This lesson can act as an excellent formative assessment for Jack London's novel The Call of the Wild while simultaneously connecting with mathematics skills (particularly graphing). The attached worksheets are designed for the lesson to be administered after the whole book is completed, but the sheets can easily adjusted for this lesson to take place at any point in the novel. Students will create a line graph that follows Buck's happiness throughout the novel. This type of chart is sometimes referred to as a 'Fever Chart.'
Before this lesson is given, students should have an understanding of how to graph data and create a line graph. To see if students have this knowledge, a line graph can be shown that relates to The Call of the Wild and students can discuss the implications. A chart showing the temperature in the Yukon can form a nice connection. Students can then be told that they are going to think about the novel as a whole (or whatever has been read in class) and create a chart that shows how Buck's mood fluctuates.
Individual or Group?
This activity can be done individually or in a group. It tends to work better in a group since the workload can be daunting and there are various roles students can take. Before actually creating the graph, students should fill out the explanation sheet. This forces them to think critically about their decisions regarding Buck's mood and provide a written justification of their decision. Although the sheet does not specifically call for this, textual evidence can be required in order to promote close reading. If this activity is being done in groups, the chapters can be split among the group to save time.
Constructing the Graph
Once Buck's moods throughout the novel are decided, the graph can be created. Although this task is fairly simple with one student, it can be split up among group members. One member can plot the points, another can double-check the points, and the third can connect the points to create the line graph itself. Once all groups (or students) have completed their graphs, the results can be compared.
There are multiple methods for students to share their findings. Each group can give a brief presentation, the graphs can be copied onto transparencies and laid on top of one another to show similarities and differences, or an online service such as PollEverywhere can be used to digitally poll responses.