Lesson Plan

American Nerd - Nerd, Geek, or Dork?

Introduction activity to American Nerd
Nanci M.
District Technology and Learning Coach
Cherry Creek School District, Aurora, CO
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts

Students will be able to...

  • Analyze to define the words "nerd, geek, dork" and categorize characters into the appropriate category based on their definition

  • Evaluate "Intro" of American Nerd for purpose, focus, and style.


English Language Arts
Grades 11 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Google Drive
Free, Paid

*All tools, instructions, etc. are housed in Schoology, but could easily be used in any other LMS or on a class site.*

Students will start by watching a video, "Nerd vs Geek Rap Battle". They will then create a list of nerds/geeks from popular movies, tv shows, books, etc in a GoogleDoc. The initial discussion will revolve around identifying the similarities and differences between nerds and geeks. This will happen on a collaborative LucidChart (connects to GoogleDrive). We will start by focusing only on nerds and geeks. The idea of dork will be introduced after several comparisons have been added. 

2 Direct Instruction

Together we will read the introduction to American Nerd by Benjamin Nugent on GoogleBooks. I will introduce the authors idea of a nerd (from chapter 1), and explain that he doesn't separate nerds from geeks and dorks, they are all lumped under the same unbrella. The challenge to the students is to come up with their own sucinct definitions for nerds, geeks, and dorks. They will brainstorm on thinking maps, and then find a way to categorize the characters they came up with earlier into these different sections based on their definitions. 

3 Guided Practice

Free, Free to try, Paid

The next step is for students to work on clearly and consiesly share their understanding by creating an infograph using Piktochart. I'll introduce Piktochart (on Chromebooks) and show basics of using it. I will then be available to help students as they continue to work on their infographics. Infographics will be shared with the class via projector. 

4 Journal Writing

Free to try, Paid

Students will add to their Penzu journals by answering the following prompt: 

Write about something (a hobby, activity, sport, past time, etc.) you used to have a passion for, but no longer do. How long were you passionate about this? How did it develop? Why did your passion for it stop?

Students who want to share are able to, but no one is required to. 

5 Wrap up

Free, Paid

Students will wrap up their thinking by answering the following questions in a discussion board on Schoology: 

1. What does he mean by "my journalistic objectivity with regard to my subject matter is seriously compromised"?

2. The final thought says what he's not doing, so what is he actually trying to do by writing this book?

They will then write 2 of their own questions and answer the questions of 2 of their classmates. This will launch us into part 1 of American Nerd next class.