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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Unit Study: Intro

"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne makes a really good literature unit to combine with oceanograpy, marine biology, seamanship, the science fiction genre, etc. There is quite a bit of high-interest, page turning material here.

As with many classics, there are several versions of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on the market. The edition that I am using for this unit was originally published by Classic Press, Inc. in 1968.

The literature unit itself will be published in the following way:
Part I: Chapters 1 - 5 of Section 1
Part II: Chapters 6 - 10 of Section 1
Part III: Chapters 11 - 15 of Section 1
Part IV: Chapters 16 - 20 of Section 1
Part V: Chapters 21 - 23 of Section 1
Part VI: Chapters 1 - 5 of Section 2
Part VII: Chapters 6 - 10 of Section 2
Part VIII: Chapters 11 - 15 of Section 2
Part IX: Chapters 16 - 20 of Section 2
Part X: Chapters 21 - 23 of Section 2

Each part will include suggested vocabulary, comprehension questions, activities, and miscellaneous useful links.

If you would like to download a free copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, one of the best downloads that Iíve found is available from http://www.knowledgerush.com/books/2000010.html. Its a no frills, continuous copy of the book.

Online-Literature.com also has 20,000 Leagues as well as several over works by the author Jules Verne. And at http://www.selfknowledge.com/446au.htm there is a realaudio version of the book you can listen to!

Book Summary from http://www.people.virginia.edu/~mtp0f/flips/jules.html
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is about the adventures of Captain Nemo and his crew aboard the submarine, Nautilus. One day ships start sinking, particularly ones dealing with war. Survivors think it is a big whale. A harpoon ship goes out to kill it, but finds out that the whale is actually the Nautilus. The most interesting part of this book was probably the Nautilus itself. It is shaped to look like a fish, with a large metal fin on top used to ram and sink the ships. The camouflage of the boat being shaped like a whale works, up until the part where the Nautilus takes on a few passengers from one of the sinking ships. Another intriguing part of this book was Captain Nemo. He is the kind of character that you neither like nor dislike. I say this, because of some of Nemoís actions. Captain Nemo hates war, and throughout the book, he uses his submarine to destroy all kinds of war related ships. You would like him for trying to put an end to war, but dislike his method (destroying ships and killing innocent lives).

Jules Verne Biography from Online-Literature.com:
Jules Gabriel Verne was born in 1828, in Nates, France. Jules' parents were of a sefaring tradition, one factor which influenced his writings. As a boy, Jules Verne ran off to be a cabin boy on a merchant ship, but he was cought and returned to his parents. In 1847 Jules was sent to study law in Paris. While there, however, his passion for theatre grew. Later in 1850, Jules Verne's first play was published. His father was outraged when he heard that Jules was not going to continue law, so he disconinued the money he ws giving him to pay for his expenses in paris. This forced Verne to make money by selling his stories. After spending many hours in Paris libraries studying geology, engeneering, and astronomy, Jules Verne published his first novel Five Weeks in a Balloon. Soon he started writing novels such as Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Because of the popularity of these and other novels, Jules Verne became a very rich man. In 1876, he bought a large yacht and sailed around Europe. The last novel befor Jules Verne's death was The Invasion of the Sea. Jules Verne died in the city of Amines in 1905.

These are some introductory activities to prepare for the reading of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

My first suggestion to you would be to find a biography of Jules Verne. Verne was very unique in that both he and H.G. Wells helped start the science fiction genre and that many of their works appear prophetic in vision. Even if you donít read a full biographical sketch of his life, several of the links below lead you to information which will help you gain a better understanding of Jule Verne:


Below I've included links to other on-line ideas to use with this unit. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find much that alread exists; but, that's OK, that just means I'll make up more as I go over each part of the unit.

Arts and Crafts:

Arts and Crafts are wonderful ways in which to expand on a theme or story. Iíve listed several themed crafts below that you may want to do before or concurrently with while reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Iíll also add others through out the various parts of this unit that are specifically appropriate to the various chapters.

Oceans and Sea Theme from Enchanted Learning [Note: there are a large number of neat ideas here!]

Snack and Food Ideas:

Any water, ocean, sea, sea-life, or submarine related snack can be used for this. Check each section of the unit study as they come online for more ideas.

On Line Lessons:



As stated above, as each unit section comes online, I'll have more ideas that you can use. You may decide after reading each section to rearrange when you do some of the different crafts, recipes, activities, etc. That's perfectly fine. This literature unit is just to give you some ideas, not to replace your own creativity. Have fun with it ... and if you find or think up something that I missed, email me and I'll go back and add it to the unit so others can benefit from your resourcefulness.

Have fun!

Link to PART ONE


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