© 2005 Peter Burkhart


"The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" Lesson:

Unit/Theme: Sherlock Holmes      Level: Honors

Subject: Seventh Grade English

NYS Standards/ Benchmarks: E2b: Produce a response to literature that demonstrates an understanding of the literary work. E5a: The student identifies and responds to fiction using interpretive, critical, and evaluative processes; that is, the student: evaluates literary merit, analyzes the reasons for a character’s actions, taking into account the situation and basic motivation of the character. E3b: Participates in group meetings in which the student gives reasons in support of opinions expressed. Volunteers contributions and responds when directly solicited by the teacher or discussion leader.


  • Students will be provided time for silent reading.
  • Students will work together to demonstrate an understanding of a story.
  • Students will participate in small group and whole class discussions.
  • *Provide silent reading time for students.
  • Students will analyze Holmes method of deducing details about an object and debate if his methods are realistic.
  • Students will analyze objects for the purpose of deducing details about them.


"On the contrary, Watson, you can see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see. You are too timid in drawing your inferences."

-Pg. 203

"My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don't know."

"It is always awkward doing business with an alias."


  • Sherlock text and various unusual or unique items.

  • Students will have read "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" and other Holmes stories.


  • Silent reading.
  • Journal. In this story Holmes believes he may be "instrumental in saving a life." What is compassion? How does it relate to Sherlock Holmes in this story? Describe a time you were compassionate toward another person.
  • What does Holmes’ compassion indicate about him? In small groups students will write about Holmes’ sense of duty/compassion. Why does he get involved in these cases? We know he is very selective about what cases he takes.
  • Discuss the stone. It has a violent history which includes two murders and a suicide. There have also been related robberies. What does that mean to this adventure?
  • Discussion. On pages 202-203 Holmes demonstrates his skills of deduction on a hat. Describe his method and his explanation. Does it make sense? We have seen a similar scenes in previous stories. When Holmes explains it, it seems simple. Could anyone develop these skills or does it take a certain person? Can you think of any careers today that require similar skills? What are they?
  • Individually or with a partner students will list the steps in Holmes’ method. Afterward, the class will create a master list on the board.
  • As a class or small groups the teacher will present items unfamiliar to the students (due to their age) and ask them to figure out what they are.
    NOTE: To do this activity some time might be spent at yard sales and antique shops gathering old items or parts of items that are no longer in use.


  • Group work
  • Quiz on "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle."

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