A high school teacher conducts a social experiment to teach his students about the atrocities of the Holocaust. However, the wave starts to spin out of control for Mr. Ross and the students of Gordon High School.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
11th Grade Informational Text 1490L
Introduction to the Holocaust
Passage Summary: This informational text explains what the Holocaust was, who it affected, who carried it out, and how it ended.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text before students read the novel to provide background information on Hitler, the Nazi Party and the Holocaust — the historical source of inspiration for social experiment that takes place in “The Wave.” Pair “The Wave” with “Introduction to the Holocaust,” and ask students to discuss if they believe the Holocaust could happen in today’s world. Ask students to use information from the text and history to support their answer.
9th Grade Informational Text 1190L
Passage Summary: The drive to conform to group norms is a powerful force in most people’s lives. This informational text about conformity helps explain why people tend to match their beliefs and behaviors to those around them.
When and How to Pair: Have students read this text before reading chapter six of “The Wave” in order to apply social theories to their character analysis. Pair “Conformity,” with “The Wave,” and ask students to consider how the three major types of conformity apply to the way the students at Gordon High conform to the new norms created by the wave.
7th Grade Psychology 1190L
The Blue-Eyed, Brown-Eyed Exercise
Passage Summary: In this article, students can learn about the well-known experiment from the 1960s that was used to teach young children about prejudice.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text after students have read the novel in order to generate discussion on the merits of social experiments within the classroom. Have students compare the Blue-eyed, Brown-eyed Exercise to the wave at Gordon School. What were the intentions of Ben Ross and Jane Elliot in each experiment? In what ways were the experiments successful or failures? In what ways were the student responses predictable or unpredictable?
9th Grade Informational Text 1260L
The Third Wave
Passage Summary: The Third Wave was an experimental social movement created by high school history teacher Ron Jones in 1967 to explain how the German populace could accept the actions of the Nazi regime during the Second World War. While he taught his students about Nazi Germany during his "Contemporary World History" class, Jones found it difficult to explain how the German people could accept the actions of the Nazis, and decided to create a social movement as a demonstration of the appeal of fascism. As the movement grew outside his class and began to number in the hundreds, Jones began to feel that the movement had spiraled out of control.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text after students complete the novel in order for students to analyze and compare fictional and nonfictional accounts of the same event. Pair “The Wave” and “The Third Wave,” and ask students to discuss the ending of “The Wave” and the outcome of the experiment. How does the novel compare to the actual account of the real wave experiment? Do you think this exercise was effective? Why or why not? Use evidence from the texts to support your answer.