The Giver
A WebQuest for fifth grade
Designed by
Emily Ferris, Sarah Hertzog, and Christina Kline
Messiah College



In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the guidance of an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world. In this 1994 Newbery Medal science fiction and fantasy winner, author Lois Lowry will make you think about the value of your memories, good and bad, and will help you to realize the importance of freedom of choice.  In this WebQuest, you can design a utopian society, create assignments for yourself and your friends, showcase your own memories, and perhaps even rewrite the ending to this book!

To learn more about the author, Lois Lowry visit this site by clicking here.

The Task
To accompany your reading of The Giver, we have several activities that may help you understand Lois Lowry’s book better.  Go to the Pre-Activities before you read the book to get you thinking. You can also do the During-Activities while you read The Giver, and the After-Activities when you’vefinished.  Ask your teacher how many activities you need to do.  Which ones look interesting to you?



Utopia Mania
Lois Lowry’s novel is a story about what happens in a “Utopian” society.  A Utopia is a place where everything is perfect, or at least everything is supposed to be perfect.  What would a “perfect place” mean to you?  Maybe in your perfect place everyone would be six feet tall and play basketball all day or perhaps you have other ideas.

· To help you as you think about a Utopia put a check mark next to the following items that fit in with what you think a “perfect place” would be like.
everyone has a job
everyone is equal
no bad memories
lots of rules
no fighting
no good memories
everyone has enough food
no war

· Think about which items describe your school and community now.

· If you like, draw a picture of what your “perfect place”/utopia would look like.

Valuable Choices
Another important idea in The Giver is that of choices.  For example, getting to decide what you want to do and when you want to do it, “freedom of speech” and “freedom of religion”. Click here to view our country's Bill of Rights and see the choices that we have.

· Make a short list (4-5 ideas) of what choices are important to you.

· Write a paragraph describing how you would feel if these choices were taken away.

Sharing Senses  (After readingchapters 11-12)
When Jonas receives the new memories, he doesn’t know how to explain his experience to his friends.  This may be somewhat similar to describing colors and sights to a blind person.  Go to the following two sites and then choose one of the activities to do.

· Click here to find out how blind people read and how they move around.

· Click here to learn about all of our senses.

· Keeping in mind that there are other senses (hearing, smelling, touch, taste) besides sight, write a paragraph describing what you would do to explain how something looks to a friend with blindness.

· Do you think Jonas could have found a way to share his new experiences with his friends and family?  Should he have done this?  Why or why not?

Memory Share  (After reading chapter 16 try this activity.)
The old man, the Giver, gives Jonas his favorite memory, sort of like how a grandparent may give grandchildren a happy or sad memory from their own childhood.

· What is a happy or sad memory an older person has told you?  Why do you like or dislike this memory?

· Can you think of any memories you would tell someone younger than you someday?  Make a list of several memories (4-5) or share a special memory with a friend or young person.


Search For Your Role
Each member of Jonas’ community had a specific job, or role, to fill. By assigning roles to people the community could continue to function well.  Choose two of the following activities to complete.

· Which role would you like best, based on your interests, abilities and personality? Refer to chapter 7 for a list of the assignments from the ceremony.  To help narrow down your choices click here.  This site will help you find out what job you may enjoy based on the subjects you like in school.

· Make a list of specific things (10-12) youwould need to be able to do to have this job (play games, organize groups, care for others, etc.).   Also, how would this person act (calm, quiet, caring, nosy/ include 3-4).  And what kinds of activities would they like to do (run around at recess, help feed the fish, discuss the news/ include 3-4)?  Talk to your teacher to see if you may play this role in class for a day.

· What role would you assign your friends?  Choose 3 friends and tell which roles you would assign them and why they fit into these roles best.

Memory Treasure Chest
Pretend that you are like the Giver and are passing on memories.  Think about what memories are important to you and would benefit others in some way.  Visit the website and do the following activity.

· To learn more about how our memories work click here.

· Create a box (shoebox size) that contains objects representing 4 of your most important memories.  Label each object telling what it is (key, rock, picture, trophy, etc.) what memory/time/event it’s related to and why it’s important to you.  You can bring in objects from home (careful to follow school rules) or create pictures and models representing them.

· If time allows decorate your box in a way that makes it personal.

Author Development
Choose one of the two following activities.
· Sometimes the ending to a book can be satisfying, other times it may leave you with unanswered questions or just not seem right.  Did you like the way The Giver ended?  Why or why not? Write at least a paragraph describing your reaction.

· Write a new ending for The Giver that fits your tastes better.  You're encouraged to be creative but also be sure that your new ending matches the rest of the story (themes, setting, plot, etc.).  Write at least two paragraphs.  Be careful to use correct spelling and grammar.

To finish the webquest do these two activities.
· Click here to find out what Lois Lowry has to say about the ending of her book.

· Did the author’s response surprise you?  Do you think that sometimes your own writing may get interpreted differently?  How does that make you feel?

Evaluation (Worth 15 points total.)
Excellent 3pts. Good 2pts. Needs Improvement 1pt.
Organization Well thought-out, clear, carefully planned - sequential structure. Clear, easy to follow, and logical. Difficult to understand and follow when reviewing project.
Content Student openly engages in the activity, based on past experiences, interacting with the text and internal beliefs. Content accurately reflects student's beliefs and experiences, and interacts with the text. Content does not reflect student beliefs or does not interact with The Giver.
Writing Mechanics Less than 3 errors in grammar and spelling. Between 3 and 6 errors in grammar and spelling. More than 6 errors in grammar and spelling.
Creativity Project displays creativity at the peak of a Fifth Grade level student. Project is presented in an interesting manner. Project does not display creativity expected at a Fifth Grade level.
Neatness Exceptional artwork and handwriting displayed on project. Easy to read, colorful artwork.  Illegible handwriting, poorly prepared artwork.

Congratulations!  You now know more about yourself,the kinds of jobs you may want to pursue and the memories that are important to you. You've also become a more skilled reader and writer, as well as an internet explorer!  Good luck as you continue to explore and enjoy literature!

A message from the Author
                    [This is a transcript of the response that Lois Lowry gave to
                    young people who questioned her about The Giver.]

                   Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some
                   write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And
                   I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many
                   things to many different people. People bring to it their own
                   complicated sense of beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears
                   and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it,
                   my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own
                   endings in their minds.

                   I will say that I find it an optimistic ending. How could it not be
                   an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there
                   with its lights on and music is playing? So I'm always kind of
                   surprised and disappointed when some people tell me that they
                   think that the boy and the baby just die. I don't think they die.
                   What form their new life takes is something I like people to
                   figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a
                   different ending.

                   In answer to the people who ask whether I'm going to write a
                   sequel, they are sometimes disappointed to hear that I don't
                   plan to do that. But in order to write a sequel, I would have to
                   say: this is how it ended. Here they are and here's what's
                   happening next. And that might be the wrong ending for many,
                   many people who chose something different.

                   Of course there are those who could say I can't write a sequel
                   because they die. That's true if I just said, Well, too bad, sorry,
                   they died there in the snow, therefore that's the end, no more
                   books. But I don't think that. I think they're out there
                   somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life
                   is happy and I would like to think that's true for the people they
                   left behind as well.

                [Taken from]