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Creating your own Concept of Setting: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Lesson Overview

Overview: In this lesson, students develop a sense of place by creating their own visual setting for the time period of the novel, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. Students analyze photos of homesteads of the 1880s to help visualize the time period of the novel. This will help them identify with characters in the story and bring a greater understanding of the time period.
Grade Range: 6-8

After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to:

  • Analyze a photo from the 1880s.
  • Identify differences between current and past homesteads.
  • Make connections between the lives of children in the 1880s and their own.
  • Create an accurate visual setting for the novel Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.
Time Required: One class period of 40 minutes.
Discipline/Subject: Language Arts and Social Studies
Topic/Subject: Literature
Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900



Illinois Learning Standards:  
  16.A.3b Make references about historical events and eras using historical maps and other historical sources.
16.C.2c (US) Describe significant economic events including industrialization, immigration, the Great Depression, the shift to a service economy and the rise of technology that influenced history from the industrial development era to the present
CC.6.R.H.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.



Handouts: Library of Congress items
Analysis Tools: Put Yourself in the Picture
Books: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
PowerPoint: PowerPoint slides are on page 3-4 on PDF
Library of Congress Items: Title of Source:Coburg, Nebraska Terr. & vic., 1884-85
  Title of Source:Wm. Sabine residence, Alamosa
  Title of Source:Powell House



1. Open PowerPoint to slide 1. Introduce novel and how you will read it as a class.


Change to slide 2. Introduce concept of setting-place and Time 1800s. Review settings of previous novels read. Ask, "Why is setting important in a novel?"
3. Change to slide 3 and 4. Discuss what was happening during that time period as noted on slide 4. Ask, "How can we visualize the setting of a story when it takes place so far in the past?" Review how we can use
primary documents to learn about the past.
4. Change to slide 5. Show pictures from 1880s in PowerPoint. Explain to students that they are going to analyze one of the photos to try to get a better understanding of the 1880s. This will assist them in visualize the setting while reading the novel.
5. Change to slides 6 and 7. Introduce Put Yourself in the Picture Analysis Tool. Teacher needs to put students in groups of four (about six groups). Hand each group a different photo, Coburg, Nebraska Terr. &
vinc., 18884-85
Wm. Sabine residence, Alamosa or Powell House and photo analysis tool. Two groups will get the same picture but may analyze differently. Advise students to spend a lot of time analyzing their photo to help them actually feel like they are "in" the photo.
6. Monitor student groups as students analyze photo. Give students 5-10 minutes to finish their responses.
7. Change to slide 8. Have groups who analyzed that photo compare results as a whole group students share responses. Do the same with slides 9 and 10.
8. Change to slide 11. Draw conclusions as a whole group as to what it was like to live in the 1880s. Note major themes students noticed and differences between the pictures. List responses on the board.
9. Change back to slides 8-10. Discuss the differences between the homes of rich and poor people in the 1880s.
10. Further introduce the novel explaining how there will be characters who live in places like the photos we just analyzed.
11.  Start reading the novel.



Students will be evaluated informally by their interaction in the photo analysis activity. References will be made back to the activity throughout the unit as the novel progresses.

This activity crosses over into the Social Studies curriculum. It can be extended upon during discussion of the Industrial Revolution. It can also connect to other novels taught throughout the year.

Author Credits:
Monroe Elementary