Journey to the Center of the Earth

The focus of this guide on Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth is to place students in the exciting roles of explorers, with the teacher acting as supporter and guide.
Teaching Strategies:
9 |
10 |
11 |
Updated on: November 6, 2000
Page 4 of 4
Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth

Through Participating in Activities and/or Research:

1. Read other books by Jules Verne and compare them to Journey to the Center of the Earth.

2. Read biographical information on Jules Verne and speculate on why he portrayed characters as he did.

3. Research Iceland. How accurate is Verne's description? How accurate is Verne's interpretation of the literary of Icelanders? Present an oral report to the class, including photographs, of contemporary Iceland, its geography and people.

4. Spend time doing research on the equipment the Professor used. Is there such a thing as a manometer, a Ruhmkorf coil?

5. Select pieces of music to utilize in a fiction or video production of the novel. Write or explain orally why your selections are appropriate.

6. To get an idea of how much Verne knew, be part of an all-class science fair in which students share information and visuals on such things as compasses, internal temperature of the earth, earliest species of plants and animals and where they originated, and scientists of the time. Brainstorm and list all the possible topics found in the novel. Select one topic to research and present it to the class.

7. Critique the actions of the Professor in exploring the interior of the earth from the point of view of an environmentalist.

8. What does contemporary scientific evidence suggest as the place where humans originated? How would the Professor have reacted to this information?

9. Write and illustrate a picture book for children that is interesting but also teaches them about science. Utilize fields of science about which Verne writes.

10. Do research on some of the real explorers of the late 1800s mentioned in the Afterword such as John Speke, Sir Richard Burton, Henry Morton Stanley and David Livingston, and the 1890s explorers of the Antarctica. Read some of their journals. Look at their illustrations and maps of their trips.

14. Gather information to present to the gentlemen of the 19th century to show them that women would be capable of this trip. Draw on your knowledge of women in sports and science.

Through Using the Internet

Users of the Internet can simply type in Jules Verne's name and will find an interesting list of information. The sites will have biographical information and information on Verne's works, as well as reprints of interviews with Verne. These interviews give the reader a good sense of Verne's personality, interests, and work habits. Other sites review recent criticism of Verne's work. Students can do much of their research on the Internet.

Through Reading Young Adult Literature

Students interested in comparing some of the themes in Journey to the Center of the Earth to themes in other books may wish to read some of the books that follow.


Farmer, Nancy. The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm. Orchard Books, 1994.
Hautman, Pete. Mr. Was. Simon & Schuster, 1996
Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass. Knopf, 1995.
Pullman, Philip. The Tin Princess. Random House, 1994.
Zindel, Paul. Loch. HarperCollins, 1994.

Battling the Forces of Nature

Campbell, Eric. The Shark Callers. Harcourt Brace, 1994.
Hobbs, Will. Down River. Atheneum, 1991.
Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. Bradbury, 1987.

Going on a Journey

Avi. Beyond the Western Sea - Book One: The Escape from Home. Orchard Books, 1996.
Avi. Beyond the Western Sea - Book Two: Lord Kirkle's Money. Orchard Books, 1996.
Barron, T. A. The Lost Years of Merlin. Philomel Books, 1996.
Bennett, James. Dakota Dream. Scholastic, 1994.
Creech, Sharon. Walk Two Moons. HarperCollins, 1994.
Farmer, Nancy. A Girl Called Disaster. Orchard Books, 1996.
Paulsen, Gary. The Car. Harcourt Brace, 1994.
Talbert, Marc. A Sunburned Prayer. Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Temple, Frances. The Ramsey Scallop. Harper, 1994.
Voigt, Cynthia. On Fortune's Wheel. Fawcett Juniper, 1990.
Vick,Helen Hughes. Walker of Time. Harbinger House, 1993.
Vick, Helen Hughes. Walker's Journey Home, 1995.
Watkins, Yoko Kawashima. So Far From the Bamboo Grove. William Morrow, 1986.

Journeying Within

Bauer, Marion Dane. Face to Face. Clarion Books, 1991.
Beals, Melba Pattillo. Warriors Don't Cry. Pocket Books, 1995.
Block, Francesca Lia. Baby Be-Bop. HarperCollins, 1995.
Carter, Alden. Up Country. Scholastic, 1989.
Dorris, Michael. Sees Behind Trees. Hyperion, 1996.
Garden, Nancy. Good Moon Rising. Farrar Straus Giroux, 1996.
Garland, Sherry. Silent Storm. Harcourt Brace, 1993.
Talbert, Marc. Heart of a Jaguar. Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Voigt, Cynthia. Come a Stranger. Atheneum, 1986.

Coming of Age/Growing Up

Burks, Brian. Runs With Horses. Harcourt Brace, 1995.
Brooks, Martha. Two Moons in August. Groundwood Books, 1991.
Hudson, Jan. Dawn Rider. Scholastic, 1990.
Klass, David. California Blue. Scholastic, 1994.
Lasky, Kathryn. Memoirs of a Bookbat. Harcourt Brace, 1994.
Lynch, Chris. Iceman. HarperCollins, 1994.
Plummer, Louise. My Name is Sus5an Smith. The 5 is Silent. Dell, 1991.
Soto, Gary. Jesse. Harcourt Brace, 1994.
Stroup, Barbara. Wish You Were Here. Hyperion, 1994.
Staples, Donna. Arena Beach. Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Willey, Margaret. The Melinda Zone. Bantam, 1993.
Williams-Garcia, Rita. Fast Talk on a Slow Track. Penguin Books, 1991.

Science Related

Barron, T. A. The Ancient One. Tor Book, 1992.
Barron,T. A. Heartlight. The Putnam & Grosset Book Group, 1990.
Barron,T. A. The Merlin Effect. The Putnam & Grosset Book Group, 1992.
Dickinson, Peter. A Bone from A Dry Sea. Bantam, 1992.
Dickinson, Peter. Eva. Dell, 1988.
Katz, Welwyn Wilton. Whalesinger. Dell, 1990.


Verne, Jules. Journey to the Center of the Earth. Trans. William Butcher. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1992 ( a new translation with an insightful 23 page introduction and useful end notes).

Taves, Brian and Stephen Michaluk, Jr. The Jules Verne Encyclopedia. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1996.

See the Signet Classic edition of Journey to the Center of the Earth for a more complete bibliography of works by Jules Verne and biography and criticism.


Diana Mitchell, past-president of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English, is currently co-director of the Red Cedar Writing Project at Michigan State University, a site of the National Writing Project. She taught middle school and high school English for twenty-nine years. At the state level she is President of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English and co-editor of Language Arts Journal of Michigan. At the national level she is on the board of directors of the Conference on English Education and program chair of WILLA - Women in Literature and Life Assembly. She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in English at Michigan State University. Publications include Explorations in the Teaching of English, co-authored with Steve Tchudi, a chapter in Adolescent Literature as a Complement to the Classics, edited by Joan Kaywell, an essay in Writers for Young Adults, edited by Ted Hipple, and a monthly column of Teaching Ideas in the English Journal.


Arthea (Charlie) J.S. Reed, Ph. D. is past-president of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN). She is the author of three books in the fields of literature and teaching.: Reaching Adolescents: The Young Adult Book and the School, Comics to Classics: A Guide to Books for Teens and Preteens, and Presenting Harry Mazer. In addition, she is the Verne or co-Verne of numerous books in the fields of foundations of education and teaching methods. She was editor of The ALAN Review for six years and has co-edited the Penguin/Signet Classic teacher's guide series since 1988.

In May 1996, Dr. Reed retired after 17 years as a professor of education and six years as chairperson of education at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. After nearly 30 years in teaching at the elementary, secondary, and college/university level, she is now pursuing a new career in education as Executive Director of Development and Education for Northwestern Mutual Life in Asheville, N.C. Dr. Reed and her husband, Don, live with their two dogs and a cat on a mountain top in Fairview, N.C.

W. Geiger (Guy) Ellis, Professor Emeritus, University of Georgia, received his A. B. and M. Ed. degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Ed. D. from the University of Virginia. For most of his career, Guy has been active in teaching adolescent literature, having introduced the first courses on the subject at both the University of Virginia and the University of Georgia. He developed and edited The ALAN Review from 1978 to 1984, changing its focus from a newsletter to a refereed journal His research has had heavy emphasis on the content of literature instruction.