Simulation for the book, The Giver


Part I:  The students work through a computer simulation based on The Giver, a novel depicting an ideal society “in perfect balance,” after having read and discussed the novel.  Through the use of the simulation and additional systems tools, students see how changing as few as one or two variables within a society can have a profound effect within that society.

Part II:  Students apply their understanding of societal dynamics as they work in partnerships to create and present a stock/flow map representing interdependencies and accumulations within a fictional society that they imagine, or within today’s world as they see it.  Part II of the lesson could be done without having worked through the computer simulation.

Lesson Objectives

Curriculum Context


  • Students will predict and analyze, on behavior-over-time graphs (BOTGs) and in writing, the potential effects on key components of The Giver society when making changes on other selected elements of the society.  

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of societal interdependencies by creating and explaining a stock/flow map of the “real world” or an “ideal world.”


Literature Standard and Benchmarks:

Employ strategies to comprehend text.

  • Use graphic organizers in order to clarify the meaning of the text.

  • Connect information and events in text to experience and to related text and sources.

  • Apply knowledge of the organizational structures (e.g., chronological order, compare and contrast, cause and effect relationships, logical order) of text to aid comprehension. 

  • Use reading strategies (e.g., drawing conclusions, determining cause and effect, making inferences, sequencing) to interpret text.

  • Change over time

  • Interdependencies

  • Surfaces and tests assumptions

  • Uses understanding of system structures to identify possible leverage actions



Systems Tools

  • At least one class set of the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry

  • Internet access to The Giver Simulation

  • STELLA® computer modeling software for Part II (available at

  • Computers (one for every two students)

  • Example debrief and stock/flow questionsHandouts/accompanying materials

  • Part I:  5 hours

  • Part II: 3 – 4 hours for map creation; additional time if students present their maps in class

  • Behavior-over-time graphs

  • Computer simulation

  • Causal loops

  • Stock/flow maps

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