Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Conflict and Choice in Tangerine

Character Development

Susan Mudrick, Jane Baber | Published: February 12th, 2021 by Nanakuli Wai’anae Complex Area, Hawaii

  • Grade Level Grade Level 7th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 4- class period(s)
  • Duration More 200 minutes


This lesson serves as an introduction to the novel "Tangerine" by Edward Bloor. The lesson addresses the theme of persistence in the novel by making predictions about what struggles the main character will come across and continually addressing these predictions while reading the book. The lesson's writing assessments will show how well students are able to analyze character conflict and the perspective of characters, especially if they are different from their own.

Essential Question(s)

How do a character's choices affect the development of that character?



Students view a clip from Star Wars to introduce discussion of conflict between family members.


Students are introduced to the novel Tangerine via a virtual field trip to Tangerine, Florida.


Students share what they learned about Tangerine, Florida. They then read and annotate an introduction to the novel.


Students respond to a novel prediction handout.


Students read and evaluate each other's prediction responses, and use the predictions for an anchor chart.


  • Tangerine by Edward Bloor

  • Virtual Field Trip (attached; one per student)

  • Introduction to Tangerine (attached; one per student)

  • Prediction Handout (attached; one per student)

  • Anchor Chart paper (poster paper, butcher paper, or similar)

  • Markers

  • Sticky notes (optional; one per student)


To begin, display slide 3. Invite students to engage in the I Notice, I Wonder strategy while watching the next clip. What observations can they make about the characters' choices? What questions do they have? Show the clip, ”Star Wars ‘I Am Your Father’ Scene” on slide 4.

After briefly discussing the clip, display slide 5. Pose the following questions as a writing prompt:

  • Has one of your family members ever done something bad or something you thought was wrong?

  • How did it make you feel? How did you react?

  • How did other members of your family react?

  • Did they tell them they were wrong or did they try to help?

Have students individually reflect on this prompt by writing in their notebooks for five minutes. This prompt will introduce students to thinking about the theme of family conflict and the choices that particular characters make and the consequences of those choices.

After hearing responses from a few volunteers, display the Essential Question for this lesson on slide 6: “How do a character’s choices affect the development of that character?”


Tell students that they will soon begin reading Tangerine by Edward Bloor.

Begin by previewing with students that some of the characters in the family of the main character, Paul, do bad things throughout the book. These things can (and do) cause conflict. Because of this, a focus of this lesson is character development. Display slide 7 and ask the following questions:

  • What does it mean when a character develops in a story? Use student answers here to gauge their prior knowledge.

  • Do characters always develop in a story?

  • What can affect character development?

After these questions have either been discussed out loud and/or used as a writing prompt, segue into how moving to a new place would affect character development. This will help frame the next activity for students: taking a virtual field trip to where the story in Tangerine takes place.

Display slide 8. Using laptops or tablets, direct students to Google Maps and have them type in Tangerine, Florida. The output should be similar to the image below: