13


abate: to slow down, to stop 

apace: quickly, rapidly 

bravado: boldness, boasting 

circuitous: indirect, twisting, winding 

confronting: facing, dealing with 

consolation: comfort 

conspiratorially: with a secretive manner 

crevice: a crack, a gap 

fiend: an evil, cruel person 

inferno: an intense fire; a conflagration 

instincts: natural or inherent aptitudes, impulses, or capacities 

intact: whole 

manipulate: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means, especially to one’s own advantage 

materialize: appear in bodily or physical form; to appear especially suddenly 


(The entire section is 646 words.)

Chapter 14


befuddled: confused 

cinch: an easy feat 

disintegrates: falls apart 

eradicated: eliminated, destroyed 

evade: to avoid 

hyperventilating: breathing faster or deeper than normal; overbreathing 

inflamed: swollen 

land mines: explosive charges usually placed just below the surface of the ground (designed to explode under the weight of vehicles or people) 

persevere: to continue, to endure 

precariously: dangerously, riskily 

putrid: rotten, decaying 

sated: satisfied 

sedated: drugged with a sedative; made unresponsive, sluggish, or sleepy 

strategically: with a defined purpose 

tracker jackers:...

(The entire section is 602 words.)

Chapter 15


ally: to unite or to form a connection or relationship between 

anoint: to smear or rub with an oily substance 

contend: to struggle, to strive or to vie against difficulties 

groosling: a type of wild bird found in the Hunger Games arena and some districts of Panem 

hallucination: a perception of objects with no reality, usually arising from a disorder of the nervous system or in response to drugs 

haven: a safe place 

honeysuckle: a type of shrub with bright, sweet-smelling flowers 

leaching: sucking out 

manifest: become visible 

nectar: juice from a flower or plant 

noxious: physically harmful or destructive to living...

(The entire section is 588 words.)

Chapter 16


accomplice: a partner, an ally 

copse: a small group of trees that have grown together 

dexterity: mental or physical skill or quickness 

disadvantage: weakness 

domineering: controlling, overbearing 

meticulous: marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details 

misgivings: doubts 

momentum: a property of a moving body that determines the length of time required to bring it to rest when under the action of a constant force 

mulling: considering, thinking over 

needling: annoying, irritating 

obliging: helpful, cooperative 

ordeal: a trial, a test 

perplexing: confusing 


(The entire section is 587 words.)

Chapter 17


acrid: harsh smelling 

decadent: luxurious 

proximity: nearness, closeness 

roosting: perching in a tree 

salvage: to save; to find usable things in a pile of wreckage 

tantrum: a fit of bad temper 

tinder: a flammable substance adaptable to use as kindling to start a fire 

undetectable: completely concealed 

Study Questions

1. Why can’t Katniss escape quickly after the explosion? In the aftermath of the explosion, what is particularly frightening to her, and why is it so fearful? 

Katniss feels very dizzy, perhaps from a head injury; she can’t seem to move. She also can’t hear, and one of her...

(The entire section is 381 words.)

Chapter 18


audible: able to be heard 

capacity: ability 

consolidate: combine 

despondency: hopelessness 

impotence: the inability to take action or show strength 

inducement: incentive, a reason to do something 

lethargy: weariness, exhaustion, lack of energy 

replenish: to fill up again; to restock 

statistics: a branch of mathematics dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of masses of numerical data 

Study Questions

1. Who attacks Rue, and what is the result? 

The boy tribute from District 1 spears Rue in the stomach after she becomes entangled in a...

(The entire section is 777 words.)

Chapter 19


alleviate: to ease, to lessen, to lighten 

assailants: attackers 

caliber: the quality of someone’s character or the level of someone’s ability 

contagion: the transmission of a disease from one person to another by close contact, or a disease spread in such a way 

gash: a long deep slash, cut, or wound 

incapacitated: deprived of natural power; disabled 

jeopardize: to put at risk 

levity: lightheartedness, cheerfulness 

loathe: hate 

pariahs: individuals who are despised or rejected by a group 

peruse: to read, to examine, to inspect 

ruse: a wily subterfuge; a clever action intended to deceive someone 


(The entire section is 655 words.)

Chapter 20


buck: a male deer or antelope 

chives: an edible plant related to the onion 

coaxing: persuading 

doe: a female deer 

drastic: extreme, radical 

exasperation: frustration, annoyance 

gaggle: a group 

idly: lazily 

incoherence: the quality of lacking order, continuity, or relevance 

mauled: clawed or bitten 

staged: intended for an audience 

stalemate: a deadlock 

tethered: tied to 

tuft: a small cluster of plants or hair 

yearling: an animal that is one year old or in the second year of its life 

Study Questions

1. For Katniss, what are the disadvantages of...

(The entire section is 758 words.)

Chapter 21


asset: something useful or valuable 

defiance: to act with resistance; to refuse to obey 

emanating: coming out from a source 

irreparable: beyond repair 

ominous: threatening 

prearranged: planned beforehand 

prolong: to lengthen in time 

sadistic: to delight in excessive cruelty 

savor: to enjoy, to relish 

vicinity: proximity; a surrounding area 

Study Questions

1. During the cold night before the dinner party as she thinks about her family and friends, what does Katniss envision unfolding back in District 12? 

She pictures everyone in District 12 in high spirits, cheering her and...

(The entire section is 647 words.)

Chapter 22


exorbitant: exceeding customary or appropriate limits 

fabricated: invented, created 

irreverent: lacking proper respect or seriousness 

rabid: extremely violent; furious 

reluctance: the quality or state of feeling aversion, hesitation, or unwillingness 

riveting: fascinating 

simultaneously: at the same time 

sinister: evil, menacing 

tainted: stained, infected 

tirades: a protracted speech usually marked by intemperate, vituperative, or harshly censorious language 

Study Questions

1. Dreams are a recurring motif in the novel. Explain how Katniss’s dreaming is ironic. What are two examples of...

(The entire section is 644 words.)

Chapter 23

eerie: mysterious, strange, and frightening 

extricating: freeing or removing from an entanglement or difficulty 

nightlock: a type of poisonous berry that grows wild in the woods outside District 12 and is also present in the arena 

noncommittal: guarded, evasive 

peevishly: fretfully 

preoccupation: a worry or concern 

relent: to give in, to cease resistance 

repellent: disgusting, revolting 

residual: an internal aftereffect of experience or activity that influences later behavior 

respite: an interval of rest or relief 

Victor’s Village: a neighborhood of upscale homes built in each district where victors go to live after they win the Hunger...

(The entire section is 896 words.)

Chapter 24


dissonant: jarringly discordant; incongruous 

enraged: furious, filled with anger 

mesmerized: enthralled, fascinated 

outfoxed: outsmarted 

unhinged: mentally deranged 

Study Questions

1. Do Peeta and Katniss discard the poisonous berries? Why or why not? 

Peeta is about to throw them away, but Katniss has the idea of putting a few berries into a leather pouch to take with them. Since the berries fooled Foxface, she reasons, they might fool Cato. 

2. What is Katniss’s opinion of Cato as an adversary? Describe at least one way in which she thinks the two of them are similar. 


(The entire section is 441 words.)

Chapter 25


asphyxiation: death caused by inadequate oxygen supply or interruption of breathing 

callously: heartlessly, coldly 

climax: the point of highest dramatic tension or a major turning point in the action, as of a play 

devised: planned, plotted 

dwindling: decreasing 

hindquarters: the back legs of an animal 

revision: alteration 

revoked: cancelled, withdrawn 

tourniquet: a bandage tied tightly to stop or slow bleeding from a wound 

unintelligible: impossible to understand 

Study Questions

1. Where do the tributes retreat to that offers a bit of safety at the start of the chapter? 


(The entire section is 912 words.)

Chapter 26


accumulated: collected, gathered 

antiseptic: scrupulously clean; free from contamination 

benign: of gentle disposition; gracious 

compromise: settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions 

contrived: forced, false 

feral: wild 

garish: tasteless, gaudy 

indeterminate: unknown 

orchestrated: arranged to achieve a desired effect 

unassuming: modest 

Study Questions

1. What disorients Katniss when she and Peeta are brought onto the hovercraft? 

After experiencing so many traumas in the arena, Katniss imagines the doctors who take Peeta away are...

(The entire section is 712 words.)

Chapter 27


crucial: decisive or critical; of great importance 

disproportionate: too large or too small in comparison with something else 

feat: a deed notable especially for courage; an act or product of skill, endurance, or ingenuity 

flaunted: paraded or displayed ostentatiously 

insidious: treacherous, having a gradual and cumulative effect 

instigator: one who provokes, goads, or urges on 

keen: intense, strong 

misguided: led or prompted by wrong or inappropriate motives or ideals 

omit: to leave out 

palpable: capable of being touched or felt; tangible 

Study Questions

1. At the beginning of the...

(The entire section is 1193 words.)

Multiple-Choice Test and Answer Key

1. At what age are children first included in the reaping for the Hunger Games? 

A. 13 

B. 10 

C. 8 

D. 11 

E. 12 

2. What word does Katniss say is synonymous with “tribute” in District 12? 

A. survivor 

B. hunger 

C. corpse 

D. weakling 

E. coal miner 

3. Panem is a country located in a post-apocalyptic North America. To what part of North America does District 12 most closely correspond? 

A. the Rocky Mountains 

B. Appalachia 

C. the...

(The entire section is 930 words.)

Essay Exam Questions With Answers

1. Describe how exercising the freedom of choice and acting independently are presented as forms of resistance in the novel. Also, discuss the author’s general view regarding the most effective way to resist a cruel and oppressive government. Support your essay with specific evidence from the text. 

The author establishes immediately that the society in the novel is one in which freedom of choice is limited by cruel, oppressive laws. The people of District 12 live within a tightly restricted world; even something as essential as hunting for food is forbidden, and as a result, many people starve to death. Katniss, however, chooses to break the law to meet the responsibility she feels for feeding her family; Gale...

(The entire section is 3276 words.)