Holes Match 'Em Up Challenge Teaching Guide
- Grades: 3–5
- Unit Plan:
After reading the book Holes individually or as a class, students explore how the various plotlines are connected by matching and collecting symbols and key ideas that appear throughout the story and in multiple story strands. By reconstructing the sequence of events in Holes in an interactive timeline, students demonstrate their understanding of the novel's interconnecting plotlines and the cause-and-effect relationships of these events in the overall story.
- Find and match symbols from the story and discover how they're connected and relevant across the story's plotlines
- Reconstruct a timeline by putting key events in sequence
- Use text clues to help identify sequence of events
- Computer access (activities can be modified from one computer to a whole computer lab)
- Holes Flashlight Readers Activity: Match 'Em Up Challenge
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- Printable Holes Matching Cards (PDF)
- Optional: Paper, glue, and scissors for Lesson Extensions
- Optional: Projector to display online activities
Set Up and Prepare
Bookmark the Holes Flashlight Readers Activity: Match 'Em Up Challenge on the computers students will use.
Note: If students have limited access to computers, you can print hard copies of the activity screens and the Holes Matching Cards (PDF) to use instead.
Step 1: Discuss with students how Holes is comprised of three smaller stories. Ask volunteers to give a one-line summary of each storyline. Record their responses on the chalk board. Explain that to keep track of the plots, and to understand how the events in one plot are connected to and affect events in another plot, it's necessary to recognize the sequence, or order, in which events occur. Point out, for example, that to understand why Stanley heads towards God's Thumb they first need to know what happened to his great grandfather. Explain that one way a writer might sequence events is by time — from earliest to most recent — also known as chronological order.
Step 2: Demonstrate the first part of the Holes Match 'Em Up Challenge (the matching portion) for the whole class to see. Read aloud the instructions. Point out that as players match the symbols on the cards, they discover how the representative symbols appear multiple times and often through multiple plotlines. Invite volunteers to click and flip the cards to find matches. As they match the cards, discuss the cause-and-effect relationship of different events in the story. For example: it's because of onions Sam planted years earlier that Stanley and Zero are able to survive.
Step 3: Upon making all the matches, a partially completed timeline appears on the screen along with a selection of the collected items. Tell students that a timeline, like the one shown, is one way to illustrate chronological order. Explain that a timeline is a line that shows important events in the order in which they took place. Point out that the earliest events begin on the left-hand side and they become more recent as they move to the right-hand side. The event all the way on the right is the most recent.
Step 4: Read aloud the instructions. Emphasize that the events already on the timeline are clues, much like the signal words first, then, next, last, etc. that help readers recognize sequence when reading a book. Invite volunteers to drop the collected items into the timeline in the correct chronological order. If they misplace an item, have students refer to the book to see when that event occurred.
Step 5: Next, have students play a new round of the Holes Match 'Em Up Challenge independently. (Several versions of the game allow for unique replays.) When they've completed the activity, students can print out the Holes Cards to play the matching game offline or to create a Holes timeline by pasting the cards onto a piece of poster board.
Step 6: After everyone has completed their timelines, bring students together for a class discussion. Using the printout of the Holes cards as reference, have students share new connections they learned about the three plotlines that they hadn't recognized before. For example, have them explain how events that happened to Elya Yelnats long ago affected Stanley's great-grandfather, Stanley, or others later on.
Ask students: What other symbols could you add to this activity? What events would the symbols represent? Where would they appear on the timeline?
Step 7: Once students have completed the Holes Match 'Em Up Challenge and played The Treasure of Green Lake, they will earn a reward.
- Working in pairs, have students challenge each other to put other events from the story in the correct chronological order. Have students print and cut out the Holes Cards. You can also have students create additional cards based on your discussion in Step 5 of the lesson above. Have students shuffle a combination of five printed and homemade cards. On a sheet of paper, the students should make an answer key, listing the events in the correct order. Have pairs exchange their pack of out of order cards. The students should place their pack of cards in sequence and then check their answers against the partner's answer key.
- Print out the Holes Cards and distribute matching pairs to students. Have students write a paragraph describing how the symbol connects to different parts of the story.
- Challenge students to create their own story-based game with the cards. Have students write an instruction booklet to accompany their new game. Invite students to try out games designed by other students.
- Have your students write a story about an imaginary object from the past that found its way into the student's possession, influencing the student's next course of action in some way. As an example, ask them to imagine that they found an old treasure map pressed between the pages of a library book. What would they do? How would they find out more about where the map came from?
Use this activity to assess students' ability to recognize cause-and-effect relationships and sequence events, which are important skills for reading comprehension. Observe students as they work on ordering the timeline in this activity. If a student is struggling to put events in order:
- Encourage the student to think-aloud about what caused each event to happen. Recognizing cause-and-effect relationships may help them figure out the sequence of the events.
- Have the student review or re-read sections of the book related to the events they are struggling to put into sequence. Students who are able to accurately and easily sequence events in the book are also likely understand the connection between earlier and later events.
- Help students separate each of the three story strands (Latvia, Kate Barlow's time, and present day) and recognize how similar elements (such as peaches and onions) appear in more than one story strand.
Language Arts Standards (4th Ed.)
- Understands the basic concept of plot (e.g., main problem, conflict, resolution, cause-and-effect)
- Knows themes that recur across literary works
- Understands complex elements of plot development (e.g., cause-and-effect relationships; use of subplots, parallel episodes, and climax; development of conflict and resolution)