Tolkien in Education Day

October 5, 2014

College of Information Studies, University of Maryland iSchool

The Mithril Turtle is University of Maryland’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Literature, science, history, political science, language, and technology are just a few of the areas that can be explored with Middle Earth as a starting point. Mithril Turtle provides opportunities to critically explore the literary, cinematic, cultural, and scientific ideas associated with Tolkien’s epic.

Tolkien in Education Day is an opportunity for Middle School and High School students and educators to visit UMD’s campus and participate in presentations and discussions about Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

EVENTS ARE FREE BUT SPACE IS LIMITED.  TO REGISTER, EMAIL MBUTLER5@UMD.EDU.  

UMD is a large campus.  For their safety, students should be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times.  

 

Student Conference:  9:30 – 10:30 AM

Teachers, school librarians, and other educators are invited to nominate middle and high school students to give 3-5 minute presentations of their own ideas, critiques, and questions about Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit.  Students might consider questions or ideas such as (but not limited to):

  • Which is Gollum, a hero or a villain? Why?
  • Are giant eagles physically possible? (What would make it possible for a giant eagle to fly? Use low-tech prototyping tools to describe the eagle)?
  • Is it possible to create a metal sword that glows in the dark? (How would a maker create a sword that glows in the dark? Use low-tech protoyping materials to design a sword)
  • Why did Peter Jackson, have Faramir take Frodo to Minas Tirith (which is not in the book)?
  • Why is Boromir frightened by Galadriel?
  • What forms of government are present in Middle Earth (and which one works best)?
  • What do elves eat when they are traveling and what does it taste like? (What would you prepare for the elves to eat during their travels?

The Mithril Turtle Student Conference is designed to provide students experience with what an interdisciplinary academic research conference is like.

To nominate a student, send the following to Michelle Butler (mbutler5@umd.edu) by Oct 1:

  • Student Name
  • Grade Level and School
  • Short title, topic, or question description (1-2 lines)
  • Nominating educator’s name, title, e-mail address, and phone number

Nominations are limited to 2 per educator and preference will be given to nominations in order of receipt.

Space for the student conference is very limited, so educators are encouraged to submit nominations as soon as possible.

 

Middle School Student Workshop.  11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Middle school students are invited to bring their parent/guardian and participate in a workshop about Lord of the Rings.  If your students loved reading The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings and want to think about and talk about the books, Jackson’s films, and why we still read the books after more than 6 decades, this is the place for them.

  • We will meet first as a large group and explain the day’s challenge (11:00 – 11:15 AM)
  • Then we will break into small, moderated groups to work on the challenge (11:15 – 11:45 AM))
  • Each group will have a moderator and a detailed description of the workshop’s thought challenge
  • Students will work together to brainstorm ideas and develop a response to the workshop’s thought challenge using both written and visual tools (11:45 AM – 12:15 PM)
  • Each group will then present their ideas in response to the thought challenge to the large group (12:15 – 1:00 PM)

High School Student Workshop.  1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

High school students are invited to bring their parent/guardian and participate in a workshop about Lord of the Rings.  If your students loved reading The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings and want to think about and talk about the books, Jackson’s films, and why we still read the books after more than 6 decades, this is the place for them.  We will also consider why/how we read Lord of the Rings in college, giving students a taste of how discussion and literary analysis works in a college classroom.

  • We will meet first as a large group and explain the day’s challenge (1:30 – 1:45 PM)
  • Then we will break into small, moderated groups to work on the challenge (1:45 – 2:15 PM))
  • Each group will have a moderator and a detailed description of the workshop’s thought challenge
  • Students will work together to brainstorm ideas and develop a response to the workshop’s thought challenge using both written and visual tools (2:15 PM – 2:45 PM)
  • Each group will then present their ideas in response to the thought challenge to the large group (2:45 – 3:30 PM)

 

Teachers and Librarians Workshop.  1:30 – 3:30 PM

Teachers and librarians are invited to participate in a workshop about Tolkien in secondary education.

English teachers and others who directly teach literature:

  • will brainstorm ideas about using The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings in the classroom
  • develop lesson plans for either The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings to address the RELA standards
  • consider how the same approaches and techniques might be applied to other works of literature

Teachers of other subjects, not directly dealing with literature (including reading specialists, ESOL teachers, librarians, etc.):

  • will brainstorm ways to introduce students to or deepen their understanding of concepts, characters, plot elements, etc. from The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings in their own subjects
  • develop lessons plans or activities that utilize The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings to explain, clarify, or increase interest in an aspect of the teacher’s main subject
  • consider how the same approaches and techniques might be applied to other works of literature or popular culture to increase student interest in and understanding of a subject