Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

The Most Dangerous Game

Lindsey Link, Margaret Salesky | Published: May 10th, 2021 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 8th, 9th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 3-4 class period(s)
  • Duration More 150 minutes


Students will read and interact with the short story, "The Most Dangerous Game." They will focus on making predictions, analyzing the text, and evaluating the characters—namely protagonist v. antagonist.

Essential Question(s)

What key literary elements does the author use to develop the characters in the story, "The Most Dangerous Game?" 



Students will participate in a Four Corners activity based on powerful statements related to the context and content of the short story.


Students will engage in a Tea Party activity to preview parts of the text in isolation and make predictions about it.


Students will read the story "The Most Dangerous Game" using the annotation strategy CUS and Discuss, focusing on character development for one of the two main characters.


With a partner who focused on the opposite character, students will create a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the two main characters, and determining which is the protagonist and which is the antagonist of the story.


Students will prepare an Elevator Speech focused on one of the powerful statements as it pertains to the character they have become an expert on. They will deliver their speeches live or use a technology alternative.


  • Computer

  • Speakers

  • Pen/Pencil

  • Agree/Disagree Posters ( "4 Corners Posters")

  • Text - "The Most Dangerous Game"

  • Audio reading - "The Most Dangerous Game"

  • Slide Show

  • Venn Diagram Graphic Organizer


Before you begin your lesson, take a moment to share the lesson's essential question with them by displaying slide 2.

  • What key literary elements does the author use to develop the characters in the story, "The Most Dangerous Game?"

Once you have shared the essential question with the class, take a moment to share the lesson's learning objectives with them by displaying slide 3.

  1. Make predictions about the story and the characters using key statements and quotes from the text in isolation during the Tea Party.

  2. Analyze the text to identify literary elements that contribute to the development of the characters, Rainsford and Zaroff.

  3. Evaluate the character’s thoughts, motivations, actions, etc. in the story to determine who plays the role of the protagonist and antagonist.

Now that you have shared the lesson's essential question and learning objective, your students will engage in the instructional activity, Four Corners. Display slide 4. During this activity, you will be presenting your students with powerful statements, and they will determine their personal level of agreement. As you present each statement to your class, the students will move next to the sign (see attachments) that best represents their personal level of agreement: agree, disagree, strongly agree, or strongly disagree.

Once all of your students are standing near one of the four signs with their "agreement group," they will discuss their reasons for their choice with their peers in this group. Display slide 5. Together, the agreement groups will formulate justifications for their beliefs and then share them with the rest of the class. As each group shares their justifications, the class will engage in a brief discourse over the reasoning. The statements your students will be discussing include:

  • Hunting is a sport. (slide 6)

  • Hunting is evil. (slide 7)

  • Hunting is unfair. (slide 8)

  • Animals have no feelings. (slide 9)

  • Strength is better than intelligence. (slide 10)


Now that you have shared the essential questions and learning objectives with your students, you will want to transition to another instructional strategy called Tea Party. Display slide 11. This activity includes a variety of excerpts from the text of "The Most Dangerous Game" (see attachments). These excerpts will get students to consider parts of the text of the short story in isolation before they read it. This strategy reminds readers that comprehension begins before they read a text, and that it is not simply a set of comprehension questions that one completes after the reading is done. When students utilize this strategy, the meaning-making occurs even before they start reading the text.

Before beginning, provide each student with one sentence from the story, and have them take a moment to read and reflect on it. Once they have done so, they will walk around the classroom and share their sentences with their peers, listen to others, and discuss how the statements might be connected, all the while making inferences as to what the text might be about.


After your students have completed the Tea Party activity, you will want to pass out the text of "The Most Dangerous Game." Make sure your students are provided with enough time to complete the reading (either in class or as an outside activity in between meeting times). As your students are reading, you will want to have them analyze the text using the instructional strategy CUS and Discuss. This text annotation strategy gives students practice identifying important information in a text, and it provides them with an easy way to refer back to those important points in the future.

Before you have your students begin the reading, assign (or allow students to choose) one character for them to focus on, with half of the class joining "Team Rainsford" and the other half joining "Team Zaroff." Display slide 12. Each student will read and annotate the story while paying particularly close attention to whichever character their team is focusing on. They will use the following instructions found on slide 13:

  • C - Circle new or unfamiliar words.

  • U - Underline details that support whether your character is the protagonist or the antagonist.

  • S - Star the main idea that shows your character is the protagonist or the antagonist.

After your students have completed the reading with a focus on their character, they will compare their notes with a partner before sharing with the rest of the class. Display slide 14.


After reading the story, pair up your students with one from "Team Rainsford" and one from "Team Zaroff." Together, partners will compare and contrast their characters using the Venn Diagram Graphic Organizer (see attachments). Display slide 15. In their Venn Diagram, it is important for them to record the similarities and differences between their characters, using textual evidence, as it applies to the following:

  1. Physical Appearance

  2. Thoughts and Feelings

  3. Dialogue

  4. Narrator's Comments

Instruct your students to come to a consensus on which character is the protagonist and which is the antagonist. They can show their thinking by labeling the top of their Venn Diagrams.

After your students have completed their Venn Diagrams, you will want to revisit the original Four Corners sentences. Display slides 16-22. This time, rather than assessing the statements from their own point of view, students will assess the statements from the point of view of the character they are an expert on.


Now that your students have interacted with and read the story "The Most Dangerous Game," it is time for them to choose one statement that they believe is most agreeable to their character. Have your students prepare a short Elevator Speech relating to the statement and relying upon textual evidence. Display slide 23. Their Elevator Speeches should not exceed 90 seconds and should be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • The student focuses on the character and their powerful statement throughout the speech.

  • Textual evidence is provided to support the claims of their character.

  • The student speaks clearly and is easily understood.

  • The flow of the speech was organized and easy to follow.