A Sound of Thunder: The Butterfly Effect.



            During a reading ofRay Badbruy’s “A Sound of Thunder” students predict the ending at various points in the story.  These predictions become the basis for a creative writing assignment where they rewrite the ending to create a different reality for Ravis and Eckels to return to.  A discussion also occurs involving the time travel and the ideas and problems associated with fooling around with nature and science. 



            I think this lesson teaches students to think outside the box about cause and effect.  They are at an age where they are just starting to understand that actions have far reaching consequences and this lesson really allows them to look at consequences from a different perspective.  They can look at how small changes can create chaos.  I think the time travel also allows students to examine the role of science in our society.  By discussing whether or not we should time travel maybe examining the deeper questions how man should manipulate, use science in our lives. 



            Students will

                        Correctly predict the ending of “A Sound of Thunder”

                        Recognize 3 clues to the ending of the “A Sound of Thunder”

                        Analyze how time travel works in the story 

                        Understand the Butterfly Effect



Day One:

  • Show a small clip from “Back to the Future” scene describing the perils of time travel.
  • After the movie, as a class create a list of time travel knowledge.  (What happens when you travel?  What’s different when you come back?)
  • Begin reading “A Sound of Thunder” 
    • NOTE:  During the story stop to have student jot down their predictions about what will happen in the story.  Using both the list we created and the story have them predict what will happen next.  Ex.  First have them predict what the sound is.  Right before they head off ask: Will they kill the dinosaur?  Will they survive?
    • After the students have a chance to write down their predictions have one or two share with the class.
  • Mini-lecture about the butterfly effect.  Perhaps show the scene in Jurassic Park about the effect.  (After you read the paragraph where Travis explains the butterfly effect)  Ask the class to predict what would happen if in the story they killed the wrong t-rex? (ONLY IF IN NEED OF TIME otherwise can occur in Day Two)
  • Complete the story. 
  • Assign homework (see assignment section)

Day Two:

  • Review of the story. (10 min)
  • Disscussion:  (15-20 min)
    • Discuss student’s predictions.  How close were they?  Did anybody nail it?  How did you formulate your predictions?  What clues in the story helped you guess what would happen?  Is anyone’s story better than this one? 
    • Do you ever want to travel into the future?  In the past?  Where, when and why?  Who would you want to talk to if you could? 
    • Look at the characters (rehearsed in responding to question 2 in homework)
    • Discuss the effects of time travel.  In the story, in the movies, in the Simpson’s episode.  What is the message about time travel?  Good/bad?  What can we learn through time travel? 
    • Discuss the butterfly effect (perhaps if didn’t have time yesterday, lecture on the butterfly effect and do the Jurassic Park clip) and how small changes create chaos?  The different possibilities shown in Simpson Tree House of Terror 5.  IF the kids have seen it talk about the different world created. 
    • If we could, should we time travel?  Do you think it would be a good idea?  What would happen? 
  • Give the assignment:  rewrite the end of the story.  Start your story with 1999. 2000. 2055.  The Machine Stopped.  What happens now?  Use your predictions from yesterday as a starting point.  Explain how the single butterfly’s death progressed to the world you’ve created. 
  • Allow the students to write.  If students begin to finish, have them find a partner and read each others writings.  



            After Day One:  Have the students write a small paragraph answering questions 2,

4, and 5 on page 693 of their textbooks.

            After Day Two:  Complete their creative rewriting of the end of the story. 


            Students will use their predictions to rewrite the ending of “A Sound of Thunder”

            Students will discuss the foreshadowing as they/write discuss their predictions.

            Students will illustrate the butterfly effect by describing how 1 dead butterfly

leads to the world they are creating.