My neighbor across the street when I was a kid had all the best movies on VHS. I remember going across the street to her house and watching all of the classic Disney movies. Then when we moved to Texas, we would rent movies from Blockbuster, yes I know, back when it was still in business, and I would still rent those classic Disney movies, including 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, because I loved the song at the beginning. Then I grew up and discovered 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was a groundbreaking science fiction book (thank you Back to the Future 3), and I was curious to read it. This curiosity came true when the kids read it in 9th grade as part of their speculative fiction book and a movie for the year.
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Professor Aronnax has been sent off to research a monster that is attacking the whaling ships and merchant vessels in the ocean. However, once he has set off to discover what is going on, he quickly discovers things are not as they seemed. The sea monster was an underwater naval vessel, and he is taken captive by the owner of the vessel.
Like so many of his other books, Jules Verne predicts technology that is coming, and also sets out to educate the reader. Large portions of the book are taken up with his speculation about life on the bottom of the ocean and his theories on what it might be like to live underwater.
As we read it, I was caught up in how much I was reminded of Jacques Cousteau and I wonder how much he was inspired by this book.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea book club
We used a literary guide I found on Teachers Pay Teachers, but I’m not linking to it because it assumed you used an abridged version, and the kids complained like crazy about it.
The guide repeated questions several times, and they weren’t like “With this new knowledge, what do you think?” No, it was literally cut and paste from previous chapter questions.
So, we chucked that out halfway through and talked about Jules Verne’s theories, and whether we thought his ideas were possible. We compared his ideas to the technology that actually happened.
It was an interesting discussion. But, if you want some more ideas and materials:
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie night
I learned as we watched 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea my taste in movies has changed from when I was a kid. Now as an adult I found the movie somewhat slow.
All that said, I still love this song. It’s just fun and silly.
This was a bit less of a meal, and much more of snacks, lots and lots of snacks. Though, there was the ability to make a sub sandwich, eh eh, nudge nudge
- porthole- we used fudge stripes, but I just saw these coconut dreams that look rather delicious, and I’d happily switch it out for these, because COCONUT and CARAMEL! YUM!
- crabs- orange slice gummies with candy eyes, I thought these were absolutely adorable, and I love orange slice gummies
- squid- nutter butters (this one has double the peanut butter mix, which makes it easier to use) with licorice (I do not need 5 pounds of licorice, but look at that bin!), it was supposed to be licorice laces, but I couldn’t find them, so I hacked up licorice. Of course, the more traditional would be using hot dogs and spaghetti, but last time I did that for the Percy Jackson movies, no one ate them. NO ONE
- Clams- Nilla wafers with frosting between
- Seaweed- fruit by the foot on skewers, which looked somewhat appropriately wavy
- kelp- twizzlers
- sailors- sour patch kids, because my kids keep asking for them, I had to put a moratorium on them, you could of course make gingerbread men for this
- Nautilus- materials to put together a sub sandwich
- sea water- 2 liter of Sprite
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More 8th grade ideas
While we read this in 9th grade as part of our Speculative Fiction plan, this is actually an 8th grade level book, so here are a few more ideas to try in 8th grade.
- 8th-grade homeschool curriculum
- How to dye fabric with natural dye
- Journey to the Center of the Earth
- Ancient Sumeria booklist
- 42 Electronics