Things That Make Me Go Hmmm... The "What Ifs"

What if the symbol of the rebellion was an Angry Bird instead of the Mockingjay? 

Yes, this is a silly question, but sometimes those silly questions lead to deep and meaningful debates. I like to ask "What if" questions during class discussions to get my students' creative juices flowing (and engage in some critical thinking, but they don't need to know that's what they're doing).

So for this third installment of "Things That Make Me Go Hmmm...," I've decided to share some of the "what ifs" we discussed in class recently about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and see if they have you Hmmm?ing, as well. Feel free to share these with your students for discussions or as journal prompts (warning - some spoilers ahead):

• What if Katniss's dad hadn't died? How would Katniss be different? Would she still be as protective of Prim?

•  What if Katniss's mother hadn't become depressed and was able to take care of her family? Would Peeta have found another way to connect with Katniss (since the bread incident would never have happened)?

• What if Katniss didn't volunteer for Prim? Or if Prim refused to let her volunteer? Would Prim be strong enough to survive the Games? Who would her allies be? Would Peeta die for her?

• What if Gale was chosen as the male tribute instead of Peeta? 

• What if Haymitch didn't drink? Would he have a different strategy for Katniss and Peeta? Would they have more sponsors?
• What if Effie wasn't so annoying? What if she was more like Cinna?

• What if they had to walk to the Capitol? How long would it take to get from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rockies? (Forrest Gump might know...)

• What if Cinna wasn't Katniss's stylist? What would her slogan be?

• What if Madge gave Katniss an Angry Bird pin instead of a Mockingjay pin? Would Rue still want to be Katniss's ally?

• What if District 13 wasn't blown off the map by the Capitol but abducted by aliens instead? What if it was just a massive government cover-up? Would life be better for the District 13 citizens in space or on another planet?  

• What if the citizens of District 12 gave Katniss chocolate cookies instead of the silent salute? (That's from my student Brody.)

• What if Katniss had full water bottles in her orange backpack? Would she have played the Game more offensively?

• What if Rue hadn’t warned Katniss about the tracker jacker nest? What would have happened that morning?

• What if Katniss had given Rue her knife when they split up? Would she have been able to cut herself out of the net and get away from Marvel?

• What if Rue lived and they announced that two tributes could win if they were from the same district; would Rue and Katniss break their alliance? Would Katniss still seek out Peeta? Would the four of them take on the Careers and Foxface? 

• What if the final three tributes alive were Katniss, Peeta, and Rue? Would any of them be able to kill each other? (This question courtesy of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat.)

• What if the arena really was a big cake with frosting?

You can have your students come up with their own "What if..." questions. Have them write them down on a little square of scratch paper and put them in a bowl (or old coffee grounds container; old OxyClean containers also work well) and have other students draw a question from the container to discuss or write about.

And to make your job easier, I've already copied these down (with additional questions) and placed them in a table that can be copied and cut into squares for students to draw. And there's some blank ones so they can make up their own "What if..." questions. Enjoy!

Hunger Games Lessons is not affiliated or associated with author Suzanne Collins, Scholastic Books/Scholastic, Inc., The Hunger Games trilogy, Lionsgate® Movies, Angry Birds, or any of the aforementioned’s affiliates.

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