Sherlock Holmes Resource Unit

So, here’s that resource unit I promised. I’ve got quizzes and vocab sheets to go with it, but I don’t know how to attach them for download. Are there any file-hosting sites that don’t take things down after thirty days or so? If not, I’ve added a Contact page, so you can reach me via email if you wanft me to send you those other files.

Grade Level/Course: Sixth Grade/Literature

Topic: Mystery Literature with Focus on Sherlock Holmes and Adaptations

A. Introduction

Mystery literature is one of the oldest of the modern genres, pervading pop culture, theater, cinema, literature, art, and common reference. Mystery is also one of the few genres that by necessity encourages active, thoughtful readership and problem solving over the course of the plot. Sherlock Holmes has, over the past century, become the archetype of the fictional detective, even influencing modern police procedure. The purpose of this resource unit is to provide students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the mystery genre and to enable them to pick up on some of the common references to Sherlock Holmes.

B. Instructional Goals

   1. Cognitive

            The student will become familiar with

            a. the structure of a mystery story

            b. the character and personality of Sherlock Holmes

            c. the literary trope of the Watson

            d. the written source materials of the Adventures

            e. the definition and attributes of pastiche (as opposed to source material or adaptation)

            f. the variety of pop cultural references to Sherlock Holmes

   2. Affective

            The student will appreciate

            a. the impact of Sherlock Holmes on modern culture

            b. the alterations necessary for film adaptation

            c. the alterations necessary to cater to a younger audience

            d. the application of complex problem solving in real life as in fiction

C. Instructional Objectives

   1. Cognitive

The student will be able to

a. list the five sequential components of a mystery story

b. connect the five sequential components of a mystery story to plot points in a particular Adventure

c. compare the main character in the source material to the main character in an adaptation and identify the major difference

d. account for 3 considerations filmmakers must take when adapting literature to the screen, based on comparison of an Adventure with the corresponding film

e. describe the character of Sherlock Holmes using at least five adjectives drawn from the source material

f. describe the character of John Watson using at least three adjectives drawn from the source material

g. define the function of the Watson as a literary trope

h. identify the audience for the Adventures and various pastiche

   2. Affective

The student will

a. write a summary of a specified Adventure, identifying each of the component parts

b. state xir opinion of the merits and drawbacks of the mystery genre

c. state connections between the source material and modern pop cultural references

d. describe the detective archetype

   3. Psychomotor

a. imitate standard mystery structure in an outline for a pastiche

b. distinguish between adaptation and pastiche

c. create an original mystery story using the components of a mystery story and the Watson archetype

D. Learning Activities

1. Read from Sherlock Holmes source material, especially A Scandal in BohemiaThe Redheaded LeagueA Study in ScarletThe Final ProblemThe Hound of the Baskervilles

2. Google ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and make note of the contents of the first two pages of results

3. Read from pastiche geared toward children – Basil of Baker Street – and discuss alterations

4. Read from pastiche geared toward adults/women – The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – and discuss alterations

5. Watch film adaptations of specific adventures and compare to the text

6. Watch The Great Mouse Detective and compare to Basil of Baker Street

7. Find lists of pastiche and make note of settings – e.g. Sherlock Holmes in Orbit, Sherlock Holmes in America, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century

8. Trunk activity (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice) – teacher will prepare a representation of the materials listed in the trunk scene prologue and discuss the importance of objects as clues and plot devices. Students will create a list of objects that would represent the stories of their own lives, with a brief explanation for each.

9. Create a chart comparing observed personality traits of Sherlock Holmes or analogous characters in Adventures, Basil of Baker Street, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Granada television series, The Great Mouse Detective

10. Brainstorm a list of practical considerations that could affect the creation of film adaptations

11. Identify the accoutrements of the detective archetype (deerstalker hat, pipe, magnifying glass, etc.) and find examples

12. Act out key scenes from Adventures

13. Word search using vocabulary terms from reading material

14. Illustrate a scene from an Adventure, making sure to include an important clue

15. Discuss red herrings and ask students to identify potential red herrings in the reading material

E. Evaluation Techniques

1. Pretest – ask students to describe the mystery genre and Sherlock Holmes based on their current understanding. Ask them to list any recent references to Sherlock Holmes they can remember encountering in television, literature, cinema, comics, etc.

2.  Group project – chart comparing personality traits between source material, pastiche, & adaptation. Each student must contribute at least three items.

3. Vocabulary sheet for each reading assignment

4. Quiz – students will match events of each Adventure read to the component parts of a mystery story.

5. Class discussion – students will be encouraged to raise questions concerning setting, motives, plot points, and characterization.

F. Resources

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (AC Doyle) [ISBN: 978-0553212419]

      *Suggested – A Scandal in Bohemia

The Redheaded League

The Final Problem

Basil of Baker Street (Eve Titus) [ISBN: 978-0671702878]

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (Laurie R. King) [ISBN: 978-0312427368]

Talking About Detective Fiction (PD James) [ISBN:  978-0307743138]

Sherlock Holmes: the Man and His World (Keating) [ISBN: 978-0785821120]


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Granada) [DVD]

*Suggested – A Scandal in Bohemia

The Redheaded League

The Final Problem

The Great Mouse Detective (Disney) [DVD]

*In conjunction with Basil of Baker Street

Young Sherlock Holmes (Paramount/Amblin) [DVD]

*In conjunction with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice


Project Gutenberg