Are you looking for activities for The Great Gatsby? Are you wanting to add to an established curriculum or are you starting from scratch? Either way, we’ve got you.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of those American classics that features in curriculums the world over.
This post will help you out if you’re teaching The Great Gatsby by showing you pre-reading, while-reading, after-reading, and whole-unit bundles of activities for the novel.
We\’ll look at fun activities for The Great Gatsby, as well as other The Great Gatsby teaching resources.
Pre-reading activities for The Great Gatsby
1. The Roaring 20s learning stations
A great way to help your students understand the historical context for Gatsby is by using these six learning stations by Write On with Miss G.
You can either use all of the stations, or if time is short, you pick and choose which stations are best suited to your class. You can assign parts digitally for homework.
Each station contains a link to an informational text and a few questions. Topics covered include:
- disillusionment and the Lost Generation
- economy and consumerism
- prohibition and organized crime
- the changing role of women
- the jazz age
2. The Great Gatsby gallery walk pre-reading stations
If your students are more visual, you might like this gallery walk by Mondays Made Easy.
You can use it both in-class or through distance learning with Google Classroom.
In the activity, students will look at primary sources including music, film, archived newspaper articles, photos, and book covers.
Using worksheets, students will then draw inferences about the context of Gatsby (the Roaring 1920s) and make predictions about the plot.
3. The Great Gatsby bias discussion
Another great pre-reading activity for The Great Gatsby is this bias discussion by Created for Learning.
In the bias discussion, students are given nine controversial statements that they then need to agree or disagree with. Students who agree move to one side of the room, while those who disagree move to the other.
Students then need to defend their opinions, while you challenge students’ opinions through questioning.
The discussion activity includes a printable handout and a PowerPoint presentation to accompany the discussion.
4. Pre-reading webquest for The Great Gatsby
If your students prefer to work by themselves, they may prefer this pre-reading webquest by Robert Cant.
Students learn about the author, historical context, key literary terms, genre, and more.
There is also an optional written task, meta-cognition activity, and a marking rubric if you wish to use it. The document is in word format and is fully editable so you can adapt it to your needs.
5. Agree or disagree activity
Similar to the bias discussion earlier, this agree or disagree activity by The Lit Guy asks students to choose the ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ side about various issues raised in The Great Gatsby.
Students must then defend their opinions. Students often engage in great discussion using this format.
The activity includes tips on how to use the resource in your classroom.
6. Roaring 20s research project
If your students love to work individually, then this 1920s research project by Books and Bloom Teaching may be what you need. In the activity, students select a topic that is most interesting to them.
Choices of topics include:
- economic booms and stock market crashes
- the Great Depression
- flappers and women\’s rights
- the impact of World War One
- the film industry and celebrity worship
- and more
Once students have chosen a topic, they create a thesis statement, three main points, and follow the guideline to find pictures with captions, an aligning literary text, an important historical character, and more.
If you are using this as a pre-reading activity, students could use excerpts from the novel (that you select) and information about F. Scott Fitzgerald etc.
Students then create a poster or documentary. The product has an editable version so that you can tweak it to your circumstances.
7. The Great Gatsby pre-reading activities
Another option is one of the two pre-reading activities in this bundle by Selena Smith. Included in the bundle are a PechaKucha presentations activity (20 images for 20 seconds presentation) or a gallery walk.
Detailed instructions for both options are included, as are an evaluation checklist for students and a grading rubric for teachers (for the presentations activity).
Students complete the activity on one of twelve topics from the Roaring 20s. You could either ask students to choose a topic, or you could assign them.
8. The Great Gatsby pre-reading exploration board
Another option for a research pre-reading activity for The Great Gatsby is this exploration board by Julie Conlan.
Students use the ‘board’ of topics to choose activities that explore contextual information about The Great Gatsby. And to ensure they cover enough information, students must cover the whole board (all the topics) in one way or another.
The resource is fully editable, so you can tweak the activity or information to suit your specific classes.
9. Pre-reading activities for The Great Gatsby
Another option for pre-reading activities are these ones by Mud and Ink Teaching.
Student activities include
- a notes sheet to use for the documentary Sincerely Fitzgerald
- an informal assessment of students\’ understanding of the documentary in the form of a Fitzgerald banner coloring activity
- editable bookmarks for annotation guidance
- station activities to introduce the novel
- and a Socratic seminar pack of ideas for preliminary discussions to have as your students prepare to read The Great Gatsby
10. The Great Gatsby pre-reading carousel discussion
If your students love to talk, then this pre-reading carousel discussion by English Bulldog may be a good option.
In this pre-reading activity for The Great Gatsby, students travel around the classroom or hallway to read several posters including statements that are designed to create strong agreement or disagreement. Working in pairs, students need to leave a statement of agreement or disagreement with an explanation.
After that, students will be assigned a poster along with its responses. They need to review each response and determine the trend in thinking. Following this, students engage in a debriefing discussion with the class to share their thoughts and understandings.
You also get a teacher lesson plan with common core objectives, preparation steps, a classroom agenda, and assessment strategies. Similarly, you get a PowerPoint with student-friendly objectives, student directions, and activity time limits.
While-reading activities for The Great Gatsby
Now that your students are primed and ready to read, you may be looking for some activities to do while reading The Great Gatsby.
You’re probably looking for things to ensure your students are understanding the plot, but also some of the more complex literary elements of the novel.
Never fear, if you’re teaching The Great Gatsby and want while-reading resources, you’re bound to find something useful below.
1. Crash Course Literature video worksheets
First up we have these worksheets (by me) to accompany the free Crash Course Literature YouTube videos about The Great Gatsby.
The worksheets are designed to keep students engaged in the videos, while also ensuring they get important information recorded. (See here for the first video and here for the second).
These worksheets are great for homework, flipped classroom activities, leaving for a substitute teacher, or giving yourself a bit of a break from talking!
The topics covered in the Crash Course videos are
- the main characters of the play
- how the novel interprets the American Dream
- color symbolism in the novel
- how the novel views wealth
- how F. Scott Fitzgerald creates a compelling novel with characters that are unlikeable
- varying viewpoints on whether Gatsby is great
- commonalities with Romeo and Juliet
- Gatsby’s motivations for acquiring wealth
- the idea of restoring a ‘perfect’ past
- and the horror of living a carefree life
Warning that there may be spoilers in the video though! So be sure to preview the videos and ensure that you’re not spoiling anything you don’t want spoiled.
These worksheets are print-and-go, but they also include teacher notes so you can assist students.
2. Free chapter one activities
If you’re looking for chapter activities for The Great Gatsby, this list of chapter one activities by Modern ELA Materials is free and a good way to check out if you want to buy the rest of the set.
The chapter activities are Google Slides, so are completely digital, and include
- character guide
- quote spotlight
- informational article
- character analysis
- quote analysis
- and writing prompt
3. Party cost activity in The Great Gatsby
Another fun The Great Gatsby activity is this part cost activity by Modern ELA Materials.
The graphic organizer steps students through the process of examining what the party in chapter three would cost today.
In doing so, students examine the text and make inferences about the party based on the descriptions in the chapter.
4. Cloze reading passages for The Great Gatsby
If you’re wanting to evaluate your students’ comprehension of The Great Gatsby, these cloze reading passages by The Green Light might be exactly what you need.
Written like a summary of each chapter, the quizzes have blanks that students need to fill in with key details.
You can use these activities as reading quizzes, review activities, bell ringers, or homework.
They are also great for substitute or emergency lesson plans as answer keys are provided.
5. The Great Gatsby activities bundle
If you’re interested in the carousel discussion by English Bulldog mentioned earlier, this The Great Gatsby activities bundle might be a great fit for you.
Included in the activities bundle are four activities including
- the pre-reading carousel discussion mentioned earlier in this post
- a fishbowl debate – which provides a framework for discussing the novel and you can get students to write an ACT-style argumentative essay afterward
- a themes textual analysis activity – you give students quotes and they have to decide on a common theme for the quotes. Students then create a poster using the most powerful quote to illustrate the theme and write an analysis of the author’s language choices.
- and a review game – you divide your class into teams and then use a laptop and projector to complete the review game. Teams compete to get the best score. The game is also editable so you can adapt it to fit your class.
The activities bundle also includes The Great Gatsby lesson plans for the activities, common core objectives, preparation steps, a classroom agenda, and assessment strategies.
There are also PowerPoints with student-friendly objectives, student directions, and activity time limits.
6. Characterization poster activity
If you’re wanting your students to take a deeper look at characterization in The Great Gatsby, this characterization poster activity by The Green Light might be what you need.
Designed to be used after the first chapter (Nick, Tom, Daisy, Jordan, and Gatsby), students create posters for each of the five characters introduced.
Each poster has black and white clipart for your students to decorate based on the characters’ descriptions. Questions are included around the poster for students to complete.
Students can complete the activity in groups or as an independent project. The posters make for great classroom decorations and they also help students keep track of characters in the text.
This activity could be done in groups, with each group working on a different character, or as an independent project. The posters will make for great classroom displays once completed and can help your students keep track of who’s who in the novel.
7. The Great Gatsby coloring pages
If your students need a chilled-out lesson, then these ten coloring pages that feature significant quotes from The Great Gatsby might be perfect.
Created by The Crazy English Teacher they can be used in a variety of ways:
- as essay starters
- for test review
- as homework tasks
- for classroom decorations
- to help settle an anxious class
- as a break between heavy reading-and-writing lessons
- for fast finishers
- as an easy lesson activity for a substitute teacher
8. The Great Gatsby character charts
If you are looking for a digital product that will help you teach about the characters in The Great Gatsby, then this character chart activity by Mondays Made Easy may be just right for you.
The activity asks students to analyze characters and develop inferences using the text. Including digital worksheets, students explore thematic representations and characteristics of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and others.
The activity begins with an introductory handout that has F. Scott Fitzgerald’s descriptions of each character’s physical appearance, words, thoughts, actions, and interests. Students use a chart to help them look for evidence from the text about the characters.
Students then use the charts to make inferences and real-world connections about the character. The activity includes a worked-through example for Tom Buchanan if you wish to model what students need to do.
There is also a blank character chart should you wish to cover a character that isn’t included in the bundle.
9. The Great Gatsby before, during, and after reading activities
If you are looking for activities to make The Great Gatsby more accessible for lower-level readers, then you might like this bundle of activities by Julie Conlon.
Designed to supplement your own teaching resources for The Great Gatsby, the bundle includes eleven activities.
- probable passage – a before-reading activity that introduces characters and events in an upcoming chapter
- story impressions – a before-reading prediction activity that helps students engage in the events of the upcoming chapters
- character analysis – students find evidence to support their judgments about a character
- journaling (connections) – students think about a time they have faced a similar situation to better understand a character’s motivations and/or actions
- making inferences – students learn to differentiate facts from rumors and in doing so make inferences and recognize their own gaps in understanding
- party invitation – students create party invitations for each of the nine parties (chapters) of the novel to help them summarize each party/chapter
- predictions – a during-reading strategy that gets students to pay attention to current events in the novel and think about how they will influence what happens later in the text
- positive profile – a character analysis activity with a creative writing component. Students write a creative positive profile of the character (a speech/poem/newspaper article etc) using a graphic organizer to assist them.
- found poems – a fun creative writing activity. Instructions on how to do it are included, as well as a sample poem about Nick and Jordan baker. A rubric is included.
- visualizing – an after-reading strategy that takes students back to the text to search for details, which helps them better understand what they’ve read
- retellings – an after-reading activity where students practice summarizing and demonstrating their comprehension of the text. Students do it after reading a chapter and can do them either in writing or orally. A rubric is included.
10. The Great Gatsby themes activity
Also included in the bundle by English Bulldog shown earlier, is this textual analysis activity is a way of getting students to identify and analyze themes in the novel.
Students read a group of quotations from The Great Gatsby and then decide on a theme that relates to all of the quotations. Students then create a wall poster that includes the most powerful quotation to represent their theme. They also analyze the author’s use of language in the quote.
Afterward, students do a carousel discussion where they review other groups’ posters and ideas. The Great Gatsby lesson plan includes common core objectives, preparation steps, a classroom agenda, and assessment strategies.
The activity also includes a PowerPoint with student-friendly objectives, student directions, and activity time limits.
11. The Great Gatsby color symbolism PowerPoint and activities
If you are wanting to teach a lesson about color symbolism in The Great Gatsby, then this activity by O Some Great Stuff for English Teachers might suit your needs.
The bundle includes three separate activities, as well as a set of color symbolism posters to display in your classroom.
The first activity is a handout that they can work on independently or in groups. It includes eight pages of discussion and questions about color symbolism in the novel, as well as excerpts and quotes from the text.
Students use a variety of tasks to identify the imagery and discuss how it enhances characterization and setting.
The second activity is a color symbolism PowerPoint presentation of over sixty slides that discuss colors, their symbolism, as well as any general symbols associated with the color.
The PowerPoint slides also include relevant graphics, quotes from the novel, and questions to prompt students’ engagement.
The third activity in the bundle scaffolds an essay response about the color symbolism in The Great Gatsby.
Students choose what color and symbolism they want to discuss, and how it enhances the characterization or setting and mood. In the activity, there is a fill-in-the-blanks thesis statement, and the basic steps for writing a literary analysis essay, including
- determining three main points
- locating quotes from the text to illustrate the points
- citing quotes correctly using MLA
- developing paragraphs by discussing how points and quotes support the thesis
- concluding with a restatement of the thesis and a comment on the effectiveness of the use of color symbolism
Finally, the bundle also includes color symbolism posters for thirteen colors. Each has a color and symbolism, along with relevant graphics.
12. Chapter 7 who is winning? activity
Another great tool to analyze character is this ‘Who is winning’ tracking sheet by Write on with Miss G.
Students examine Fitzgerald’s use of the ‘scenic method’ by awarding Gatsby and Tom points (both positive and negative) to see ‘who is winning’ at key points in Chapter 7.
The activity gets students to practice close reading and analysis skills while tracking who is winning the competition.
13. Chapter 1 character report card
Another fun idea for character analysis in The Great Gatsby is this character report card activity, also by Write on with Miss G.
In the activity, students have to ‘grade’ the characters on certain traits. Students have to justify the grades with evidence from the text.
After grading, students then have to explain the most and least likable characters. This helps students understand that as a reader you’re not necessarily supposed to like the characters in the novel.
This helps students understand Fitzgerald’s message and social commentary.
After-reading activities for The Great Gatsby
Ok, you’re on the home stretch. Your students have read The Great Gatsby and you’re prepping them for some kind of assessment.
We have revision activities, as well as assessment tasks listed here. So take a look if you want those sorts of teaching materials for The Great Gatsby.
1. Literary criticism matching game
If you are trying to help your students understand literary approaches to texts, then this literary criticism matching game by Moore English could help you out. This product shows students examples of literary criticism that could be applied to The Great Gatsby.
Literary criticism approaches used include formalist, New Critical, feminist, Marxist, psychoanalytical, historical, biographical, and archetypal/mythological.
The game comes in a few different formats, so you can choose which style best suits your class
- a match-up worksheet where students match the statement from the text with its corresponding literary criticism idea/approach – these are available to print or as Google Forms
- a card sort (also available as Google Slides with moveable cards and Google Jamboard format)
- concentration game cards
- task cards with literary criticism statements that students then need to find evidence for from The Great Gatsby – these are in Google Slides format, so you can edit them to suit your needs
2. Common Core-aligned test and activity pack for The Great Gatsby
If you’re looking for a test to evaluate your students’ understanding of the novel, this test and activity pack by Marci Brockman might be exactly what you need.
Included in the pack are
- a persuasive letter assignment
- The Great Gatsby conflict and symbols
- The Great Gatsby character trait analysis
- what the houses say about the characters in The Great Gatsby
- rumors vs. truth about Jay Gatsby
- The Great Gatsby – symbolic analysis
- a soundtrack project
- quotation analysis
- critical lens essay
- The Great Gatsby short-response paragraphs
- The Great Gatsby project – group presentations
- chapters quizzes for chapters one to two, three, four to five, six to seven, and eight to nine
- a vocabulary quiz
- a unit test and answer key
- an answer key for all quizzes and the final test
3. Creative assessments and activities for The Great Gatsby
If you’re looking for something other than a test, you might prefer these activities by O Some Great Stuff for English Teachers.
The activities are designed for students to creatively show their understanding of The Great Gatsby’s characterization, plot, and symbolism.
The first activity is a found poem, where students copy and paste a page from the novel, underline illustrative words and phrases, create a topic or theme, and compose a poem using Fitzgerald’s words. A sample poem is included, along with a brief explanation of the poem and a grading rubric.
The second activity is a creative writing activity that ‘adds on’ to chapter five. Because Nick Carraway is an unreliable narrator, students write as the narrator and compose the scene of what they think happened between Jay and Daisy in their reunion in chapter five.
Students must consider dialogue, sensory description, figurative language (alliteration, simile, personification), symbolism, and plot. A scoring rubric is provided.
The third activity is a character’s cell phone activity. Students imagine the characters as they might exist in our society. They imagine a homepage that displays the character’s apps and then complete an illustration/discussion component for each.
Students must fill in a blank cell phone homepage and choose options to display from entertainment apps, social connections, online shopping, legitimate news, and self-indulgence such as selfies, avatars, ringtones, or games.
Students then discuss why the character would have accessed or posted various items.
The final creative assessment task is a Gatsby one-pager. From a template, students will create a one-page assignment of illustrations, quotes, and explanations to show their understanding of the theme, characterization, and symbolism in The Great Gatsby.
Students must use quotes and citations in the one-pager, and a sample is included in the bundle. There is also a scoring rubric included.
4. The Great Gatsby wordsearch review activity
If you’re looking for a fast and fun review activity for The Great Gatsby, perhaps in preparation for a test, your students might enjoy this word search activity by Puzzles to Print.
Students review the plot and characters from The Great Gatsby by hunting for thirty-three hidden words.
5. The Great Gatsby critical thinking activity
Another great way to review the novel is this hexagonal thinking activity by Lindsay Ann Learning – Digital English Resources.
Created for use in both Google Classroom and a paper version, the activity gets students to connect ideas from The Great Gatsby. Students are given (or create their own) hexagonal tiles and place them in an order that they think fits.
Students need to be able to explain how the tiles connect along the sides whether through ideas, concepts, feelings, images, or terms.
The activity can be differentiated, and there is a linked blog post in the product description that you can use to help you differentiate using sentence stems and other ideas. You can increase rigor by asking students to provide textual citations to support the connections they make.
The activity can be re-used too, as you can ask students to reshuffle the tiles and start again.
The activity includes
- both digital hexagonal thinking slides and print-use hexagonal thinking cards
- gallery walk note sheet
- reshuffle and reflect worksheet
- a hexagonal thinking synthesis worksheet
- write-it-out journal page
- sentence stems handout
- teacher notes and getting started guide for teachers
6. The Great Gatsby quote race
Another fun The Great Gatsby activity is this review quote race by Laura Randazzo. The two-page quote race has 34 short lines from The Great Gatsby.
Students must work either individually or in pairs to match the lines to the characters from the text.
The student or team with the highest number of right answers wins. And if two students or teams have the same score, the one that handed theirs in first wins.
You can also extend the activity by discussing the answers and related scenes once all of the teams have submitted their papers.
The Great Gatsby teaching units (whole-unit bundles)
Now, if you’ve made it this far, you might be looking for something more than a few activities here or there to supplement your curriculum. You might want the whole unit bundle for The Great Gatsby.
Below we’ve got four whole-unit bundles of teaching resources for The Great Gatsby, so you’re bound to find one that suits you and your class.
These unit bundles generally include pacing guides and lesson plans for The Great Gatsby, as well as a myriad of activities.
1. Modernism and The Great Gatsby unit
The first bundle is this one by The SuperHERO Teacher. With lots of hands-on activities, this unit views the novel through the lens of modernism and includes
- a modernism scavenger hung
- a 1920s ‘radio show’ project
- The Great Gatsby common core reading literature booklet
- The Great Gatsby newspaper project
- a Langston Hughes poetry project
- The Great Gatsby novel vs film analysis activity
- The Great Gatsby board game
- 1920s guiding principles
2. The Great Gatsby Unit Plan
A second option is this The Great Gatsby bundle by The Green Light. This bundle of lesson plans for The Great Gatsby is massive and includes
- cloze reading passages for the entire novel (as mentioned earlier in this post)
- close reading activities
- task cards with discussion questions, quizzes, and bell ringers
- interactive activities
- an anticipation guide
- a setting map project including a worksheet, template, and samples
- essay writing assignments
- short writing prompts
- a common core unit map
- The Great Gatsby teacher’s guide with sample pacing calendar and daily aims
- character charts for the four main characters (Gatsby, Daisy, Nick, and Tom)
- imagery activities
- vocabulary assignment
- group discussion prompts and assignments
- critical theory activities
- paired poetry prompts and assignments
- characterization activities with samples
3. The Great Gatsby activity, lesson, and assessment bundle
The third whole-unit bundle of activities for The Great Gatsby is this one by Mud and Ink Teaching.
The unit focuses on the essential question, Is the American Dream more likely to inspire or destroy us? Each lesson returns back to that question.
The unit includes activities such as
- a Gatsby party stations activity that covers the setting, characters, and Fitzgerald’s writing style
- close reading passages that explore the Valley of Ashes and Gatsby’s mansion
- novel and film comparisons
- comparison and contrast between James Gatz and PT Barnum from The Greatest Showman
- a funeral for Gatsby activity where students read the eulogies they\’ve written
- and a 3-week condensed unit option with its own materials designed for a film/audio experience of the novel in a hybrid or distance learning scenario
The product is editable, which means you can adapt it to suit your class. It also includes a variety of fun activities, as well as activities that are academically rigorous.
4. The Great Gatsby unit
The final full unit bundle of lesson plans for The Great Gatsby is this one by Write on with Miss G.
The bundle includes engaging activities such as escape rooms, Instagram posts, and character report cards. Topics covered include:
- roaring 20s learning stations
- Fitzgerald documentary viewing guide
- novel introduction stations
- print and digital chapter activities for all chapters (including fun activities such as character report cards, chapter 1-3 escape room, doodle notes, Gatsby Instagram posts, heat symbolism close reading, Gatsby vs Tom Who’s winning?, Gatsby obituary/eulogy/elegy, Gatsby’s death blame chart, and more)
- post-reading literary analysis speed dating discussion activity
- three-question multiple-choice reading check quizzes for every chapter (with 3 versions to prevent cheating)
- multiple-choice reading check quizzes bundle
- vocabulary in context worksheets for every chapter
- vocabulary bookmarks for every chapter in both print and digital
- film analysis guides in both print and digital
- film analysis worksheets – scaffold literary analysis
That’s all for The Great Gatsby activities folks . . .
Phew! So many The Great Gatsby teaching resources. Hopefully, you’ve found something that will work for you and your class.
If you’re teaching The Great Gatsby and have come across some great teaching resources for The Great Gatsby, let us know on Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to add more The Great Gatsby teaching resources to the list.
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