Lesson Plan: For Teachers: A Real-Life Spy Story
Put students into groups of four to six and have each group brainstorm what characteristics make a good spy thriller. Have each group generate a summary and outline of their findings. Tell students they will be using this outline to create their own stories. Consider having a few spy thrillers on hand for them to examine.
Outline the Opportunity
Tell students that they will write a short story based on the biography of Dr. Gerald Bull. The story can be fictional in nature but must use the facts surrounding his demise. Students can add themes, plots, and characters to the facts.
Divide the class into two or three large groups. Direct students to the topic Dr. Gerald Bull: Scientist, Weapons Maker, Dreamer on the CBC Digital Archives website and have them browse the clips titled:
"A supersonic scientist", "Bull's company raided", "Fined and off to jail", "Bull's family mourns his murder", "Who killed Gerald Bull?", "Customs officials discover supergun parts", and "Murdered by the Mossad?".
From these clips students obtain the list of characters and basic facts for their stories. Using the information they have gathered in the larger group, students write their own stories.
Revisit and Reflect
Have the class create a book of their short stories and circulate it in the class. Invite students to provide their reviews and comments on at least two stories in the book. Students gather in their original large groups and discuss the experience of writing the stories and of reading the comments.
Share the class book with another class in the same grade level. Invite that class to review the book and return their reviews to the classroom. Discuss the reviews as a group and allow those who are interested to make revisions.