My grade 8s have now finished our novel study of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit, and although the book was almost borderline too easy for them to read, they never tired of discussing the main premise and what they would do in that situation.

Here are some of the final activities after the group research project (from the previous blog post):

Questions for the Tucks:  During discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of drinking from the spring (they all thought 25 would be the ideal age because it’s “kinda old, but not too old”),  the grade 8s had some questions that the novel couldn’t answer.

Here’s what they would ask the Tucks:

-Do injuries and wounds form during accidents, or is it like nothing happened?

-Did it hurt to be shot? (To Tuck).

-Do you feel pain?

-What happens if I drink the water when I’m old (like 45-years-old) — will my arthritis or back pain stay with me forever?

-Will I be able to cut and dye my hair, or will it change back right away?

-Can I eat whatever I want without getting fat?

-Can I go to outer space without a space suit?

-What happens if I get cut in half? Will the pieces of my body connect back together again?

-What happens if the world ends and there’s no earth for me to live on? Will I just float through space?

We also had time for two other group activities before the culminating essay:

Talk Show:  I asked the class to generate questions for each character in the novel. They wrote their questions on separate slips of paper and then we created giant piles of questions for each character. Afterwards, the class met with their research groups and then I told them they’d be producing a talk show by the end of the period. Each group had to name their talk show and select one person to be the host, and everyone else had to assume the role of one character. Talk show hosts then went to the piles of questions to select questions for their guests. Some groups wrote additional questions.

The funniest title for a talk show was “The Everlasting Talk Show”.

Five-Minute Re-enactments:  I gave a scrambled list of plot points to students and they worked in pairs to organize events into the correct sequence. After, they met with their talk show groups to rehearse and present a speedy version of the entire novel.

The culminating product was an opinion piece on what they would do if they were faced with the choice to drink from the spring. Students compiled lists of reasons for and against in previous classes, and also debated which age would be the best.