By Lois Lowry

1994 Newberry Medal Award Winner

A WebQuest for 8th Grade

Reading and Language Arts

Designed by:

Amy Cordy, Jennifer Fouty, Marybeth Malone, and Ekaterina Rohal

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits


Jonas’s world is perfect.  Everything is under control.  There is no war or fear or pain.  There are no choices.  Every person is assigned a role in the Community.

When Jonas turns twelve he is singled out to receive special training from an old man known as The Giver.  The Giver alone holds the memories of true pain and pleasure of life.  Now it’s time for Jonas to receive the truth.  There is no turning back. As The Giver transfers the memories, Jonas discovers the disturbing truths about his utopian world. This science fiction novel by 1994 Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry captivated millions of readers. However, many people were frustrated with the ending as they were often left with unanswered questions. What do you think actually happened?


This is your chance to make things right and rewrite the ending! The Literature Journal Committee announced a writer’s contest for a new ending to The Giver. You are welcome to participate! You are encouraged to be creative, but also to be sure that your new ending flows well with what you have already read.  Before you begin, complete the Research Activity and Prewriting Activity to obtain sufficient background information on the concept of a utopian community. This term will be important in helping you to create your new ending, and to review the story elements including theme, setting, and plot. Good Luck!


Research Activity - Discovering the “Perfect” World

Step One:  What is a Utopia?


Use the following websites to research the concept of “Utopia.”  The second website has lots of detailed information on Utopia.  Decide which parts are relevant to your project.


Definition of Utopia


Utopian Philosophy:  How to Achieve it; Merging Reality and Utopia; and Views of What Utopia May Be Like



Step Two:  Define Perfect!

Visit the four sites of Utopias that exist today.  Use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast two of your choice.


The Acorn Community of Virginia


The Farm in Tennessee


Twin Oaks Community in Virginia


Victory City – A City Under One Roof






Prewriting Activities

Before you begin writing your own ending, answer the following questions to review the last chapter of the book:

1.     Jonas and Gabriel were cold and tired. Gabriel was getting weaker. How did Jonas find the strength to go on?

2.     What result did Jonas’s brief encounter with sunshine have on him?

3.     Jonas “was aware with certainty and joy that below, ahead, they were waiting for him; and that they were waiting, too, for the baby.” Why was Jonas so certain?

The ending of The Giver has been interpreted in two very different ways. Perhaps Jonas is remembering his Christmas memory - one of the most beautiful that the Giver gave to him - as he and Gabriel are freezing to death, falling into a dreamlike coma in the snow. Or perhaps Jonas does hear music and, with his special vision, is able to perceive the warm house where people are waiting to greet him. In her acceptance speech for the Newbery Medal, Lois Lowry mentioned both possibilities, but would not confirm whether one or the other was correct. Visit to read the author’s own explanations about the ending.

Requirements for the ending:

1.     Your ending should be at least two paragraphs.

2.     Visit to review the basic elements of a paragraph.

3.     Your ending should fully explain what happened to Jonas and Gabriel.

4.     Pay attention to the grammar and spelling.

5.     HAVE FUN!






You will be evaluated in the following 4 areas:




Social Studies

  • Did your group gain an understanding of a utopia?(10 pts.)
  • Did your group learn about the four different utopias existing today? (10pts.)
  • Did your group compare and contrast two utopian societies using a Venn diagram? (10 pts.)


Language Arts



  • Quality and organization of ideas. (5 pts.)
  • Word choice. (5 pts.)
  • Support of ideas. (5 pts.)
  • Grammar usage. (5 pts.)
  • Spelling. (5 pts.)
  • Punctuation. (5 pts.)




  • Does your family tree show at least 4 levels of generations? (10 pts.)
  • Is your family tree organized so it looks good and is easy to understand? (5 pts.)
  • Does your family tree contain photographs or family stories? (5 pts.)
  • Can you explain your research procedure to other students who have never created a family tree before? (5 pts.)



  • Did your group work cooperatively in taking notes and comprehending terms while visiting the specified web sites? (5 pts.)
  • Did your group learn how to make other colors by mixing the Primary colors? (5 pts.)
  • Is your painting scene taken from the book and in full color? (5 pts.)
  • Can your group explain how they mixed colors to obtain their final result in their painting? (5 pts.)







If you enjoyed reading the Giver, you may also like to read other books by Lois Lowry. Lowry wrote Gathering Blue, which is not actually a sequel, but a companion novel set in the same future time, but in a different place, where you will meet Kira. A very careful reader will find a reference to Jonas in Gathering Blue. The author has also just finished writing the third book, which will link the first two.  Jonas and Kira will both appear in the new book, but the main character is Matt, a character from Gathering Blue. The new book will be called Messenger and the author says it may just answer some of the questions that still remain in your mind after reading the first two books.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Science and Art

While Jonas was throwing an apple back and forth, he suddenly noticed that it changed.  He was beginning to perceive color.  You will learn how color is perceived by the human eye.  You will also learn about the Primary colors, the color spectrum, and color mixing.    


Step One:  Learn about colors – There’s More than Meets the Eye…

1.  Divide into groups and visit the following web sites:

(note - everyone in the group should be taking notes and comprehending terms)






2.  Each group is to read through their notes together, discuss their findings, and write a short paragraph reflecting on what they have learned.


Step Two:  Bring your ideas to life!

1.You are going to bring the utopian society from The Giver to life by adding color.  Each group will be given supplies: paper, art brushes, and paint. Your task is to paint a favorite scene from the book in full color.  It will be necessary to practice mixing the colors before you start your painting.


2.  Each group will present their paintings to the rest of the class and explain how they mixed the colors to achieve their final result.

Art and History

Family Tree

Jonah was frustrated because he did not know his grandparents or anything about his true family.  You will be building a family tree to learn about your family. Please complete the following activities in order:


Step One:  Who are these people you live with?

1. Tonight at the dinner table, you are to question everyone about his or her knowledge of your family and its history.  Begin by listing each person’s birth date and place of birth; then literally branch out from there, listing cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents -- maybe even some great-great-grandparents. With some knowledge of when and where they lived, you can perhaps come up with some ideas about what their lives were like.



Step Two:  How do you grow a Family Tree?

1. Visit the following website and write a letter to the National Genealogical Society.  Be sure to include the information they request, have the letter proofread by each group member and your teacher, and then mail it.  They will send you sources for continuing your family tree.


2. Visit This site will provide you with many genealogy sites on the World Wide Web.  Use these sites as references in constructing your family tree.



Step Three:  Plant your tree to last a lifetime…

1. When   you have gathered all of your information, draw your family tree on a piece of posterboard, perhaps leaving places for photographs and/or a brief story about each person -- what a delightful surprise it will be for visiting relatives!





1.     Recognize the importance and function of figurative language.

2.     Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and synthesizing).

3.     Analyze interactions between characters in literary text and how the interactions affect the plot.

4.     Explain and analyze how the context of setting and the author’s choice of point of view impact a literary text.





1.     Formulate writing ideas and identify a topic appropriate to the purpose and audience.

2.     Determine the usefulness of organizers and apply appropriate pre-writing tasks.

3.     Use correct spelling conventions.

4.     Use correct punctuation and capitalization.

5.     Demonstrate understanding of the grammatical conventions of the English language.

6.     Evaluate the usefulness and credibility of data and sources.

7.     Organize information from various resources and select appropriate sources to support central ideas, concepts and themes.

8.     Communicate findings, reporting on the substance and processes orally, visually, and in writing or through multimedia.





Credits & References

The Giver, by Lois Lowry. 1994

The Giver L-I-T Guide, Grades 5 to 9, Educational Impressions, Inc., 1995.

Teacher CyberGuide, The Giver by Lois Lowry,, By Virginia Frank

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