1. The Harry Potter books are set in England, but the author, J. K. Rowling, lives in Scotland. What has the relationship between England and Scotland been throughout history?
2. Before shopping at the stores on Diagon Alley, Harry and Hagrid take a short walk through London. Research the city of London and report on what Harry and Hagrid might have seen on their trip. Consider such tings as the demographic population of the city, the ethnic populations, principal businesses, historical sites, and architecture.
3. Research the London Underground and the British railway system (especially the King’s Cross railway station). Which came first, the Underground or the railway? What is the connection between the Underground and the railway? What routes do they follow? Can you find any maps and timetables using the Internet?
4. J. K. Rowling had been a school teacher and was a single mother when she started writing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in a neighborhood coffee house. Research the author in order to find out more about her. What kind of insights has she given in interviews? Are there any parallels between the author’s life and her text?
5. To date, there are three more “Harry Potter” books: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Read one (or more) of the other “Harry Potter” books and compare it/them to the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
6. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry learns many interesting facts and unusual stories about the game of Quidditch and its history. What sort of interesting facts and unusual stories might you find when learning about one of your favorite sports? What are the similarities and differences between Quidditch and the sport that you researched?
7. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hagrid is surprised by such Muggle inventions as the parking meter. Who invented the parking meter and why? What other Muggle inventions might readers take for granted?
8. Research the game of chess in order to explain (and to demonstrate to your class) the game played towards the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Does Ron play well? How might the game have been played differently? Were there better moves that could have been made?
9. Research the logic puzzle that Hermione solves with the bottled potions in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. What kind of logic puzzle is it? Does it have a name? What other kinds of logic puzzles are there? What are their different purposes?