Lesson Plan: “Nyad: Triumph of the Human Spirit”

Nyad: The mantra is; find a way

The Netflix biopic Nyad tells the story of Diana Nyad, the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Nyad faced immense challenges, including strong currents, jellyfish stings, and the threat of sharks. But she never gave up on her dream, and she completed the swim at the age of 64 on her fifth attempt.

Nyad’s story is unique and incomparable. She is a one-of-a-kind individual who achieved something truly extraordinary. The film also features a truly inspiring performance by Jodie Foster as Nyad’s coach and partner.

Overall, Nyad is a well-made and inspiring film. It is a story about courage, determination, and the power of the human spirit. Source: The Guardian

Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1:

  • Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

Objective:

  • Students will learn about perseverance, friendship, and the power of determination through the inspiring story of Diana Nyad’s open ocean swim from Cuba to Florida.

    Activities:

    • Begin by discussing the concept of resilience and determination.

    Watch the video when Diana reaches Florida

    • Read the article in The Guardian
    • Answer the questions below

    • Watch the movie “Nyad” together as a class.
    • Encourage students to take notes on key moments, character development, and themes.

    Answer these questions

      1. How did her friendship with Bonnie Stoll impact her journey?
      2. What life lessons can we learn from her story?
      3. Who plays the role of Diana Nyad in the Netflix biopic Nyad?
      4. What is the name of the swimmer’s coach and friend who supports her throughout the film?
      5. How many times did Nyad attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida before she succeeded?
      6. What was the main challenge that Nyad faced in the water besides sharks and waves?
      7. What kind of protective suit did Nyad wear on her final swim to prevent jellyfish stings?
      8. What is the name of Nyad’s one-woman show that she performed in New York?
      9. What personal trauma did Nyad reveal in her show that she had suffered as a teenager?
      10. Which famous politician and fan of Nyad attended her show in New York?
      11. What is the name of the support boat that accompanied Nyad on her swims?
      12. What is the motto that Nyad repeated to herself during her swims?
      13. What life lessons can we learn from her story?

    Creative Writing (20 minutes)

    • Ask students to write a reflective essay or journal entry:
      • Imagine you are Diana Nyad. Describe your thoughts, emotions, and physical struggles during the swim.
      • Reflect on the importance of having a supportive friend like Bonnie Stoll.

    Watch the Ted talk by Diana Nyad and take notes

    Why the Destination is Not as Important as the Journey: A Personal Reflection

    Write a short essay on one of these topics:

    • What does the phrase “it is about the journey not the destination” mean to you? How do you apply this philosophy in your own life?
    • How does the journey shape your character, values, and goals? Give examples from your personal or professional experiences.
    • What are some of the benefits and challenges of focusing on the journey rather than the destination? How do you cope with uncertainty, setbacks, and failures along the way?
    • How do you balance your long-term vision with your short-term actions? How do you measure your progress and success on the journey?
    • How do you celebrate and appreciate the journey? How do you learn from your mistakes and feedback? How do you acknowledge and thank the people who support you on the journey?

     

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