Mensa for Kids – I need a Super Hero Unit

I Need a Superhero

Download the PDF version of this lesson plan.


Hereos pin

The idea of the hero is something that even very small children understand at some level. Many perennially favorite picture books feature heroic characters (such as Max in Where the Wild Things Are — a retelling of Homer’s Odyssey). As children grow, their exposure to different manifestations of the hero broadens. They encounter heroes in television, movies, books, magazines and music, and on the pages of their local newspapers.

The heroic archetype features prominently in literary analysis at the high school level. A clear understanding of, and the ability to manipulate and apply, this idea is critical to any approach to world literature for the high school student. Unlike most of the Mensa Foundation’s lesson plans, this one includes the reading of a long novel as its culminating assignment.

This lesson plan was designed to tie into the Mensa Hero Bracket Challenge that began in the October 2010 issue of the Mensa Bulletin, with the results announced in the March 2011 issue. It is not necessary to read the article, however, for students to benefit from the lesson plan. If you are a member of Mensa, you (or your students) may read about the Hero Bracket Challenge in the October 2010 issue.

Guiding Questions

  • What makes a hero?
  • Where do we find heroes?
  • How are heroes in books different from heroes in real life?
  • What is the journey of the hero and how does the archetype manifest itself?

Learning Objectives
After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to:

  • Explain what makes a hero and the elements of the heroic journey.
  • Recognize heroic figures in multiple media.
  • Analyze a literary work for the heroic archetype.
  • Analyze a piece of literature for elements of the hero and the heroic journey.
  • Write an essay comparing and contrasting heroes in two works.


  • Ensure Internet access to look up relevant sites.
  • Get a copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
  • Print out copies of this plan as needed.

Kids Write 4 Kids Contest – deadline March 31, 2017


It’s Story Time!

Are your students sharing stories on Instagram, or Snap Chat?  Do they write outlandish stories for classroom assignments that bring tears to your eyes? Kids Write 4 Kids is seeking children in grades 4 – 8, who have an interest in sharing tales of adventures, travel or something that makes them giggle.

Kids Write 4 Kids is an annual writing challenge that provides winner(s) with the opportunity to be a published author before high school. In addition to author fame, the annual proceeds from book sales are donated to that year’s winners’ schools. School(s) are also provided with the option of selling their author’s book for fundraising. Winner(s) will have an opportunity to take part in the following year’s judging panel.

Kids Write 4 Kids has published 10 winning titles from youth authors across Canada. These books are available in the Apple iBookstore, Amazon Kindle and Kobo. Get these links at our website.

Want to know more about the experience? Watch this video that Safaa Ali, one of our first authors, shared with us, on how Kids Write 4 Kids impacted her and boosted her confidence.

View contest details here

For tips on writing a good story, visit

You can also visit here to take a look at some of the previously published Kids Write 4 Kids ebooks.


Anti-Bullying: The Validation Project

Founded in January 2013 by teen Valerie Weisler, The Validation Project is an international organization committed to uniting teenagers worldwide to use their unique talents to make their positive mark on the world.

They give teens:

  • volunteering opportunities according to their interests

  • leadership resources

  • connections with mentors in their desired field

  • recommendation for college

  • community service hours

  • proof that your age is not a barrier to make a mark

In addition to working with more than five thousand young people one-on-one, we also unite all our Validators through international campaigns. Our teens use their leadership skills and talents to implement ways to raise awareness and make an impact for a specific cause they’re passionate about. To date, we’ve raised $40,000 worth of items for people in need and raised awareness of 

  • domestic violence

  • bullying

  • homelessness

  • special needs 

  • advocating for equality


Continue reading

Everyone Was an Artist in Kindergarten

“A lot of this starts happening in the fourth grade,” …It’s not just a fear of failure, It’s a fear of being judged. Creativity is as much about the ability to come up with ideas as it is about the courage to act on those ideas… He calls it creative confidence.

Let’s keep creative confidence alive in the classrooms!

Read the complete article here:…/in-kindergarten-everyo…/373659/

Developing a Growth Mindset

The following article highlights a new approach that the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) is embracing.

In a mark-based school system, I believe this mindset could be healthy for children who don’t get all As.

“…Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?”

But when you start viewing things as mutable, the situation gives way to the bigger picture.

“This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments, everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

This is important because it can actually change what you strive for and what you see as success. By changing the definition, significance, and impact of failure, you change the deepest meaning of effort.

Check out the original article!

25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

Cited From:

Toronto Star: Classroom Connection – What does social justice mean to you?

Teachers, if you are looking for an authentic purpose and audience for student writing, media or art, you may be interested in what the Toronto Star is launching below.  They will be releasing newspaper sets (similar to what they released on the wars at Remembrance Day, and what we received at networking) in the spring.

Classroom Connection: What Does Social Justice Mean to You? 

TEACHERS: This spring, we will be launching a new Social Justice activity workbook for schools in Canada.

We want YOUR students to help DESIGN the front cover
by answering the question:
What does social justice mean to you?

Schools play an important role in setting the tone for the ways people live in the broader community; and therefore are at the heart of social change.

Terms of entry

  • Submission must be made by a certified Canadian teacher
  • By submitting your entries you agree to allow Toronto Star Newspapers Limited to include your submission to form a word cloud, which will be used to create the front cover for our social justice resource to schools. There will be no compensation made for participating in this project. If space permits, the resource may list all the names of the schools that participated in forming the word cloud.