Connecting to Fahrenheit 451 by Discussing Technology in Our Lives

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SWBAT respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify their own point of view and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented by discussing general statements about technology and our dependence on it.

Big Idea

Can you live without your smartphone or computer?

Getting Started

5 minutes

When students walk into class, they will see 4 statements already written on the board. Students will be writing a response to at least one of these statements, which statements may seem random at first because they are not text-based, but about life, specifically technology (W.9-10.10). I will spend a few minutes introducing today's lesson, which is a prelude to our next text. I will explain that although the book was written in 1953, the themes of the text are relevant today, so before we begin reading, it's important that we look inwardly first.

Accept, Refute, or Qualify

15 minutes


25 minutes

We will discuss one statement at a time (SL.9-10.1). We will start the discussion with the students who wrote to the quote first, but other students are welcome to add their thoughts and opinions. I assume that students will write a personal response, explaining their opinion based on experiences (SL.9-10.1c). Wearing earbuds/ headphones in school, for example, is a major issue we are fighting and everyone has something to say about it. At first, students were just wearing them in the hallways between classes, but suddenly they have entered the classroom and students try to keep one bud in during class. I argue that this one-bud-in attitude also suggests that students are half listening, quite literally. Many of my students obviously disagree. This might be a time for us to discuss the issue, instead of just arguing about it (SL.9-10.1d).


However, that is not my only reason for giving time to this statement. Continuous earbud-listening is an issue in Fahrenheit 451. Mildred, Montag's wife, always wears "seashells" in her ears-- when she's eating breakfast, when she's sleeping-- unless of course she's watching tv. They literally separate her from her husband. The conversation we have today will lead us to a greater conversation later, when we meet Mildred and witness what her seashells and tv shows do to her relationships and her life.

Two more statements

10 minutes

Once students are comfortable with the process and the terms, I will add two more statements to the board for thought and discussion:


  • TV is the new smoking.
  • Whenever I'm bored, I use my smartphone and that's good.


Both of these statements imply an addiction to technology, which is also an issue in Fahrenheit 451. Mildred is as obsessed with inane television shows as she is with her Seashells. I have separated these statements from the rest because I want everyone to think about our dependance on technology (SL.9-10.1d). Again, this conversation will help us approach some aspects of the book more personally, instead of just believing that the society of the book is far from what we live.

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

In the last few minutes, I will explain the homework. Each student will receive this 1950's worksheet and they will be assigned one the of the four categories listed at the top. Their job is to find a major event for each year in the 50s.