Catching Fire in the New Year: The Hunger Games and Pop Culture as Teaching Tools

One of the most powerful ways an educator can assist students in learning is by creating student relevance. Previously, Ctrl+Alt+Teach has written about using The Hunger Games as a teaching tool via pop culture integration, which creates student relevance, one of the most powerful ways an educator can assist students learning.

In this guest post by Michelle Manno, the Associate Editor at (a fantastic resource created by USC Rossier Online), she discusses the power of integrating pop culture in the classroom and amazing FREE curriculum resource using The Hunger Games Catching Fire as a teaching tool.

As we continue into the new year, it’s important to step back and evaluate how we can better ourselves personally and professionally, as both individuals and educators. Take advantage of this fresh start to reboot your classroom curriculum and use innovative and exciting content that is sure to peak both yours and your students’ interest across content areas. Bringing popular culture into the classroom is a great way to ensure student motivation. Popular literature, movies, television, and music are powerful teaching tools, and by aligning your lesson plans with student favorites, you allow them to become active participants in the learning process.

An excellent way to reboot your curriculum is to use The Hunger Games in the classroom. This sci-fi series has captivated the American public, both on-screen and in Suzanne Collins’ YA literature trilogy. The series’ entertainment value is no secret; Catching Fire was one of the biggest movies of 2013. However, The Hunger Games also holds tremendous educational value, and provides teachers with a wealth of teachable moments across the curriculum.

Having recognized the series’ educational value, and Hunger Games Lessons have teamed up to create Sparking Their Interest – Engaging Students with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, a collection of creative teaching activities that are aligned to the Common Core Standards.

Recognizing the important role of popular culture in the classroom, “Sparking Their Interest” uses the scifi series to teach students in areas such as Biology, Social Studies, and English-Language Arts.

Hunger Games Lessons was created by Tracee Orman, a high school English teacher who immediately recognized the educational value of the trilogy. is an educational resource dedicated to discovering and engaging great teaching around the world. Working closely with USC Rossier Online – a top-ranked teacher preparation program through the University of Southern California – and USC are passionate about arming schools with innovative and high quality teachers, preparing students with the necessary skills for learning in the 21st century.

Sparking Their Interest — Engaging Students With Catching Fire

Keeping your curriculum relevant is key to unlocking student motivation and boosting their engagement in the new year! Scroll through the guide to learn more about how you can use The Hunger Games and popular culture in your classroom.

Michelle Manno is an Associate Editor at where she writes about education reform and pop culture pedagogy. Join the @teachdotcom community on Twitter.

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