The People of Sparks Teaching Ideas

The People of Sparks Teaching Activities

In The People of Sparks, the sequel to The City of Ember, the Emberites leave their cave home. After journeying for a couple of days, they come to a village called Sparks. Here they find a group of people who although aren’t openly hostile are certainly not welcoming. The two groups of people must learn to get along. Meanwhile, Lina takes off in search of her dream city.

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau is a must-read novel for all lovers of The City of Ember.

The People of Sparks Teaching Activities

Book Unit Samples

The People of Sparks Novel Study Samples

This sample contains the following:

  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
  • Constructed Response Question – Sequencing
  • Activities and Discussion for Chapters 1-2
  • Story Mapping
  • English – Lesson 1 – Understanding Sentences

Discussion #1 ~ Community

The People of Sparks Activities

Once the Emberites come to Sparks, the community is divided in two. The people in Sparks do not wish to give up their vital resources. They fear their winter supplies will be too low. The Emberites have no concept of winter. They cannot understand why the villagers are being stingy. The villagers provide the refugees with only the bare essentials for living. Over time, the quantity and quality of the food lowers. Eventually, Spark’s leaders vote to stop having the Emberites in their homes for dinner.

Communication is low. Hostility grows between the two sets of people. The Emberites learn they will be ejected from the village in the middle of winter. Negative feelings escalate. Petty exchanges of revenge take place. Finally, the groups are at war. Ben brings out the ‘Terrible Weapon.’ The machine gun explodes. This creates a threatening fire. 

Discussion Questions

How does greed affect the community?
By what means does the community support itself? Is raising food a problem?
How does the community govern itself?
Why is communication vital?
How does Sparks compare to other communities in literature?

Discussion #2 ~ Refugees

The People of Sparks Activities

Refugees are people who have been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons. Most leave their homeland because they fear for their safety. Estimates show that at least 60 million people were displaced in 2015.

Another reason for fleeing a region is global climate change. Water and food are scarce in some parts of the world. Have students compare the Emberites to a group of refugees in today’s world.


Discussion #3 ~ Effects of War

The People of Sparks Activities

The reader learns that the Builders took a group of people underground to prevent the race from completely dying. Four wars and a plague had nearly destroyed the population. What effects does war have?

Here is a little information to get you started:

Revolutionary War Statistics

Small Pox

George Washington had all his forces vaccinated for smallpox. After this, the death rate of this disease decreased from 17% to 1%.

Causalities of the Revolutionary War

Battle Casualties6,824
Americans Wounded8,445
Deaths from Diseaseapproximately 10,000
Died in British Prisons8,500
Americans Captured18,152
Casualties from Battle and Disease24,000

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some of the physical and emotional effects of war on soldiers?
  2. How might war affect the mental health of soldiers?
  3. What are some of the long-term effects of war on the families and communities of soldiers?
  4. How might war disrupt or destroy the infrastructure and economy of a region or country?
  5. How might war affect the education and future opportunities of children in war-torn areas?
  6. How do you think war affects the environment?
  7. What are some ways that individuals and communities can help support soldiers and their families during and after the war?

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The People of Sparks Novel Study

The People of Sparks Novel Study includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.   

Gay Miller

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